Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Controversial Nominee Hagel Confirmed as Secretary of Defense

February 27, 2013 1:42 am 0 comments

Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense.

Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel, who has come under fire for both his record and statements on Israel since his name surfaced as a candidate for Secretary of Defense in December, on Tuesday was confirmed for that position in President Barack Obama’s cabinet following a 58-41 Senate vote in his favor.

No Secretary of Defense had ever been confirmed with more than 11 opposing votes, a group of 14 U.S. senators opposing Hagel’s nomination noted in a letter to Obama last week.

Both Democratic and Republican legislators, as well as several Jewish groups, had criticized the nomination of Hagel, who in 2008 infamously said, “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington, DC. In his confirmation hearing Jan. 31, Hagel mistakenly expressed support for a U.S. policy of “containment” in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.

“Chuck Hagel’s statements on Israel and the ‘Jewish lobby’ raised serious concerns about his fitness to serve,” the Republican Jewish Coalition said in a statement reacting to his confirmation on Tuesday. “His views on Iran are also deeply troubling.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), however, congratulated Hagel on his confirmation and praised his “statements during the nomination process in strong support of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and against a policy of containment as well as his clear understanding of the importance of achieving the two-state solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict].”

“We know Secretary Hagel will support President Obama on these issues that are critically important to the Jewish community,” NJDC said in a statement.

A 2009 report Hagel co-authored that surfaced in media reports a day before his confirmation recommended the internationalization of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, as part of a two-state solution that would be enforced by a “U.S.-led multinational force.” According to the recommendations in the report, titled “A Last Chance For A Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement,” Jerusalem would have “a special security and administrative regime of its own” under that multinational force, which would “feature American leadership of a NATO force supplemented by Jordanians, Egyptians and Israelis.”

Jewish groups including the RJC, American Jewish Committee, Zionist Organization of America, Anti-Defamation League and StandWithUs had all expressed concern about Hagel. The former senator’s reported comment in a 2007 speech at Rutgers University that the U.S. State Department “is an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office” implies that Hagel “may buy into very troublesome ideology that accuses Jews of controlling the government, the media, and so on,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein told JNS.org Feb. 17.

Hagel did not sign various pro-Israel letters backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) while he served in the Senate, but did sign a 2009 letter asking Obama to directly negotiate with Hamas.

Last week, the senators who asked Obama to withdraw his nomination of Hagel raised their concern that he “displayed a seeming ambivalence about whether containment or prevention is the best approach [to Iran’s nuclear program]” during his confirmation hearing.

“Any sound strategy on Iran must be underpinned by the highly credible threat of U.S. military force, and there is broad bipartisan agreement on that point,” the senators said. “If Senator Hagel becomes Secretary of Defense, the military option will have near zero credibility.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features World Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Tour operators are calling attention to Jamaica’s little-known Jewish heritage by arranging visits to historic Jewish sites on the Caribbean island, including a cemetery where Jewish pirates are buried. A report in Travel and Leisure magazine describes the Hunts Bay Cemetery in Kingston, where there are seven tombstones engraved with Hebrew benedictions and skull and crossbones insignia. According to the report, centuries ago, Jewish pirates sailed the waters of Jamaica and settled in Port Royal. The town, once known as “the wickedest city in the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Telling Israel’s story. It’s the specific title of a short film that Eyal Resh created last year. It’s also the theme behind the 27-year-old Israeli filmmaker’s broader body of work. The widely viewed “Telling Israel’s Story” film—directed by Resh for a gala event hosted by the Times of Israel online news outlet—seemingly begins as a promotional tourism video, but quickly evolves to offer a multilayered perspective. “I want to tell you a story about a special place for me,” a young woman whispers […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    JNS.org – The entrance to Jerusalem’s Sacher Park was transformed from April 25-27 by a fire-breathing robotic dragon, which flailed its arms and attempted to take flight. The robot, a signature feature at Jerusalem’s first-ever “Geek Picnic,” was one of more than 150 scientific amusements available for the public to experience. This particular dragon was designed by students from Moscow’s Art Industrial Institute in conjunction with the Flacon design factory, said Anatasia Shaminer, a student who helped facilitate the display. Children […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →