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...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →