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February 27, 2013 11:17 am

Jewish Groups, Israel React to Hagel Confirmation

avatar by Max Elstein Keisler

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Jewish Groups responded Tuesday to Chuck Hagel’s controversial confirmation as Secretary of Defense.  From the left, the National Jewish Democratic Council applauded Hagel’s statements during his nomination process, including his alleged opposition to containment of a nuclear Iran:

“NJDC congratulates Senator Chuck Hagel’s confirmation to be Secretary of Defense. We were encouraged by and applaud Senator Hagel’s 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. We know Secretary Hagel will support President Obama on these issues that are critically important to the Jewish community.”

J Street, the far-left lobby group, described opposition to Hagel’s nomination as “slander,” saying that “It was very unfortunate that some of Hagel’s opponents felt the need to spend vast sums of money to mount a campaign of slander and innuendo against him.”

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William Kristol, the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, one of the groups that had opposed Hagel’s confirmation, said that Hagel’s performance in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee would weaken his power as Secretary of Defense. Kristol also praised Republican opposition:

“We are heartened that the overwhelming majority of senators from one of the two major parties voted against confirming Mr. Hagel. We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel’s confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration. And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue, we will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition expressed concern over Hagel’s views on Israel, Iran, and his competence in general:

“Chuck Hagel’s statements on Israel and the “Jewish lobby” raised serious concerns about his fitness to serve. His views on Iran are also deeply troubling. Hagel’s appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee showed that he lacks an understanding of the issues facing our defense forces and national security leaders. And he does not have the experience in running a large and complex organization that would make him an effective secretary of defense.”

Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., released a short statement that said: “Under the Obama Administration, security ties between the United States and Israel have been superb. We are fully confident that those bonds will grow stronger still as our countries continue to meet common challenges to our security.”

“It is precisely Hagel’s understanding that war should always be the final option that will make him an outstanding Secretary of Defense,” read the group’s statement, adding that “it was very unfortunate that some of Hagel’s opponents felt the need to spend vast sums of money to mount a campaign of slander and innuendo against him.”
J Street

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  • Robert B. Tucker

    The Jewish lobby is AIPAC. It is powerful and it is intimidating. It is a Jewish lobby because it promotes the interests of Israel which is a Jewish state.

    Why can’t it be subject to the same criticism of other powerful lobbies in DC? It employs the same time-tested practices to sway our very malleable reps.

    Why does it have so much power in DC? George Washington said, paraphrasing, to beware or foreign entanglements. So why do American citizens and the mainstream press bind the interests of the USA to those of Israel? Do other world democracies such as The UK and France feel the same obligations? It is baffling to me.

    I don’t care if AIPAC is trying to influence American policies. Just don’t hide behind the canard of anti Semitism when criticism is rightfully leveled at AIPAC.

  • What’s wrong with mentioning a “Jewish lobby”? Isn’t there one? Has everyone been asleep during the last 60 years?

  • Arthur Fliegenheimer

    I guess Gomer Pyle and Barney Fife were not available