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January 7, 2013 7:03 pm

Alan Dershowitz on Chuck Hagel Nomination: “This Was a Great Appointment for Tehran”

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Alan Dershowitz. Photo: www.theconservativetreehouse.com.

“No I’m not” said Israel advocate and President Obama supporter Alan Dershowitz, when asked by The Algemeiner if he was surprised by the President’s decision to nominate  former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel for the position of Secretary of Defense. “The President seems determined to do it.”

“I think it’s a mistake,” he added, “I think it makes it more likely that Iran will persist in its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. This will send a message to the Iranian Mullahs of softness, to nominate a man who is opposed to sanctions and who is opposed to the military option.”

“Now, he may be able to change all that when he testifies in front of the Senate,” said Dershowitz optimistically, “but you know, people don’t usually change.”

“It is less important what he (Hagel) really thinks, it is what the Iranians think he thinks,” that is important, added the prominent Democrat. “The Iranians are celebrating this appointment in Tehran, this was a great appointment for Tehran, its a green light or at least a yellow light for them to pursue their nuclear program.”

“I makes it more likely that Iran will actually move towards developing a nuclear program and it makes it more likely that there will have to be a military response. This is a very bad nomination for peace.”

Asked if he feels personally let down, as a backer of Obama’s recent re-election, Dershowitz said, “There is nothing personal involved, I have always said in the beginning that I don’t expect to agree with all of the decisions of all of the people I support, and the President knows I disagree with him on this one.”

“Even if he is not confirmed it is a bad decision,” Dershowitz added, “because it conveys to the Iranians the President’s state of mind, and they will misunderstand it. They will misunderstand this as believing the president does not want to keep the military option on the table, so the nomination itself will set back the cause of peace, even if he is ultimately not confirmed.”

The law professor opined that he doesn’t think Hagel’s nomination will negatively affect the U.S. – Israel relationship. “I don’t think President Obama will allow the Defense Department to make policy with regard to support for Israel’s security,” he said. “President Obama has been so clear, so unequivocal on Israel’s security coming first that I don’t think he would allow Hagel to undercut that. I think if Hagel had his own way, he might very well want to undercut that.”

“I’m available to testify if i’m asked to,” Dershowitz pledged, “and I will continue to express my views in writing and in interviews.”

“I don’t regard my having endorsed the President as a commitment to support all of his decisions, I think a friend owes an obligation to another friend to be honest and to be critical when criticism is warranted. My position is known to the President and I plan to continue to make it known to the President,” he concluded.

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