It’s reported that Barack Obama’s top choice to replace Leon Panetta as secretary of defense is former Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel. Like Dr. Susan Rice’s nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state – Jewish groups have taken sides in favor and against Chuck Hagel. The pro-Netanyahu groups have claimed Hagel’s appointment would mean Obama’s revenge for the evil actions of Netanyahu. These groups are running a smear campaign against Hagel in order to force Barack Obama to dump Hagel as he did Susan Rice in favor of Sen. John Kerry, an Israel-Firster with Jewish family roots.
Barack Obama had in mind to appoint Chuck Hagel as his secretary of defense during his first term – but under Jewish Lobby pressure, he changed his mind and kept Bush’s last defense secretary Robert Gates in his post till 2011.
Leading the anti-Hagel campaign is no other than the racist anti-Iran-Turkey Abraham Foxman, an Israeli lobbyist and head of powerful Jewish organization ADL. He told Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin on December 18: “Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and US-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling. The sentiments he has expressed about the Jewish lobby border on antisemitism in the genre of professor John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, and former president Jimmy Carter“.
Former spokesperson for Israel Lobby (AIPAC), Josh Block says that Hagel’s record “speaks for itself”, on issues like voting against sactions on Iran and refusing to call European Union to name Hizballah as a terrorist organization.
“He is one of the most hostile critics of Israel that has ever been in the Senate,” Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America told the Jewish newspaper Algemeiner.
Israel-Firster Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Republican senator from New Hampshire, says she is “concerned” with the nomination of Chuck Hagel on Israel and Iran, and that she intends to question him “vigorously” if he is nominated by Obama.
Even some members of National Jewish Democratic Council have expressed their opposition to Hagel – as they fear he might go soft on Iran’s nuclear program while push Israel to resolve Palestinian issue.
John Judis, on the other hand, has claimed in the Zioconservative outlet, The New Republic, that the opposition to Hagel’s appointment as next secretary of defense comes almost exclusively from Jewish individuals or organizations which support Netanyahu’s right-wing government.
Former US ambassador to Israel under Bush administration, Daniel Kurtzer, supports Hagel’s appointment. “Chuck Hagel is a supporter of Israel and a man who is also ready to discuss very frankly with the Israelis the concerns we had about Israeli policies,” he said.
Like former Congresswoman cynthia McKinney, Chuck Hagel, also refused to sign AIPAC’s pledge to support Israel. In an interview he gave to diplomat Aharon Miller, Hagel said: “The Jewish lobby intimidates many Americans. I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s smart for Israel. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator,” quoted by Miller in 2008 book, ‘The Much Too Promised Land’.
Chuck Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran. He received two Purple Hearts for his service.
So what makes Hagel antisemitic in the eyes of the Jewish groups?
1. Hagel was very critical of president George Bush (pro-Israel) foreign policy. He was one of the three Republican senators who supported Democratic-sponsored bill in 2007 which called for the withrawal of US forces from Iraq within four months. Hagel actions were based on his hatred toward Jesw as Iraq was attacked and occupied for the security of Israel, according to Philip Zelikow, the Jewish Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, in his speech at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002.
2. Hagel doesn’t agree with Washington, Ottawa and Tel Aviv that Lebanese Hizballah is a terrorist group. He agrees with European Union that there is no valid evidence to prove that Hizballah is involved in terrorism. The group uses its arms to defend its country from Israeli aggression.
3. In 2006, realizing that Jewish army could not defeat Hizballah fighters, as a friend of Israel, Hagel called both parties to stop fighting. However, he made a mistake to censor Israel by saying that Israeli was destroying an American friend, the country and people of Lebanon.
4. Hagel’s greatest sin is, he has voted against designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization and also voted against Iran sanctions. The Emergency Committee for Israel has announced airing an ad on Thursday and Friday in Washington DC – to highlight Hagel’s antisemitic support for Iran.
5. Hagel has supported reduction in military spending and recalling all US forces from Afghanistan.
6. Hagel is chairman of the Atlantic Council. On December 11, 2012 – the group’s website posted an article, titled Israel’s Apartheid Policy.
Personally, I don’t know whether Chuck Hagel would have called for a gun control after the recent deadly shooting at the Sandy Hook school, killing 20 children including a 6-year-old Jewish kid. But Hagel’s fellow Republican, Michael Harris, GOP’s candidate for Governor of Arizona in a TV interview, has blamed Israeli death squads behind the bloodbath in Connecticut.