Given former Senator Chuck Hagel`s foreign policy record and public statements, StandWithUs is deeply concerned about him becoming U.S. Secretary of Defense. We are concerned about his commitment to policies that would stop Iran`s nuclear program, isolate terrorist groups and their state sponsors, and support Israel`s right to self-defense.
Mr. Hagel has voted and argued against sanctions on Iran and Syria, refused to support designating Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorist organizations, accused Israel of "slaughter" after Israel defended itself against Hezbollah in 2006, and was an apologist for Yasser Arafat. Hagel has labeled the pro-Israel community the "Jewish lobby," despite its implications of dual loyalty and despite widespread American support for Israel.
We are disturbed that Chuck Hagel:
Refused to vote for legislation condemning anti-Semitism.
- In June 1999, Hagel was the only U.S. senator who refused to sign a Senate letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin condemning anti-Semitism and calling on Russia to protect Jews. The letter was run as a full-page New York Times ad.
Labeled Israel`s supporters the "Jewish lobby."
- Hagel critically used the term "Jewish lobby" to single out the pro-Israel supporters communicating to Congress. "I have not heard a nominee for another position in President Obama`s cabinet say that any other lobbyists groups intimidate a lot of lawmakers," said Rabbi Steve Fisch.
Has been weak on Iran for more than 10 years.
- Hagel opposed 76 senators in voting against designating Iran`s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization (September 2007). The "sense of Congress on Iran" read, "the United States should designate Iran`s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization...and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists."
- Hagel voted in the Senate Banking Committee against legislation imposing sanctions on countries conducting certain business with Iran. It passed in committee, 19-2 (July 2008).
- Hagel was cited as "solely responsible" for holding up a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill in the Senate that already had 72 co-sponsors (October 2008).
- "Iran will not be deterred from developing nuclear arms only because the United States and the EU say they must--especially if they feel threatened and if the United States, Great Britain, France, and Israel, among others, all retain their nuclear weapons."--Excerpts from Hagel`s 2008 book, America: Our Next Chapter.
Has rarely shown he is a friend of Israel.
We hope that the U.S. Senate will closely question Mr. Hagel during the nomination hearings to determine whether his positions will serve the foreign policy priorities of the U.S. and its allies.
- Hagel was one of only 11 senators who refused to sign a letter requesting that President Bush not meet with Yasser Arafat until Arafat`s Fatah terrorists ceased attacks on Israel (November 2001).
- Hagel said he would have opposed a House resolution that blamed terrorist Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian terror groups for terrorism (May 2002). "I would have very much voted against it because it did, in fact, single out the Palestinians and Arafat as the real problem here....And it doesn`t help when we take public sides on this and castigate and assign all of the responsibility and all the blame to one side."
- After two years of Palestinian suicide bombings and terror attacks had murdered hundreds of Israelis, Hagel told an anti-Israel conference audience that the U.S. alliance with Israel should not come "at the expense" of Palestinians and that the U.S. must impose an "end game" on Israel and the Palestinians. According to a report from the conference, "The cheers were deafening. Hagel went on: `What we need isn`t a cease-fire, leading to a sequential peace process, leading to negotiations on a Palestinian state, leading to negotiations on refugees, Jerusalem, etc. That time has passed. An end game must be brought to the front, now.`"
- Hagel was one of only 12 senators who refused to sign a letter asking the EU to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization (August 2006).