(JNS.org) Politicians from both sides of the aisle, as well as Jewish leaders, criticize President Barack Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense in a new video advertisement released Jan. 24 by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).
“It seems that there is some kind of an endemic hostility toward Israel, and I think in the sensitive post of Secretary of Defense, those are warning bells, those are red lights,” U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) says in the ad.
The ad, which asks viewers to call their U.S. senators to ask that they vote against Hagel’s nomination, can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sPAeWe5rsf8
Recently retired U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) notes that Hagel “has consistently been against economic sanctions to try to change the radical regime in Tehran.”
The Washington Post editorial board, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center are among the other Hagel critics featured in the ad.
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abe Foxman says, “The sentiments [Hagel has] expressed about the ‘Jewish lobby’ border on anti-Semitism.” In 2008, Hagel took a direct shot at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), telling former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller in a quote that appeared in Miller’s book, The Much Too Promised Land, that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington.
“Chuck Hagel’s record on Israel, on Iran, and on other vital defense issues is cause for real concern,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a press release. “President Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense signals a weakening commitment by the President toward Israel in his second term. We strongly oppose this nomination and we urge members of the Senate to do the same.”