(JNS.org) Christians United for Israel (CUFI)—which last month brought more than 400 Christian leaders to Washington, DC, to lobby against President Barack Obama’s nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense—on Tuesday said it will continue to monitor Hagel following his confirmation.
“Though Hagel was confirmed, his ability to stray from mainstream policies on Iran and Israel has been curtailed,” CUFI, the largest pro-Israel group in the U.S. with 1.2 million members, posted on Facebook after the U.S. Senate voted 58-41 to confirm Hagel. “We LIKE that this was only made possible by CUFI’s members lending their voices to this fight. Rest assured, we will watch Hagel closely and ensure his actions reflect the American people’s steadfast support for Israel and deep opposition to a nuclear Iran.”
Hagel has come under fire for his record on Israel since his name surfaced as a candidate for defense secretary in December. While 41 senators voted against Hagel’s confirmation, no Secretary of Defense had ever been previously confirmed with more than 11 opposing votes.
Both Democratic and Republican legislators criticized the nomination of Hagel, who in 2008 infamously said, “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington, DC. In his confirmation hearing Jan. 31, Hagel mistakenly expressed support for a U.S. policy of “containment” in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.
A 2009 report Hagel co-authored that surfaced in media reports a day before his confirmation recommended the internationalization of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, as part of a two-state solution that would be enforced by a “U.S.-led multinational force.” According to the recommendations in the report, titled “A Last Chance For A Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement,” Jerusalem would have “a special security and administrative regime of its own” under that multinational force, which would “feature American leadership of a NATO force supplemented by Jordanians, Egyptians and Israelis.”