ZOA Urges Sen. Obama To Drop Sen. Hagel As Adviser & Possible Running Mate
July 15, 2008


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama to remove Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) from his retinue of advisers and as his possible vice-presidential running mate. The ZOA is urging Senator Obama to do this on account of Senator Hagel’s deeply worrying record on Israel and Islamist extremism. His anti-Israel record is such that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the leading Islamist lobby and apologist group in the United States, said on August 28, 2006, “Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel” (Shmuel Rosner, The new “Obama advisor” problem: Senator Chuck Hagel,’ Haaretz, July 14, 2008).


Past conduct of Senator Hagel:


·        August 2006: Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hizballah a terrorist organization (‘NJDC Criticizes Senators for Refusing to Call on EU to add Hezbollah to List of Terrorist Organizations,’ National Jewish Democratic Council press release, August 7, 2006).

·        July 2006: At the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel argued against giving Israel the time to break Hizballah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire (‘Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast,’ CNN.com, July 31, 2006).

·        December 2005: Hagel was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections. 

·        June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran‘s nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

·        November 2001: Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yasser Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.

·        October 2000: Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.


Yet, despite this record, Senator Obama has touted Senator Hagel as one of his top advisers and included him on his upcoming trip to Germany, along with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), because “They’re both experts on foreign policy, they reflect I think a traditional bipartisan wisdom when it comes to foreign policy, neither of them are ideologues but they try to get the facts right and make a determination about what’s best for U.S. interests and they’re good guys.”


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are concerned about Senator Hagel, this most anti-Israel of Republican senators, becoming Senator Obama’s vice-presidential running mate and also by the fact that Senator Hagel is advising Senator Obama on foreign policy questions. These developments increase already justified concerns felt widely throughout the American Jewish community that Senator Obama’s recent professions of support for Israel are hollow.


“Senator Obama is on record as being very supportive of the Palestinians prior to running for high office. He has a record of association with rabid anti-Israel extremists like Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO spokesman and Ali Abunimah, who advocates the disappearance of Israel and its absorption into an Arab-dominated single state. Virtually without exception, his other past and present Middle East advisers – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Daniel Kurtzer, Robert Malley, General Merill ‘Tony’ McPeak, Samantha Power, Susan Rice – are hostile to Israel.


“Until recently and for nearly twenty years, Senator Obama himself belonged to a black racist church and was close to its pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He disassociated himself from Wright and his church – not when Wright’s racist, anti-Israel and anti-white rants became widely known – but only when it became politically damaging to maintain the connection.


“In recent weeks, Senator Obama made a bold statement about the need for Jerusalem to remain undivided – and then backtracked the very next day. It is also deeply worrying that Senator Hagel was conspicuously lacking in support for Israel defending itself during the 2006 Lebanon war, something that Senator Obama publicly – and rightly – supported.


“We urge Senator Obama to scotch rumors that he will appoint Senator Hagel as running mate and we urge Senator Obama to remove him as an adviser.”


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