January 31, 2013
News Press Release

More Horrific Hagel Statements – Israelis Keep “Palestinians Caged Up Like Animals,” Iran Should Not Be Isolated, Supports Fatah/Hamas Merger

ZOA: Senators Should Vote to Reject Hagel

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to further, alarming statements made by President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and urged senators to vote against confirming him in that office.

The far-left J Street, which present itself as a pro-Israel group, has now released the video of Hagel’s speech to its 2009 conference, in which Hagel said that he opposed isolating Iran  through diplomacy and sanctions, saying, “How in the world do we think isolating someone is going to bring them around to your way of thinking?”

Hagel also subscribed to the discredited ‘linkage’ argument, which contends that the Middle East can be greatly tranquilized and U.S. relations with Arab states enhanced if the U.S. pressures Israel into a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Hagel said, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central, not peripheral, to U.S. vital security interests in combating terrorism, preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon, stability in the Middle East and U.S. and global energy security.”

Echoing the views of hostile anti-Israel figures Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Hagel suggested imposing a peace agreement on Israel, saying, “I think we are getting close to the time where something has to be laid down here on this.” 

Hagel also called for a Fatah-Hamas merge, saying, “No peace will be possible nor sustainable as long as the Palestinians remain a house divided.” He did not mention any conditions for Hamas

Also, Hagel seemed to refer, like Israel’s Arab enemies, to Israel’s capital being Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, when said, “It’s always difficult for leaders to step forward, either in Ramallah, Tel Aviv, Riyadh or Cairo.” (‘Sen. Chuck Hagel at the first J Street Conference,’ Youtube, January 29, 2012). Other than Tel Aviv, all the other cities named by Hagel are Arab capitals.

Additionally, a report in the Washington Free Beacon has unearthed a Hagel statement that appeared in a Nebraska newspaper, the Lincoln Journal Star, on January 12, 2003, in which Hagel said that Israel was “keep[ing] Palestinians caged up like animals” (‘Hagel in 2003: Israel Keeps “Palestinians Caged Up Like Animals,”‘ Washington Free Beacon, January 9, 2013).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “These newly unearthed statements by Hagel simply reinforce the fact that Hagel has a virtually unrivaled record of hostility to Israel, bigotry towards Jews and gays, disbelief in the importance of a strong U.S. military, indulgence of Middle Eastern terrorist groups like Hizballah and Hamas, and antipathy towards any conceivable measure – economic or military – for preventing Iran becoming a nuclear power if negotiations fail.

“These statements afford further reasons for the Senate to vote against confirming Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary and we urge senators to do so.”