The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to further alarming statements from Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. During Hagel’s confirmation hearings, it emerged that Hagel, during a 2009 Al-Jazeera interview, agreed with a questioner that the U.S. was “the world’s bully”; that Palestinians were the victims of Israeli war crimes; and, also in a 2006 speech, asserted that Israel had committed a “sickening slaughter” in Lebanon. (Israeli forces entered Lebanon in 2006 following the cross-border kidnapping by the Lebanese Hizballah terrorist group of Israeli soldiers and a Hizballah barrage of rockets into northern Israel).
In the Hagel confirmation hearings last week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) played a recording of Hagel in a 2009 Al Jazeera interview in which Hagel said in response to a questioner who asserted among other things that “if you look at Palestine there is a war crime,” Hagel responded, “Well, I think you’re exactly right.” In the same interview, in response to another questioner who asserted that the U.S. was both perceived to be and was in fact “the world’s bully,” Hagel replied, “Well her observation is a good one and it is relevant, yes to her question.” In the confirmation hearing, Hagel claimed not to have heard the questioner make this assertion about America and also claimed contradictorily that he had merely agreed there was a perception of the U.S. as a bully but had not endorsed that view, which he had in fact obviously done. Senator Cruz also referred to a speech delivered in the Senate in 2006 by Hagel in which he stated that Israel’s 2006 military campaign against Hizballah attacks from Lebanon was a “sickening slaughter” (‘ Sen. Ted Cruz Is On Fire! decimates Hagel during Confirmation on America,’ Youtube, January 31, 2013).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA issued some weeks ago a detailed list of Chuck Hagel’s alarming views on Israel and the Middle East and we have had to issue further press releases pointing to yet more alarming statements he has made as they have come to light. Now, in his confirmation hearings, we have heard additional, disturbing Hagel statements and his unconvincing and sometimes incoherent attempts to explain them away.
“The idea that the U.S. and Israel are rogues is not only indicated by the 2009 Al Jazeera interview that was played in the hearings. Hagel has taught a course at Georgetown University with a syllabus that includes numerous harshly anti-U.S. and anti-Israel writers, including Parag Khanna’s How To Run The World, which accuses Israel and America of violating the laws of war.
“Can we really afford a Defense Secretary who thinks that the U.S. is ‘the world’s bully’? Will such a person do his utmost to keep America strong and ready to repel threats to its vital interests? Will such a person be ready to defend America’s allies, like Israel?
“It is increasingly clear, as new revelations add to what was already known about Chuck Hagel’s terrible record on Israel and the Middle East, that Chuck Hagel would be one of the worst choices for the post that could be made. We reiterate our call for senators to vote against confirming him.”