Jewish leaders not so keen on rumored Hagel nomination

posted at 8:01 am on December 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Not just Jewish Republicans, either, according to BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller, who heard from sources attending a White House Hanukah party that the group of Jewish political activists didn’t come entirely for the celebration.  Chuck Hagel’s track record on Israel and the Middle East has Jewish leaders across the aisle concerned about his potential nomination as Secretary of Defense, and one Democrat in the group predicted that the fight would dwarf the controversy that drove Susan Rice to withdraw her name from consideration for the top job at State:

On Thursday night, hundreds of American Jewish leaders visited the White House to celebrate Hanukah, but many also came with a less celebratory agenda: They were there to deliver a warning to President Barack Obama about the potential nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel.

The buzz around former Republican senator from Nebraska — seen as a top contender to lead the Department of Defense — has Israel supporters worried. Hagel has been a frequent target for Jewish Democratic and Republican groups for more than a decade, even as he is close to Obama, having been a supporter in 2008 and an appointee to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

“He was one of these worst senators in his party in memory when it comes to Israel,” said one Jewish Democratic operative. “It’s a terrible idea.”

They went on record opposing Hagel once before during the Obama administration.  Miller recalls that Obama’s own campaign outreach director to Jewish voters told the Weekly Standard that they were leery about Hagel’s connection to White House foreign policy when he got appointed to the intelligence advisory board.

“If [Hagel] was taking a policy role, we’d have real concerns,” Ira Forman, the Obama campaign’s Jewish Outreach Director and the former Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, told The Weekly Standard when Hagel was appointed to the intelligence board.

And this wasn’t just a passing mention at the party, either:

Several attendees at the Hanukah party said they witnessed or participated in reaching out to administration officials about the potential selection of Hagel, with one attendee saying “he was the talk of the party.”

One Democrat in attendance predicted the fight over Hagel would be “Susan Rice times 10.”

Miller writes that Hagel isn’t overtly anti-Israel, but the National Jewish Democratic Council disagreed with that assessment — at least in 2007, when Hagel mulled over a potential run for the White House.  They have since removed their point-by-point criticism of Hagel from their website, but Jeff Dunetz rescued a few of the details:

Why should supporters of Israel be worried about Hagel?  Don’t take my word for it, in an attempt to be bi-partisan below is what the the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) warned about Sen. Hagel’s lousy record on Israel in 2007.  (They took the page down when Obama began to express interest in Hagel for his administration…but I saved it here. Below are some of the details:

  •  In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
  • In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.
  • In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refsued to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yassir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.
  • In December 2005, Hagel  was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.
  • In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran’s nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

One group did support Hagel’s approach to Middle East policy at that time, though:

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that everyone hates Hagel’s record on Israel. The same NJDC artic did cite one group that supported Hagel’s Middle East efforts–CAIR, the American organization created by the Muslim Brotherhood is a fan of Hagel:

“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 …” [Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/28/06]

Perhaps CAIR was impressed with Hagel’s analysis of domestic politics, too:

Says Hagel: “The political reality is that… the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” This audio should be heard to truly gauge his own feelings.

Obama might choose Hagel to offer a slim reed of bipartisanship to the media, which would give him some room for a harder stance on policy negotiations.  With this particular Republican, though, Obama might wind up doing more damage on his side of the aisle.  Still, if Obama nominates Hagel, I don’t see the Senate failing to confirm one of the former members of the club — but the confirmation hearing will certainly be contentious and potentially embarrassing for Obama among one of his party’s important constituencies.  That may be enough to have Obama looking elsewhere for a Secretary of Defense.


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Its a function, not a defect to Obama.

Zaggs on December 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM

The anti-Semitic trolls must be sleeping in this morning.

29Victor on December 14, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Wow, who’d have guessed Obimbo was anti-Israel. As Biden probably said at the end of the “Lincoln” premiere, “Oh boy, I never saw *that* coming.”

SoRight on December 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Zero doesn’t give a hoot about what the American Jews think about him or his cabinet. He knows he’s got most of them and the rest can go straight to hell. And the worst part is, he’s pretty much correct.

Mr. Grump on December 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Let me clarify that. He’s correct in his own mind. I’m not agreeing with him.

Mr. Grump on December 14, 2012 at 8:17 AM

I’m sensing Obama’s “lame-duck” tag may be coming sooner than he expected, along with his diminishing political capital.

Rovin on December 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Who better to represent the Israel-hating preezie than Chuck Hagel.

petefrt on December 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM

This is a very clever move. Obama nominates a Republican, and if Republicans oppose him they are seen as obstructionist and uncompromising, and if they vote for him they are seen as anti-Semitic.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Who better to represent the Israel-hating preezie than Chuck Hagel.

petefrt on December 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Chas Freeman

Shy Guy on December 14, 2012 at 8:32 AM

maybe the Joos shouldn’t have voted for Obama…again

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 8:34 AM

I call for a Bacon Summit.

Everybody loves bacon. It would be anti-non-Semitic to do otherwise.

viking01 on December 14, 2012 at 8:35 AM

I want to know something. Did the Jews who are upset about Hagel vote for Obama? If so, they have no one but themselves to blame. Obama is not the one selling out Israel.

bartbeast on December 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Hagel is about as Republican as Joe Scarborough. He’s a poorly disguised RINO at best.

If appointing Hagel as Sec of Def is an “in your face” move to Israel, Obama will appoint him. Obama is so predictable. If there are two choices, one for the USA’s interests and one against, he’ll chose the latter. He has a 4 year track record of it.

iamsaved on December 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

You voted for this. Mazeltov, morons!

The Count on December 14, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 8:34 AM

you don’t get it those religious right Christian people are somehow worse than actual anti-Semites even if they say they like Israel.

or so the cockeyed thinking goes.

gsherin on December 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

the Jews should have taken a clue when Israel was roundly booed at the Dem convention.

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Hagel’s a Pub!

So is Jon Huntsman I guess. and Charlie Crist

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

He’ll fit right in

Gop used up all their fight on rice…
-lsm

cmsinaz on December 14, 2012 at 8:44 AM

the Jews should have taken a clue when Israel was roundly booed at the Dem convention.

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Maybe Jews favor the mainstream media outfits that didn’t bother reporting that matter–or reported that the booing was about reinstating a mention of God in the Dem platform.

BuckeyeSam on December 14, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Good point bart

They own Obama…. live with it

cmsinaz on December 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Hey, it’s Obama’s choice… what could happen?

Ukiah on December 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Who cares what they think again?

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

He’ll fit right in

Gop used up all their fight on rice…
-lsm

cmsinaz on December 14, 2012 at 8:44 AM

From where I stand, watching Obama fumbling with Rice and now Hagel is beginning to remind of a suicide bomber who pulls the switch before he gets to the target.

BuckeyeSam on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Wow, who’d have guessed Obimbo was anti-Israel. As Biden probably said at the end of the “Lincoln” premiere, “Oh boy, I never saw *that* coming.”

SoRight on December 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Who would have guessed the majority of the Jewish population in the US would still vote for him?

US Christians support Israel more than they do apparently.

Liberalism has turned them against their own people.

hawkdriver on December 14, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Who cares what they think again?

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Whoa, I knew you hated White people. But Jewish people too?

hawkdriver on December 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Yepper buckeye

cmsinaz on December 14, 2012 at 8:51 AM

For Obama, Hagel is a safe choice. He’s a dim bulb and a useful idiot.

rplat on December 14, 2012 at 8:52 AM

bartbeast on December 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

I understand their concern but sooner or later the groups who supported and voted for Obama are going to have to face the consequences. When/if Obama’s actions start to dump on them and not just those other guys, the capitalists, the rich, etc, – well boo hoo – they were warned but chose to buy the cr*p sandwich.

katiejane on December 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM

This is a very clever move. Obama nominates a Republican, and if Republicans oppose him they are seen as obstructionist and uncompromising, and if they vote for him they are seen as anti-Semitic.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Republicans have no love for Hagel, he’s been a thorn in their sides for years and spoiling his nomination would be a pleasure for them.

rplat on December 14, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Daaaaaa Joos

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Republicans have no love for Hagel, he’s been a thorn in their sides for years and spoiling his nomination would be a pleasure for them.

rplat on December 14, 2012 at 8:56 AM

No doubt, but that isn’t how it will show up on the news at 11:00. If he was good enough to be a Republican then why isn’t he good enough for an Obama appointment? They will portray the GOP as obstructionist, opposing even one of their own to spite Obama.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM

I really couldn’t care less for the inevitable histrionics and drama over Hagel

You had one candidate who is respected, trusted, and adored by Netenyahu

You had another with a record of indifference, and borderline contempt, for Israel, who supported one after another islamist regime

Yet American Jews turn out in droves, and donate millions, to elect and then re-elect the most anti-Israel candidate since her nation’s birth?

I have two words: useful idiots

I keep wondering what it is going to take for American Jews to realize that liberals are deeply anti-semitic and contemptuous towards Israel. I’m fully convinced that until all of Israel is up in flames, they will keep dutifully pulling levers for Dims against their own self-interest

Israel only has one friend left in the world, and it’s apparently conservatives and evangelicals in the US

elections have consequences

thurman on December 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM

They will portray the GOP as obstructionist, opposing even one of their own to spite Obama.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM

that’s intransigent obstructionists with Slurpees to you

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Who cares what they think again?

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Good question, Lib. Democrats know they’ll always get 70%+ of the Jewish vote regardless of where they come down on the Israel issue.

Punchenko on December 14, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Who cares what they think again?

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Who cares what you think again?

Shy Guy on December 14, 2012 at 9:06 AM

that’s intransigent obstructionists with Slurpees to you

Slade73 on December 14, 2012 at 9:04 AM

I only wish the Republicans were intransigent obstructionists. They seem more like a group of evil Gilligans.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:07 AM

They will portray the GOP as obstructionist, opposing even one of their own to spite Obama.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Let them.

The US Military and Israel deserve better than Hagel.

hawkdriver on December 14, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Let them.

The US Military and Israel deserve better than Hagel.

hawkdriver on December 14, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I agree, but it is a smart move on Obama’s part. I only hope the GOP will stand their ground until someone sane is nominated, if there is such an individual in the Obama administration.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM

“He was one of these worst senators in his party in memory when it comes to Israel,” said one Jewish Democratic operative. “It’s a terrible idea.”

….and Obama has been the worst President when it comes to Israel…yet Jews still voted for him.

The anti-semitism and hostility toward Israel in this country comes straight from the democratic party…..yet the majority of Jews in this country support them.

Why bust Hagel’s balls for acting like the very President and his fellow party memebers you support?????

Baxter Greene on December 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I agree, but it is a smart move on Obama’s part. I only hope the GOP will stand their ground until someone sane is nominated, if there is such an individual in the Obama administration.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM

…there’s not..you peel the onion back and it just exposes more rot.

…….Obama dumps Rice only to put John Kerry forward…..
………..it’s like having Susan Sarandon in a suit as Secretary of State.

The Obama administration is full of nothing but left wing ideologues who have been wrong on so many issues that they make Rosanne Barr look smart.

Baxter Greene on December 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

“He (Hagel) was one of these worst senators in his party in memory when it comes to Israel,” said one Jewish Democratic operative. “It’s a terrible idea.”

I agree. But so is John Kerry for SoS.

Both, horrible ideas.

Kerry as SoS is the ultimate insult to our military. I can’t imagine a person as insulting as Kerry would be in the SoS job.

AS insulting and problematic as Hagel would be as DoD.

Just horrible, both. As horrible as S.Rice would have been but in her case, I actually think…well, all three, just horrible.

Obama needs to send someone like Beyonce or Prince or Spike Lee to tour the world as SoS just to put a stamp on how stupid Obama is about our national credibility and him as President of his race-based entertainer-in-office.

Lourdes on December 14, 2012 at 9:22 AM

The Obama administration is full of nothing but left wing ideologues who have been wrong on so many issues that they make Rosanne Barr look smart.

Baxter Greene on December 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Wrong in the sense that what they claim to be attempting won’t happen. The ‘unintended consequences‘ of their actions are not at all unintended in my opinion.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Remember how John Kerry said, in his failed run for the WH in 2004, how he was given a shotgun and he expressed his thanks by saying he was sorry he couldn’t take it with him to the debate (with Bush).

THAT’S evidence of the mind of the guy who Obama is considering naming as SoS. I wonder if Kerry’d say similar things about meeting with foreign leaders?

I just can’t imagine a more horrible person in the office of SoS as Kerry.

Nor Hagel as DoD. Panetta was bad enough.

Lourdes on December 14, 2012 at 9:24 AM

…The ‘unintended consequences‘ of their actions are not at all unintended in my opinion.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Yes, I agree with that. It’s an aspect of Obama’s cruelty, that he attempts such rationalizations about his consequences, it adds such insult to the already insulting injuries he causes and has.

Lourdes on December 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Bob Gates and Chas Freeman should have been a strong hint as to where US policy was heading concerning Israel. The same applies to Hagel being appointed to PIAB during the first term.

It’s also worth noting that these are establishment guys that are being moved into these positions and not lefty academics wearing flip-flops and a keffiyeh.

Elections have consequences.

Punchenko on December 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM

I want to know something. Did the Jews who are upset about Hagel vote for Obama? If so, they have no one but themselves to blame. Obama is not the one selling out Israel.

bartbeast on December 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

A question that deserves an answer, surely.

Lourdes on December 14, 2012 at 9:30 AM

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM

The people I’d truth most as SECDEF would want nothing to do this these guys. Tommy Franks or David Rodriquez from the ranks themselves or Jim Demint from the politicians.

Maybe he’ll nominate Joe Lieberman or William G. Boykin?

naaa

hawkdriver on December 14, 2012 at 9:35 AM

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

So you’re a racist…and an antisemite.

22044 on December 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Jews voted overwhelmingly to give the rat-eared wonder a second term. I’m over caring about what they think. Maybe when the Jewish homeland is destroyed and overrun by Muslims some of them will realize just how stupid they are.

Happy Nomad on December 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Sadly, my fellow members of the tribe only have themselves to blame for this mess. Hagel is an awful choice, but pretty much anyone Obama nominates would be. That being said, it is a canny choice, as it gives Obama the veneer of reaching across the aisle.

The only benefit I can think of for John Kerry being nominated for State is that it gets him out of the Senate (and gives a chance, admittedly slim, for his seat to go Republican). Otherwise, no upside at all. Kerry is a pompous fool.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on December 14, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Alan Dershowitz hardest hit.

2lbsTest on December 14, 2012 at 9:52 AM

hawkdriver on December 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Once you have achieved Permanantly Aggrieved Universal Victim status you gain the right, nay, the responsibility, to hate all other races.

Color is only skin deep, politics are intellectual, but bigotry goes to the bone.

29Victor on December 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM

The ‘unintended consequences‘ of their actions are not at all unintended in my opinion.

sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Agreed…..
…there’s not a move they make that isn’t intended to increase their power no matter how bad it is for America.

Baxter Greene on December 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM

The only benefit I can think of for John Kerry being nominated for State is that it gets him out of the Senate (and gives a chance, admittedly slim, for his seat to go Republican). Otherwise, no upside at all. Kerry is a pompous fool.

Thats the buzz here. You have a special election (lower voter turnout) with a wide open Dem field. The field should have been wide open this last election but all candidates were forced out so Warren would not have to run in a primary.

Gets Brown back to DC

Rich on December 14, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Jewish leaders not so keen on rumored Hagel nomination

…so that insures a quick confirmation!

KOOLAID2 on December 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM
So you’re a racist…and an antisemite.

22044 on December 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM

…if turdfreeorpee was on a rocky mountain…he could never get off it!…he looks for race under every rock…He’s got a head full of rocks!

KOOLAID2 on December 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM

…if turdfreeorpee was on a rocky mountain…he could never get off it!…he looks for race under every rock…He’s got a head full of rocks!

KOOLAID2 on December 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Heh…I thought his head was just empty. :)

22044 on December 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM

This is a very clever move. Obama nominates a Republican, and if Republicans oppose him they are seen as obstructionist and uncompromising, and if they vote for him they are seen as anti-Semitic.
sharrukin on December 14, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Yep, right here. Susan Rice was a red-herring. Lets not ignore that this kind of elementary “art of war” chess absolutely confounds the GOP.

quiz1 on December 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM

hahahahahha. CAIR supports our new SOD. What did Rev Wright say? Roosters are coming home to roooooost. Own it Jewish Democrats.

Hummer53 on December 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM

(They took the page down when Obama began to express interest in Hagel for his administration…

OOOhh, they’re gonna get real tough…
Oh yeah, this is gonna be a bloodbath…
This’ll be Susan Rice times 100…

Mr. Arkadin on December 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Still, if Obama nominates Hagel, I don’t see the Senate failing to confirm one of the former members of the club — but the confirmation hearing will certainly be contentious and potentially embarrassing for Obama among one of his party’s important constituencies.

Why would the openly anti-Israel president be embarrassed by an anti-Israel Secretary of Defense nominee?

He will sail through the confirmation hearings.

xblade on December 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Who cares what they think again?

libfreeordie on December 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Awwww. How cute. The racist poofter is a Jew-hater.

[Who woulda thunk it?]

Solaratov on December 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Awwww. How cute. The racist poofter is a Jew-hater.

[Who woulda thunk it?]

Solaratov on December 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM

To my knowledge, he/she hasn’t uttered a single word about this issue.

a capella on December 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

a capella on December 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

And he won’t either. Liveasaslaveanddie cannot envision – in his wildest fantasies – a black man saying……

During his weekly news conference Wednesday, Griffin III said he didn’t want to be defined by race.

The whole concept is completely alien to him.

Solaratov on December 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

After how you lot voted for Obama en masse, you don’t have too much room to complain!

MelonCollie on December 14, 2012 at 8:15 PM

A question that deserves an answer, surely.

Lourdes on December 14, 2012 at 9:30 AM

One word: JINOs.

Shy Guy on December 15, 2012 at 12:33 PM