Hagel, in his two terms in the Senate, voted to support Israel in ways that matter to actual Israelis, including to its defense officials. He supported a close relationship between the U.S. military and the Israel Defense Forces, and he regularly voted to grant Israel generous aid packages. If he has a record of animus toward the Jewish state or prejudice toward Jews, I’m not seeing it.
In fact, one of the more distressing features of the nomination is not Hagel himself, but some of the supporters he’s been accruing, people who believe that Hagel shares their loathing of a strong American relationship with Israel. These include people who do express animus toward Israel and toward the American Jews who support Israel.
The aforementioned Walt, who has enthusiastically praised Hagel on his blog, is an example. In his 2007 book with Mearsheimer, Walt blamed American Jewish organizations for dragging the U.S. to war in Iraq, and argued that the pro-Israel lobby is causally related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In the duo’s feverish telling, the lobby’s stranglehold over Congress forced the U.S. into an alliance with Israel, which provoked previously pacific Muslim fundamentalist terrorists to commit mass murder.