Lining Up on Both Sides of Chuck Hagel Debate

Groups Take Sides on Possible Pentagon Nomination

By JTA

Published December 20, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A leading pro-Israel political action committee urged its members to prevent Chuck Hagel from being nominated defense secretary, while a group of former U.S. diplomats endorsed him.

“The most outstanding thing about the Senator’s record on the threats America and its allies face is the consistent solicitude he has shown toward Iran and the terrorist organizations and states it funds: Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria,” reads the model letter sent to members by NORPAC, the New Jersey-based committee.

Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, has expressed doubts about the efficacy of Iran sanctions and did not join other senators in signing onto letters backed by pro-Israel and Jewish groups.

He backed a number of bills isolating Iran and terrorist groups but also supported dialogue with Iran and such groups.

The Emergency Committee for Israel, a group that has attacked President Obama’s Israel record, is running an anti-Hagel ad on cable networks in the Washington D.C. area called “Not an Option.”

A number of pro-Israel groups and figures have indicated opposition to President Obama’s reported consideration of Hagel for defense secretary. But dovish Israel policy groups such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now have rallied to his side, and he was praised by some Jewish former colleagues, such as Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Meanwhile, nine former diplomats who have worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations published an open letter defending Hagel.

“Time and again he chose to take the path of standing up for our nation over political expediency,” said the letter, posted on the Foreign Policy magazine website and including as signatories five former ambassadors to Israel. “He has always supported the pillars of American foreign policy – such as: a strong NATO and Atlantic partnership; a commitment to the security of Israel, as a friend and ally; a determination to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons; and the defense of human rights as a core principle of America’s role in the world.”

The former envoys to Israel are Edward Djerejian, William Harrop, Daniel Kurtzer, Samuel Lewis and Thomas Pickering. Another signatory is Nicholas Burns, an undersecretary of state under President George W. Bush.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.