Chuck Hagel Talks About Israel and Iran

Pentagon Pick Talks to Senators Ahead of Hearings

Clearing the Air: Pentagon nominee Chuck Hagel spoke to lawmakers to clarify his views on the Mideast and Iran.
getty images
Clearing the Air: Pentagon nominee Chuck Hagel spoke to lawmakers to clarify his views on the Mideast and Iran.

By Reuters

Published January 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s pick to become the next U.S. defense secretary, has begun calling critics in the Senate in an attempt to clarify his views about how to deal with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas before his upcoming nomination hearing.

The decorated Vietnam veteran’s Republican credentials have done little to rally support with his party, which he publicly split with as a senator by opposing the Iraq war during the Bush administration.

Hagel’s private calls to lawmakers and efforts by supporters to defend him publicly are part of what is likely to be a hard-fought battle over his nomination. Opponents tried for weeks to dissuade Obama from choosing the former Nebraska senator.

One prominent senator, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, predicted even before his nomination that Hagel, if confirmed, would be “the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the State of Israel in our nation’s history.”

U.S. officials who have spoken with Hagel since he was nominated on Monday say he has been calling senators before confirmation hearings begin in the coming weeks. Current and former U.S. officials say he is particularly concerned with portrayals of his record on Iran. Critics accuse him of opposing sanctions and being satisfied with containing Tehran, as opposed to preventing it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

“He feels that who he is, what he stands for and what his attitudes are have been misrepresented and distorted,” said Dennis Ross, a former top Obama Middle East adviser.

“What he said to me very clearly was that … he deeply believes that Iran does need to be prevented from having the bomb and that he doesn’t believe in containment.”


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!
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • 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.