Hagel: ‘Not a Shred of Evidence That I’m Anti-Israeli’
There is “not one shred of evidence that I’m anti-Israeli,” former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel told the Lincoln Journal Star, in an interview published immediately after he was nominated by US President Barack Obama as the next US secretary of defense.
In his first statements since Obama’s formal announcement, Hagel insisted that an accurate assessment of his record would demonstrate “unequivocal, total support for Israel,” and panned critics for “completely distort[ing]” his positions.
Hagel has been hammered by fellow Republicans and Jewish groups over the past few weeks due to his previous refusal to sign on to a number of pro-Israel policy pronouncements, especially as regards the Iranian nuclear threat and the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups. Hagel’s commitment to Israel’s security has thus been questioned, made worse by the surfacing of disparaging remarks he once made about the “Jewish lobby” in Washington.
Responding to said criticism, Hagel explained to the Lincoln Journal Star that he “didn’t sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counter-productive and didn’t solve a problem.”
“What’s in Israel’s interest,” Hagel stressed, “is to help Israel and the Palestinians find some peaceful way to live together.”