Written by Matthew Vadum
President Obama’s would-be defense secretary claimed in a speech that Israel is a treaty-breaking rogue nation that is in the process of becoming an apartheid state. The comments from top Pentagon nominee Chuck Hagel came two years ago during a question and answer session following a speech the former U.S. senator made at Rutgers School of Law. With his suspicious ties to theocratic Iran, Hagel is part of President Obama’s Islamist-appeasement dream team, alongside CIA director nominee John Brennan, and John Kerry, the pathologically anti-American Secretary of State.
Then-student Kenneth Wagner, a pro-Israel activist, recently told Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon about an email he sent during the April 9, 2010 event to a contact at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Recalling the content of the electronic missive, Wagner said Hagel:
“basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that Israel has violated its agreements … [and] was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state. He said that the settlements were getting close to the point where a contiguous Palestinian state would be impossible.”
“He said that he [thought] that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu was a radical and that even [former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi] Livni, who was hard nosed thought he was too radical and so wouldn’t join in a coalition [government] with him. … He said that [terrorist group] Hamas has to be brought in to any peace negotiation,” Wagner wrote.
Comparing Israel to apartheid-era South Africa, or to Nazi Germany in some of the more absurd analogies, is a common tactic Israel’s enemies use in an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state. Leftists committed to Israel’s destruction have long argued that Israel is an inherently racist country that mistreats Palestinians and Arabs. A United Nations General Assembly resolution in effect from 1975 to 1991 held that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”
Hagel, a Republican who represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2009, is not known for holding back. He previously landed in hot water when he claimed “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill. The comment came back to haunt him during a congressional confirmation hearing last week when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) repeatedly demanded to know who had allegedly been intimidated by Israel’s supporters.
Obama chose Hagel because the two see eye-to-eye on defense matters. Hagel is a man Obama believes he can count on to dismantle the Pentagon that his pal Bill Ayers bombed decades ago.
The Center for Security Policy says Hagel has “a highly troubling record on critical matters of national security which we believe should disqualify him from serving as Secretary of Defense.” The group cites Hagel’s support for U.S. nuclear disarmament and “his assertion after passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which already cut defense spending by $487 billion over ten years, that the Department of Defense is ‘bloated’ and needs to be ‘paired down.’”
The Center also opposes Hagel because of his “demonstrated hostility” to Israel and “his failure to appreciate the threat posed by Iran.”
These dangerous shortcomings are job requirements in the Obama administration.
Obama chose Hagel, a lightning rod among his fellow Republicans, precisely because he has long been hostile to Israel. Comparing that country to the formerly racially segregated South Africa is just Hagel’s latest criticism of America’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Echoing extremists and conspiracy theorists who have long claimed that the U.S. government is controlled by a shadowy Jewish cabal, in a 2007 speech at Rutgers then-Senator Hagel claimed the U.S. Department of State was an “adjunct” of the Israeli government.
When questioned by the Washington Free Beacon, political consultant and Hagel supporter George Ajjan, who attended the speech, stood by his recollection of what Hagel said.
“I’m a conscientious person,” Ajjan said. “When I was blogging at that time, I did my best to record things accurately … there’s no way that I would pick a phrase like ‘adjunct of the Israeli foreign ministry.’ That’s a pretty odd combination of words to use. I wouldn’t have just pulled those out of thin air.”
Hagel himself has disavowed the comments attributed to him and has said he does not remember making them. One of the individuals who arranged the 2007 event, Hooshang Amirahmadi, who is now seeking election as president of Iran, said Ajjan’s report on the speech is “complete nonsense.” He told the Washington Free Beacon that some of his “very good Jewish colleagues who are very pro-Israel” did not seem to be offended during the speech.
Amirahmadi, director of the Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies, has reportedly accepted money from the Alavi Foundation, a charity that federal law enforcement officials say is a front group for the Iranian regime. Amirahmadi also runs the American Iranian Council, which has honored Hagel in the past.
Last week the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 14 to 11 to send Hagel’s nomination to the full Senate chamber where Republicans have been successfully preventing its consideration.
The blocking of the nomination has caused apoplexy and psychiatric maladies on the Left. For example, the preening phony centrist pundit John Avlon is outraged that Republicans are favoring principle over political expediency by daring to oppose Obama’s radical nominees:
“Senate Republicans have doubled down on obstructionism with their shameful filibuster of secretary-of-defense nominee Chuck Hagel. Add to this fresh insult the hold Sen. Rand Paul put on Obama’s nominee to be CIA director, John Brennan, and it looks like Republicans are backing a cynical political strategy that could compromise national security while proliferating hyperpartisanship even further in the future.”
Of course Avlon has it exactly wrong. In a rare fit of political courage, Republicans are blocking Obama nominees precisely because they pose a threat to U.S. national security. Randomly selected deputies at the Pentagon and the CIA would likely do a better job defending America than Obama’s radical picks. Despite Avlon’s all-too-predictable whining, in this case all the cynicism is on Obama’s side.
Unfortunately, Republicans already appear to be losing their will to fight, and seem ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Even though some Democratic senators, citing Hagel’s abysmal confirmation hearing testimony in which he appeared confused, even ignorant of current U.S. policy, have asked Obama to withdraw the nomination, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Graham reportedly now favor allowing Hagel to have an up-or-down vote in the Senate.
But McCain and Graham could still change their minds.
Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the recently published book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."