Hagel: “Unequivocal” Support for Israel

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 7 2013 3:39 PM

Chuck Hagel: My Record Shows “Unequivocal, Total Support for Israel”

159074882
Chuck Hagel speaks at the White House on Monday after President Obama announced he wanted the former senator to lead the Defense Department

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Having your name floated for a position that requires Senate confirmation has been described as being in a boxing ring when you’re not allowed to punch back. “This is a knife in the back” is how Ellen Tauscher, former undersecretary of state for arms control, described it to The New Yorker recently. “Because you cannot defend yourself when you are not nominated. You don’t have the policy or the political machine of the White House behind you. It is a very unsavory, very terrible situation.” Well, now that former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination has been announced, he wasted no time in fighting back against critics.

In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, the former Nebraska senator says critics have “completely distorted” his record, and he insisted there is “not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli, not one [Senate] vote that matters that hurt Israel." He said he sometimes didn’t sign on to “certain resolutions and letters because they were counterproductive and didn’t solve a problem.” Hagel has been criticized for saying that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” The former senator also vehemently denied he has been soft toward Iran and sayed he has only opposed unilateral sanctions because “they don’t work, and they just isolate the United States.”

Politico takes a look at the five groups that could sink Hagel’s confirmation: the pro-Israel crowd, gay rights advocates, Senate Republicans, “Democrats in the Senate—and the base,” and advocates for U.S. involvements overseas. NBC News says there are “as many as 10” Democratic senators who might vote against Hagel. In an illustration of what a tough fight lies ahead for the former senator, the Emergency Committee for Israel bought www.chuckhagel.com and has set a website opposing Hagel’s nomination, reports the Hill.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 23 2014 9:01 AM Tristan Da Cunha: Life on the World's Most Remote Island
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:46 AM How Men Talk About Relationships in Rom-Coms: While Playing Sports
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.