Jewish Republican party officials and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) are among several groups that have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to rescind his appointment of former senator Chuck Hagel as co-chairman of his Intelligence Advisory Board.
Hagel made clear his attitude towards Israel when he spoke at the pro-Arab and self-proclaimed pro-Israel J Street lobby last week. He echoed President Obama’s previous statements that meeting the demand of the Palestinian Authority for a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders “is central, not peripheral, to U.S. vital security interests in combating terrorism.”
He also said that the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel “must not come at the expense of our Arab relationships.”
Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks stated that Hagel’s record reflects “a fundamental misunderstanding of the region and of the nature of the threats to U.S. interests in the region. Hagel does not seem to understand that the U.S. and Israel are fighting a war against terrorists whose agenda is an existential threat to our free and democratic system.”
Hagel, who once criticized President George W. Bush for refusing to meet with Yasser Arafat, has questioned the loyalty of American Jews who support Israel, stating that “the political reality is that ... the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”
The ZOA stated that Hagel has a "long and troubling record of hostility to Israel,” including his refusal to join fellow congressmen to ask the European Union to declare Hizbullah a terrorist organization. He also was one of four senators who refused to sign a letter backing Israel after the outbreak nine years ago of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
His appointment is another in a long list of Obama aides whose policies are against Israel. One of the president's advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security advisor to former President Jimmy Carter. He recently stated that the U.S. should shoot down any Israeli planes that fly through Iraqi air space on the way to attacking Iran’s nuclear reactors that are preparing nuclear uranium for nuclear weapons.
President Obama also has appointed Prof. Samantha Power as senior director for multicultural affairs on the National Security Council. The Obama team originally distanced itself from her during the presidential campaign because of her nasty remarks about Israel and now U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Video: Interview with Samantha Power several years ago during which she called to invade Israel with a mammoth military force
One potential Obama advisor who backed out following harsh criticism is Charles Freeman, who was nominated to head the sensitive National Intelligence Council of which Hagel will be co-chairman. Freeman’s history includes close financial ties with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.