Senator Graham Slams Hagel Appointment
Chuck Hagel as the United States' Secretary of Defense would be "the most antagonistic Secretary of Defense toward the state of Israel" in U.S. history, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) charged on Sunday.
Speaking during CNN's "State of the Union" program, Graham called the former Republican Nebraska Senator an “in-your-face” nomination” and someone who is “out of the mainstream” of thinking on foreign policy issues.
President Barack Obama is set to nominate Hagel as Secretary of Defense on Monday or Tuesday, reports over the weekend indicated.
“Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be the Secretary of Defense, would be the most antagonistic Secretary of Defense toward the state of Israel in our nation’s history," Graham told CNN.
“Not only has he said you should directly negotiate with Iran, sanctions won’t work, that Israel should directly negotiate with the Hamas organization, a terrorist group that lobs thousands of rockets into Israel, he also was one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union that Hizbullah should be designated as a terrorist organization," he added.
“He has long severed his ties with the Republican Party. This is an in-your-face nomination by the president," Graham said. "And it looks like the second term of Barack Obama is going to be an in-your-face term."
The Republican Jewish Coalition, along with countless others, has cited a long list of Hagel’s anti-Israel policies, asserting that his nomination would “be a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.”
Obama has defended Hagel's record, saying he "is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate, somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who's currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job."
Amnon Lord, a leading political commentator at the Makor Rishon and Maariv newspapers, opined Sunday that if Obama succeeds in appointing Hagel as Secretary of Defense, Israel will have to face Iran on its own.
"A guy like Chuck Hagel apparently intends to defend the shores of Florida and deploy Arrow and Iron Dome systems in Washington," he wrote sarcastically.
"If Hagel's appointment turns into reality, Israel is apparently on its own in the Iranian matter," Lord stated. "The defense establishment's long honeymoon with its American counterpart may also be over. And yet, the diplomatic warfare and economic sanctions are under the purview of the Secretary of State, and John Kerry will want to prove himself as an activist. So politically, it's not over yet."
Arutz Sheva recently posted an op-ed with Hagel's record. Click here to read it.