"We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so,” said Chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), William Kristol, on the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
The former senator from Nebraska, who has been embroiled in a prolonged battle to ensure his confirmation, won endorsement of the senate in a vote of 58-41 to replace outgoing Pentagon chief Leon Panetta.
“We salute all those -- Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews -- who joined with us in the effort to secure a better Secretary of Defense,” Kristol said.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted to break a filibuster against Hagel’s nomination. The decision to end debate was approved on a 71-27 vote, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold.
“We are heartened that the overwhelming majority of senators from one of the two major parties voted against confirming Mr. Hagel. We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel's confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration. And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue, we will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties. In this task we wish him well,” said Chairman of the conservative pro-Israel advocacy organization.
While Hagel recently claimed that there is "not one shred of evidence that [he’s] anti-Israeli, his policy record and previous statement suggest otherwise.
Last week, a publication of Hagel’s statements from a 2010 meeting with university students added to his already blatantly anti-Israel stance when he claimed that the Jewish is becoming an “apartheid state,” and dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “a radical.”
"This battle against Chuck Hagel is over. The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on," Kristol added.