President Obama and Chuck Hagel
President Obama and Chuck HagelReuters

In recently revealed comments, President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense Chuck Hagel made staggering accusations against Israel, alleging that the Jewish state is keeping the “Palestinians caged up like animals.”

Hagel was quoted as making the comments on January 12, 2003 by TheLincoln Journal Star, The Washington Free Beacon revealed on Tuesday.

The highly controversial nominee does not elaborate on the claim or explain how he believes Israel is keeping “Palestinians caged up like animals,” according to the Journal Star report. The comment is, however, consistent with his long anti-Israel and anti-Jewish record.

In 2007, he made a similar accusation, saying that Israel has kept the Palestinian people “chained down for many, many years.”

The former Republican Nebraska senator continues to claim, however, that an accurate assessment would illustrate his “unequivocal, total support for Israel.”

In The Journal Star article Hagel also condemned the Bush administration’s handling of the peace process and Iran, saying, “We’re not handling the Iranian situation the smart way. The worst thing we can do is try to isolate a nation.”

In a meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.) last week Hagel came out against his previously held beliefs, claiming he now endorses isolating the Iranian regime over its nuclear program.

Following a 90-minute meeting at the White House last week, Schumer said Hagel would do “whatever it takes” to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Hagel’s Senate confirmation hearing will take place on Thursday.

The Republican Jewish Coalition issued a statement upon first hearing of Hagel’s nomination, calling it “a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.”