January 7, 2013 – New York – AJC in recent days has raised concerns about the choice of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next U.S. secretary of defense. Following today’s nomination of Hagel by President Obama, AJC looks forward to a full Senate examination of Hagel’s record on key issues and his vision for dealing with them as a member of the Obama Cabinet.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris issued the following statement:
The president, of course, has the prerogative to select members of his Cabinet, but the Senate is obligated to probe the record and vision of every nominee. We look forward to Senator Chuck Hagel’s responses to Senators’ questions to determine whether he is the best choice for secretary of defense.
While AJC honors Senator Hagel’s record of service to our country and the people of Nebraska, his statements and actions on a range of core U.S. national security priorities raise questions that require clarification.
Notably, there are serious concerns about Hagel’s commitments to the efficacy of sanctions and a credible military option against Iran, on pressing the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, on sustaining the U.S. policy on the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza, on the special nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship and Israel’s quest for peace and security, and on gay rights.
All of these issues have been central to the Obama Administration's agenda, but Hagel's voting record during his Senate career, his many interviews and speeches, and his published op-eds suggest a discrepancy on many key policy questions that requires careful Senate examination.AJC has shared our concerns with members of the U.S. Senate, who have the responsibility to ask the probing questions about Hagel’s record and vision.
We look forward to that exchange in the confirmation process, and the opportunity to consider the information and insights that emerge.