February 15, 2013 – New York – AJC called today for further review of Senator Chuck Hagel’s views on vitally important national security and foreign policy issues, as the Senate stalled in its confirmation of the Secretary of Defense nominee.
A day after a procedural bid to end debate and move toward confirmation of the former Nebraska senator failed on a mostly party-line vote, AJC Executive Director David Harris said that recent reports of the nominee's views on Middle East policy and the U.S. role merit more thorough examination.
The full AJC Harris statement follows:
"Chuck Hagel has served this country, and his state, with distinction, as we have had the privilege to tell him in person. But in light of his complex record in the Senate and controversial statements he has made since his public service on strategic and political affairs – notably grappling with the range of pressing Middle East issues – AJC believes that further Senate deliberation is called for before any final vote is taken.
"Moreover, reports are now circulating that the nominee purportedly spoke derisively in recent years of U.S. policy-making regarding Israel and the vital U.S.-Israel relationship. Thus, we feel it especially important that Senator Hagel be given a full opportunity to clear the air, so that the Senate can have a more thorough picture of the nominee's views.
“In calling for more Senate discussion on the nomination, let me stress one key point. AJC is a strictly non-partisan organization. We speak up now only out of concern for policies we deem vital to our nation and central to our organizational mission.”