Why is J Street supporting the possible nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense? And why are we defending him against an outrageous smear campaign based on a distorted view of his record?

Because Hagel has been one of the most thoughtful voices in Washington for two decades on questions relating to American policy in the Middle East.

Because he has also been a staunch friend of the State of Israel and a trusted ally in the Senate, speaking out on behalf of America’s commitment to Israel’s security.

Because he recognized, before many would talk about it publicly, that the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in two states is in the national security interest of the United States.

Because Sen. Hagel was among the first in his party to realize that the US occupation of Iraq had turned into a quagmire that was taking thousands of American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives without a clear strategic rationale. He took a brave stand against the majority in his own party and led a crucial debate that helped pave the way for President Obama to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

And because Hagel is a decorated Vietnam War hero who is widely admired as a rational and independent voice on foreign and defense policy.

Political forces opposed to the principles that Hagel upholds are trying to defeat his nomination. They should not be allowed to succeed.

Tell your Senators you support Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

Read J Street's statement in support of Chuck Hagel's nomination.

Chuck Hagel's pro-Israel record | Claims & Facts about Hagel on Iran | Colleagues & Senators for Chuck Hagel | Ambassadors, National Security officials, and military officers for Chuck Hagel | Op-eds and editorials

Chuck Hagel's pro-Israel record

  • Former Ambassador to Israel for George W. Bush, Dan Kurtzer, has said: "I found him in all the years I served, including as ambassador to Israel, to be a supporter of Israel and also ready to discuss very frankly with the Israels the concerns we had about certain Israel policies."
  • Dr. Aaron David Miller, a Mideast advisor to six Secretaries of State, a vice president and distinguished scholar the Woodrow Wilson Center, wrote: "Hagel is a strong supporter of Israel and a believer in shared values." He has said that "there is a difference between a special relationship with Israel and an exclusive relationship with Israel. I believe in the former, and Chuck Hagel believes the former."
  • As a United States Senator, Chuck Hagel voted time and time again to provide $37.8 billion dollars of military and security assistance for Israel.1
  • In his book, Hagel wrote: "[a]t its core, there will be a special and historic bond with Israel exemplified by our continued commitment to Israel's defense." Further, "[a] comprehensive solution should not include any compromise regarding Israel's Jewish identity. which must be assured. The Israel people must be free to live in peace and security."
  • Hagel cosponsored resolutions with Sen. Dianne Feinstein including "commitment[s] to a true and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, based on the establishment of two states, living side by side in peace and security and with recognized borders" and calls on "Hamas... to recognize the State of Israel's right to exist."2
  • Hagel was the original co-sponsor of legislation urging the international community to "avoid contact with and refrain from supporting the terrorist organization Hamas until it agrees to recognize Israel, renounce violence, disarm and accept prior agreements."3
  • Hagel endorsed a proposal spearheaded by Henry Siegman, long-time executive director of the American Jewish Congress and coauthored by respected American foreign policy experts from both sides of the political aisle, which called for inducing Hamas to modify its behavior, and noted that "[d]irect US engagements with Hamas may not now be practical, but shutting out the movement and isolating Gaza has only made it stronger and Fatah weaker.
  • Ali Gharib takes on the false accusations of anti-Semitism at the Daily Beast, "AJC Leaves Out Context of Hagel Letters.

Claims & Facts about Hagel on Iran

  • Chuck Hagel opposed a non-binding amendment labeling the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, with 21 other Senators, because the amendment made no reference to any diplomatic strategy, would have had minimal practical impact and could have been seen as a 'backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action,' by the Bush Administration, as Senator Wedd said at the time. In his book, Chuck Hagel wrote that Iran is "a state sponsor of terrorism" that "provides material support to Hezbollah and Hamas."
  • Chuck Hagel voted in favor of the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 19984, the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 20005, and the Iran Freedom Support Act of 20066. He is skeptical of unilateral sanctions, but supports multilateral sanctions which we have seen, in concert with allies, put tremendeous pressure on Iran.
  • Although he (like countless American and Israeli defense officials) believes that a military strike on Iran is not the best course of action, Senator Hagel has never ruled out use of force and supports keeping all options on the table. During his time in the Senate, Hagel supported efforts to use force in cases such as Kosovo, and against al Qaeda, where all diplomatic options were (or were assured to be) exhausted.
  • Cornyn's False Attack on Hagel

Colleagues & Senators for Chuck Hagel

Ambassadors, National Security officials, and military officers for Chuck Hagel

Op-eds and editorials across the political spectrum in support of Chuck Hagel:


[1] - http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf
[2] - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:SJ00046:@@@L&summ2=m&
[3] - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN02370:@@@L&summ2=m&
[4] - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:HR02709:@@@L&summ2=m&
[5] - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d106:HR01883:@@@L&summ2=m&
[6] - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR06198:@@@L&summ2=m&