In the Times of Israel article Jonathan wrote about earlier today, the ADL’s Abe Foxman suggested he wouldn’t object to Obama’s potential secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel. But strangely enough, Foxman seemed to give a very different comment to Jen Rubin:
“Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling. The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.”
As Jonathan pointed out, Foxman told the Times of Israel that Hagel is “now in sync with the president’s approach to Iran” and seemed largely unconcerned with the idea of him serving as defense secretary. The quotes in the two stories seem to completely contradict each other. It’s surprising Foxman would sound nonchalant about a Hagel nomination in the Times of Israel article, considering the ADL has documented the anti-Semitism behind the “Jewish lobby” conspiracy theory that Hagel appears to endorse. Will the ADL clarify where it stands on this?
Other Jewish leaders have been clear in their positions. Obama-supporter Ed Koch said it would be “a terrible appointment” in a recent interview with the Algemeiner. And the Republican Jewish Coalition called the possibility “a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.”
Meanwhile, anti-Israel lobbying group J Street and Peter Beinart have come out in support of Hagel. So has Stephen Walt–who literally helped write the book on the Israel Lobby conspiracy theory–and anti-Israel writers Joe Klein and Andrew Sullivan.
The National Jewish Democratic Council is still silent on the issue. The group is caught in an awkward spot since it blasted Hagel as anti-Israel back in 2007 when he was seen as a possible Republican presidential candidate.
The American Jewish Committee hasn’t weighed in yet, either. A spokesperson for the organization said they were still in the process of discussing it when I contacted them earlier today. I’ll post an update when I get a comment.