Seems that US Senator Charles of New York no longer has “concerns” about Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s (R) record on Iran and Israel, despite the dubious nature of the nominee’s previous remarks. On Monday, Schumer met with Hagel and said that he “received assurances” directly from the horse’s mouth that he would do “whatever it takes” to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including the use of military force. Schumer also stated that pertaining to Israel, “Senator Hagel assured me that he today believes there should be no negotiations with Hamas, Hezbollah or any other terrorist group until they renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
We find Senator Schumer’s complete about-face on Hagel both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. It is yet another indicator how even elected officials with an ostensibly pro-Israel background have become jaded and numbed by the pervasive anti-Semitism that we encounter of a daily basis. In his early career as a politico, we tend to doubt that Chuck Schumer would so easily swallow the duplicitous sounding “assurances” of a man who just a few years earlier said “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” and when dismissing those who thought he was not sufficiently supportive of Israel, Hagel said, “I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator.”
Now, how bad would it look if a leading Democratic senator appeared to be the chief detractor of Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense? Schumer is a politician that has betrayed his constituents before in the name of self-interest and fealty to the POTUS and his “party.”
Engaging in a real balancing act, Schumer walks a fine line. Positing himself as a pro-Israel advocate in the Senate, he lacks the intestinal fortitude to break with Democratic party lines and would certainly never even entertain the notion of condemning the president’s choices for cabinet positions despite the fact these very same choices could be ominous indicators for Israel in the next four years. Undoubtedly, an exceptionally crucial time in terms of a possible military engagement with Iran.
We are deeply disappointed by Chuck Schumer’s endorsement of Chuck Hagel and his exhortation of other members of Congress to jettison their own legitimate reservations and go full steam ahead with their affirmative votes. On this issue, seems like those who will boldly oppose the nomination of Hagel are those Republican members of Congress who really believe that a growing Iranian nuclear arsenal represents just as much of threat to America as it is to Israel and to those who have consistently and concretely demonstrated their support for America’s only, time tested ally in the Middle East.