Report: Hagel Attacked Israel; Called Netanyahu A ‘Radical’

In a report by the Washington Free Beacon, a former student at Rutgers University claims that during a question and answer session, following a speech, on April 9, 2010 Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel said that Israel was on its way to becoming an apartheid state and described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “radical.”

According to Kenneth Wagner, who is the source cited in the article by Alana Goodman,

“I am sitting in a lecture by Chuck Hagel at Rutgers,” Wagner wrote in the email. “He basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that Israel has violated its agreements with the quartet, that it was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state. He said that the settlements were getting close to the point where a contiguous Palestinian state would be impossible.”

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“He said that he [thought] that Netanyahu was a radical and that even [former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi] Livni, who was hard nosed thought he was too radical and so wouldn’t join in a coalition [government] with him. … He said that Hamas has to be brought in to any peace negotiation,” Wagner wrote.

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Wagner is the only person to state provide this information so far from the speech. However, it is noteworthy of Hagel’s speech to the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which both claimed was informal, but from all signs in the video it indicates the speech was a former address, to an avowedly anti-Israel organization. Hagel failed to inform the Senate Armed Services Committee about.

Wagner went on to call Hagel’s comments “pretty shocking.”

“I was very surprised at his attitude because I had been listening to politicians speak about the situation in the Middle East and the U.S. Israel relationship for about two decades,” Wagner said. “And it was probably the most negative thing I’d ever heard anybody in elected office say.”

The Washington Free Beacon went on to report,

The Free Beacon reported Thursday on a contemporaneous account of another speech then-Senator Hagel gave at Rutgers in 2007. The report, written by Hagel supporter and political consultant George Ajjan, claimed Hagel had described the U.S. Department of State as an extension of the Israeli government.

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte on Friday sent a letter to Hagel requesting an explanation of the alleged comments. The Anti-Defamation League also called on Hagel to explain, and the American Jewish Committee said, “Further Senate deliberation is called for before any final vote is taken.”

Hagel has disavowed the remarks and says he does not recall making them.

“I do not recall making any such statement, or ever making any similar statement,” he wrote in a reply letter to Graham and Ayotte on February 16. “I completely disavow the content of the alleged statement attributed to me.”

Last week Republicans delayed Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense. The vote was along party lines and was an attempt to get more information over Hagel’s controversial past.

More to come. It’s not looking good for Hagel, but I’m wary of the Senate voting his nomination down.

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