The group Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors "expressed grave concerns about reports that President Obama is preparing to nominate former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense," according to a statement released by the group today.
The president of the organization, Doris Montrose, says: "Chuck Hagel has been consistently wrong about crucial political and diplomatic questions in the Middle East. He has urged engagement with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas - countries and terrorist groups that show no interest in negotiating with us and who continue to pursue Israel's destruction. He has advocated degrading our relationship with Israel in order to curry favor with hardliners in the Arab and Muslim world, a policy that comes dangerously close to outright appeasement. He is fundamentally unqualified to run the Pentagon and to guide our military in securing our interests."
The rest of the press release reads:
Hagel has been broadly criticized since rumors emerged that he was under consideration for nomination to replace sitting Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Elected representatives from both parties have expressed strong reservations about the potential pick. Their concerns have cited both Hagel's soft-line policy recommendations regarding rogue regimes and his past comments insinuating that a "Jewish lobby" was in control of American politics. Major American Jewish groups have been more explicit, raising concerns that Hagel's views about Jewish power would influence his foreign policy considerations.
Late Wednesday a document reportedly written by Hagel's supporters emerged, cataloging seemingly pro-Israel and anti-Iran quotes by Hagel.
It was almost immediately criticized for taking his writings out of context, including one instance where an ostensibly pro-Israel passage stopped before the word "but."
"It's difficult to believe that Hagel's defenders are trying to brush aside decades of anti-Israel statements and activities, especially his particularly worrisome advocacy that we should distance ourselves from Israel to win over those who want to destroy the Jewish State" continued Montrose. "It's also difficult to understand why the President would risk his political capital at a time when so many challenges face our country. America is divided about many things, but the public's support for Israel is bipartisan, overwhelming, and consistent. The President should choose a nominee who understands Israel's vital role as an American ally, not one who is at odds with the public and political consensus which values a strong U.S.-Israel relationship."
Working to ensure that Never Again remains more than a mere slogan, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors insists that the last Holocaust imposes upon all people of good will a moral and political imperative to prevent the next one.