South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham has just sent a letter to Barack Obama's defense secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel. Graham asks if, at a 2010 appearance at Rutgers University, Hagel said Israel "was risking becoming an apartheid state."
A law student in attendance, Kenneth Wagner, wrote a contemporaneous email detailing Hagel's remarks, saying the former Nebrasks senator had said the state of Israel risked becoming an "apartheid state." These allegations were first reported Tuesday by the Washington Free Beacon. Here's the relevant quote from the Free Beacon report:
“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.”
“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.
In his letter, Graham writes: "Senator Hagel, did you say this? Have you said anything similar? Does this contemporaneous email accurately reflect your views?"
Read the full letter below: