SWC Statement on the Appointment of Former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has expressed its deep reservations about the appointment of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

“We believe it sends the wrong signal, at the wrong time, to the Mullahs in Iran - it says to them, here is a man who understands us, here is a man that may tolerate a nuclear Iran,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 

“While it is President Obama who makes the decision, the Secretary of Defense is a critical adviser and has a great deal of influence with the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” he added.

“Furthermore, we believe that when Senator Hagel said that he was not an ‘Israeli Senator’, that he was a U.S. Senator, he strongly implied that some of his colleagues have a greater loyalty to Israel than to the United States. That crosses the line,” said Hier.

“The very first thing that former Senator Hagel should do at his confirmation hearing is face up to his hateful statements, including the one about the "Jewish Lobby" intimidating people, retract them, and apologize to those Americans that he has defamed,” Hier concluded.

Listen to related KABC interview with Rabbi Hier here.... 

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).