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Chuck Hagel told Israel Supporters: “Let the Jews Pay for It!”

Hagel once told an employee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that she was a "[expletive] tool from AIPAC."
Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel

Whether or not former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will be nominated by President Obama to be the U.S. Secretary of Defense remains a guessing game.  Last week the rumor mill was working full steam, with confident announcements that the nomination would be announced “on Monday.”  We’re now closer to the next Monday and that announcement still hasn’t been made, but other ones have, and the picture of Chuck Hagel looks less and less attractive all the time.

According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon, during the late 1980′s, when Chuck Hagel was the president and chief executive officer of the World United Service Organizations (USO), he threatened to close down the Haifa USO Port because of financial concerns.  The USO is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides services and recreation to members of the U.S. military.

The Haifa USO Port was opened in late 1984, as the Sixth Fleet had begun making regular stops at the port since the late 1970s, and especially in the wake of the bombing of the U.S. Marine’s barracks in Beirut.  The Haifa USO was open 24 hours a day when U.S. ships were in port.

Hagel’s conduct regarding the effort to keep the port open shocked Jewish leaders who were part of a discussion with him about the matter in 1989, according to the Beacon‘s report.

“He said to me, ‘Let the Jews pay for it’,” said Marsha Halteman, director for military and law enforcement programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which led the battle to keep USO Haifa operational.

According to Halteman, Hagel’s behavior was clearly anti-Semitic.

“He essentially told us that if we wanted to keep the USO [in Haifa] open—and when I say ‘we,’ he meant ‘the Jews’—he said the Jews could pay for it,” said Halteman, who recalled being taken aback by the comment.

“I told him at the time that I found his comments to be anti-Semitic,” she said. “He was playing into that dual loyalty thing.”

Despite Hagel’s behavior,  a combination of congressional support, appeals from the Sixth Fleet, and the efforts of JINSA to raise substantial funds, enabled the Haifa port to stay open.  It was not until the fall of 2002 that the Haifa USO port finally closed for good because  of security concerns — this was the height of the Second Arab Uprising.

The Beacon report quotes a USO spokesperson as saying they have “no records of any discussion to close the USO Center in Haifa while Charles Hagel was CEO and President of the USO from 1987 to 1990,″ adding that the USO staff “are still working to determine when after 2000 the USO Center in Haifa closed.

But an Internet search uncovered an AP report from 1990 which clearly states that the port almost closed because of financial concerns.  An article from the Times of London reveals that the U.S. military banned its members from stopping at the Haifa port following the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen on October 12, 2000.

What is perhaps even more shocking – if true – than Hagel’s comments that Jews should pay for the Haifa USO Port is that, according to a conservative Nebraska blogger, Hagel once told an employee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Ally Milder, that she was a “[expletive] tool from AIPAC.”

Add to these latest examples of—shall one say—surprisingly indelicate behavior, the news that even such liberal politicians as outgoing Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) are “strongly opposed” to Hagel becoming Secretary of Defense, and it becomes increasingly hard to imagine that Hagel will get the nod. But if Hagel does get the nod, it is even harder to imagine that his nomination will survive the confirmation process.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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25 Responses to “Chuck Hagel told Israel Supporters: “Let the Jews Pay for It!””

  1. Reem Mc says:

    Jews suck

  2. Anonymous says:

    To me the point seems to be that Hagel is still Obama's candidate. Obama wants to use Hagel to create more distance between the US and Israel. All this says more about Obama than about Hagel. The relevant Antisemite is Obama himself, who wants to use Hagel as his instrument in obstructing an Israeli attack on Iran. Hagel has to do the dirty work of threatening Israel with military consequences in the case of such an attack.

  3. Anonymous says:

    To me the point seems to be that Hagel is still Obama's candidate. Obama wants to use Hagel to create more distance between the US and Israel. All this says more about Obama than about Hagel. The relevant Antisemite is Obama himself, who wants to use Hagel as his instrument in obstructing an Israeli attack on Iran. Hagel has to do the dirty work of threatening Israel with military consequences in the case of such an attack.

  4. Chaiya Eitan says:

    This man is scary….he cannot be nominated!

  5. Chaiya Eitan says:

    I will say to you what Boehner said to Harry Reid.

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    Obama is trying to respond to the slanders that he is too partisan by appointing a Republican to a high position. Other than Ron Paul it is hard to imagine a worse possible Republican to appoint.

  7. Reem Mc says:

    I actually like all ppl. I apologize. Bbut the paranoia is. Too much. All he said Is I dont want to pay for that.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    And it shows absolute ignorance to call Obama an anti-Semite. He has appointed so many Jews to high positions that the real anti-Semites have complained. His Chief of Staff is orthodox and recently was given an honorary degree by Yeshiva University.

  9. Obaid Karki says:

    Quit nagging about USO like Tel Aviv hookers when ain’t pimped to rich parties. Chuck Hagel ain’t Anti-Semitic enough to be mentioned. Here’s something Israeli really loath you not to publish. Chuck Hagel is a Godsend magnet to attract Israel to headlines. Chuck Hagel escorted & schooled Obama during 2008 Presidential Campaign to Israel. Chuck Hagel was right when he said to Potus-to-be: “if you get to White House. Israeli Bleached N✡ ggas will need 4 years to recover”. Bleached N✡ ggas are more racist than whites simply because they ain’t wasps. Their White House Raw Model is John Wayne. Israelis need an idiot like George Bush who hired a Jewish Dumb✡sses as George Tenet for CIA, Michael Chertoff for Homeland Security, Paul Wolfowitz for Dy Assistant Secretary of Defense and many Menajahtwa Muthafukahuh to f✡ck America. Though George Bush the kid and George Bush the father gave Israel nothing compared to Egypt but Israelis are Deranged Megalomaniac Egomaniacs. Back to Chuck Hagel; Israelis will be digging their own graves if they rally to conspire to assassinate Chuck Hagel’s character as they did to Charles Freeman. Israeli in their own eyes, believe that they are the-chosen-ones, Americans are fools and the Donuthole is Gaza, they can get away with crime. In Arabspringers eyes Israel ain’t a thing but East European Urban Rejects & IRS fugitives who hijacked Judaism as hostage to extort jews worldwide and took refuge in Auschwitz called Palestine. Hennery Kissinger is Jew, said: “give those kibitzers 10 years to die”. George Soros is Jew too established Soros fund for any Jew who will flee Israel. The game is over. Kudos.

  10. That Chuck Hagel used abusive and anti-semetic language is not surprising to me.

    What is surprising to me is that Senators Gildebrand, Lautenberg, and.
    Menendez haven't yet expressed concern with a potential nominee that is a slap in the face to the majority of their constituents.

    It is time for them to say what they think about him.

    To me he is the stereotypical Archie Bunker type bigot. His policies have been anti gay. Even now after his late and self serving apology for his Archie Bunker comments he doesn't support equal benefits for gay military families.

    there are many ways a Secretary of Defense could help gay military families no matter how DOMA is decided and Hagel has not come out in favor of any of these.

    There still remain a handful of regulations that could be revised independent of the Defense of Marriage act that could bring some equity of compensation and benefits but remain denied due only to Department of Defense foot-dragging:

    Included in the discretionary benefits currently denied are spousal identication cards, and shopping at the PX, the former cited in the Pentagon's own Working Group study as not requiring DOMA repeal to deliver.

    His remarks about the Jewish lobby having too much influence would cleary be seen as bigoted if you substitute any other.
    minority group's lobby. Try NAACP or La Raza and see how long you would be considered.

    The latest anti-semetic comments line up with the may witnesses to his abusive comments to subordinates. Even one of the few senators that back him has said that "He doesn't mind stepping on people's toes."

    He is anti-African American (with a 11/100 rating from NAACP and admires Strom Thurmond as a great role model. anti Woman (vs choice and contraception).

    and
    Hagel has drawn additional heat from insiders who claim he lacks the credentials needed to manage a department as large and essential as the Pentagon.

    “Yes, Hagel has crazy positions on several key issues. Yes, Hagel has said things that are borderline anti-Semitism. Yes, Hagel wants to gut the Pentagon’s budget. But above all, he’s not a nice person and he’s bad to his staff,” said a senior Republican Senate aide who has close ties to former Hagel staffers.

    “Hagel was known for turning over staff every few weeks—within a year’s time he could have an entirely new office because nobody wanted to work for him,” said the source. “You have to wonder how a man who couldn’t run a Senate office is going to be able to run an entire bureaucracy.”.

    Others familiar with Hagel’s 12 year tenure in the Senate said he routinely intimidated staff and experienced frequent turnover.

    “Chuck Hagel may have been collegial to his Senate colleagues but he was the Cornhusker wears Prada to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “He might get away with that when it comes to staffers in their 20s, but that sort of personality is going to go over like a ton of bricks at the Pentagon.”.

    Multiple sources corroborated this view of Hagel.

    “As a manager, he was angry, accusatory, petulant,” said one source familiar with his work on Capitol Hill. “He couldn’t keep his staff.”.

    “I remember him accusing one of his staffers of being ‘f—ing stupid’ to his face,” recalled the source who added that Hagel typically surrounded himself with those “who basically hate Republicans.”.

    Sources expressed concern about such behavior should Hagel be nominated for the defense post. With competing military and civilian interests vying for supremacy, the department requires a skilled manager, sources said.

    “The Pentagon requires strong civilian control,” a senior aide to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Free Beacon. “It’s already swung back in favor of the military over the past five years. A new secretary of defense should push it back in its rightful place, but it’s doubtful Hagel would be that guy.”.

    “It’s not clear that [Hagel] has the standing, the managerial prowess, or the willingness to gore some oxen,” said the source.

    One senior Bush administration official warned that Hagel is ill informed about many critical foreign policy matters.

    “He’s not someone who’s shown a lot of expertise on these issues,” said the source, referencing a recent Washington Post editorial excoriating Hagel’s record. “That [op-ed] was extraordinary.”.

    “Only in Washington,” the official added, “can someone like [Hagel] be seen as a heavy weight. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”.

    Hagel is likely viewed positively by the administration mainly because he is a Republican who often criticizes his own party, the source said.

    “He’ll dance to a tune played by the White House,” said the former official. “That I think is the real problem.”.

    As lawmakers consider a deal to avoid sweeping budgets cuts and tax hikes, Hagel’s support for slashing spending at the Pentagon has irked many defense hawks.

    “This is a time when a secretary of defense needs to be raising hell about the sequestration cuts,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “It’s not clear that Hagel has any interest in picking that fight.”.

    Hagel’s reluctance to chastise Iran also remains a central concern.

    As chief of the Pentagon it is expected he would avoid planning for a military intervention should Tehran refuse to end its clandestine nuclear enrichment program.

    “The military brass is already reluctant to offer up any military options on Iran even though it’s their job to have something on the books and to leave the options of the commander in chief open,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “Hagel will only reinforce these worrisome tendencies.”.

    “Chances are he’ll view any legitimate effort to talk about military options with Iran as some plot by the ‘Israel Lobby’ to box him in,” the source said.

    President Obama should avoid the risk of loosing a confirmation vote over someone who's views on many major issues are opposite of the President's and instead appoint the better person Michelle Flornoy.

    Flournoy closely mirrors the policies of the President, the Democratic Party, and the American people.

  11. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    very impressive, but I think it needs music to really fly.

  12. You are totally right but Hagel is also known as an anti-Semite.

  13. Byron Van Buren says:

    ALL is Hearsay and Innuendo. Bad Gossip.

  14. When Obama speaks it is all Blah.Blah.Blah a bunch of baloney and no truth to back anything up. He has no integrity!

  15. James Agans says:

    How the heck is that Anti-Semetic?

  16. The White House is leaking reports it will nominate Hagel on Monday.

    Hagel has no natural constituency, except perhaps for those who want a foreign and defense policy that is tougher on Israel and softer on Iran.

    Iran would be clear that it has nothing serious to fear from the Obama administration.
    Republican Senators clearly will overwhelmingly vote no.

    The battle for confirmation is about getting Democratic Senators that are already unenthusiastic about Hagel to vote no.

    New York Senator Gildebrand and New Jersey Senators among many others have.
    been silent so far.

    They must understand the depth of their constituents feeling on this issue.


  17. YouTube clip of Hagel 'lamenting' how Palestinians are "chained down".

  18. Mark Conte says:

    So this is like blackmail. Give us all the financial aid, weapons and ammunition we wantand fight opur wars for us or you are anti Jewish. Strange.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Charlie Hall

    Antisemitic rulers often surround themselves with Court Jews in order to hide their real objectives. Obama plays nice with the Jews while betraying the Jewish State.

  20. Courtiade, you hit the nail richt on the head.

  21. Jeff Kletman says:

    Bull , he wants someone who shares his views on Israel.

  22. Justin Raimondo says:

    This article is self-refuting. First you say Hagel said "let the Jews pay for it," and then you quote Halteman as saying "'He essentially told us that if we wanted to keep the USO [in Haifa] open—and when I say ‘we,’ he meant ‘the Jews’." So, it turns out Hagel didn't say "the Jews," and that is Halteman's interpretation. Halteman, by the way, is a top official of JINSA, a neoconservative "think tank" that is very close to the Likud party in Israel.

    Stop the smear campaign, Lori — you are just helping Hagel with your viciousness.

  23. John Miller says:

    Never forget the USS Liberty.

  24. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    What an honor to have a visit from such an esteemed nutjob as Justin Raimondo – love the hushed tones, helpful addition that a "neocon" think tank like JINSA is "very close to the Likud party in Israel."

  25. The Secretary of Defense should be expert on defense, neutral and nto biased on.

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