Lately, concerns regarding Obama’s relationship with Israel have centered on defense secretary nominee Hagel, who chairs the Atlantic Council think tank, which last month published both a column titled “Israel’s Apartheid Policy” and a policy paper stating that Iran “should be viewed as a potential natural partner” for the U.S.
In 2008, Hagel took a direct shot at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), telling former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller in a quote that appeared in Miller’s book, The Much Too Promised Land, that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington.
Hagel did not sign the following letters, among others backed by AIPAC, while he served in the Senate: an August 2006 letter asking the European Union to declare Hizbullah a terrorist organization; a November 2001 letter asking President George W. Bush not to meet Yasir Arafat until Arafat took steps to end violence against Israel; and an October 2000 letter in support of Israel. He did, however, sign a 2009 letter asking Obama to directly negotiate with Hamas.
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