Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, isn’t enamored with the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary, but it’s not cause for panic, he says.
“Hagel would not have been our choice, but it is the president who has the prerogative to select his secretary of Defense,” Foxman writes in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz
“The selection does not have to be as bad as some fear. The security relationship [with Israel] should continue under a Hagel-led Pentagon. And on other matters, particularly Iran, where Hagel apparently comes from a different perspective, we expect the president to make clear that his long-held views will continue as American policy.”
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Hagel already “seems to be beginning to correct his spotty, tepid support for Israel,” Foxman writes. “And his history in the Senate showed a recognition of Israel's security needs and a record of support for U.S. defense aid to Israel.”
So the relationship with Israel isn’t a big worry, Foxman says. Of bigger concern to him is Iran and the misperception that could be created by the appointment of Hagel (and John Kerry as secretary of State) that a military option against the rogue nation is off the table.
“This potential reading by Iran of America's intentions would be a disaster,” Foxman writes. “Therefore, with the prospect looming of another round of negotiations with Iran, it will be critically important in the days and weeks ahead that the president reiterates his prior commitment to the military option.”
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