Sunday Jan 27, 201303:15 PM GMT
Rabbi backs Chuck Hagel on TV
Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:14PM
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An Israeli-born rabbi who claims to know Chuck Hagel well said in an interview aired Saturday that he has never heard any anti-Israeli sentiment from the nominee for US defense secretary, despite accusations to the contrary.


I have not heard the slightest anti-Israel hint or, as has been said in the American media, anti-Semitism”, Arieh Azriel, who leads a congregation in Omaha, Nebraska, Hagels home state, told Israeli television.


Pro-Israel lawmakers have denounced Hagel, with some commentators accusing him of anti-Semitism for his past comments thatthe Jewish lobbyintimidated members of Congress and that he isnot an Israeli senator.”


“At all the private meetings I had (with him), and also at events where he addressed my congregation, there was never any sign or hint of the possibility that this man is anti-Semitic”, said Azriel, who said that he had known the former Republican senator since he first ran for the Senate in 1996.


He has Israeli chutzpa, he says what he thinks”, Azriel, who spoke in Hebrew, said of the famously blunt Hagel.


Facing a bruising Senate confirmation, Hagel has pledged total supportfor Israel.


There is not one shred of evidence that Im anti-Israeli, not one vote (of mine) that matters that hurt Israel”, he told Nebraskas Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on January 7. The Raw Story



Hagel told the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper that he did not sign on to largely symbolic resolutions in Congress supported by a pro-Israeli group because they werecounter-productive”.


Hagels critics have also denounced him for opposing unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran.


The former senator has also angered fellow Republicans through his blunt criticism of the Iraq war which included calling the efforts of President George W. Bushs administrationbeyond pitiful”.


In January 2007, Hagel openly criticized President Bush's plan to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq. He called it “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out”.




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