Assemblyman Dov Hikind is not in the least bit pleased about President Barack Obama nominating former Senator Chuck Hagel to be his new Secretary of Defense.
Mr. Hikind, a prominent pol in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community and a Democrat known for breaking with his own party, is incensed over what he feels is Mr. Hagel’s insufficient support for Israel and a controversial comment he once made referring to the “Jewish lobby.”
“Hagel’s policy positions have been anti-Israel and pro-Iranian,” Mr. Hikind declared in a press release blasted out earlier this afternoon that compared Mr. Hagel with Neville Chamberlain, the former British Prime Minister famous for appeasing Adolf Hitler before World War Two. “His lack of tact and openly anti-Semitic statements about a ‘Jewish’ lobby and ‘not being a Senator of Israel’ expose his gut feelings about Jewish-Americans, while his conciliatory position regarding Iran allows that terrorist state to get closer to its ability to manufacture and deliver nuclear weapons. This sounds like Neville Chamberlain all over again. But the truth is we will not achieve peace in our time by denying the Iranian government’s desire to destroy the only democratic state—and our only true ally—in the middle east.”
Mr. Hikind also took aim at Mr. Hagel’s supporters, sharply lashing out at the the National Jewish Democratic Council for supporting the nomination.
“The NJDC’s statement made me sick to my stomach,” Mr. Hikind said. “It’s a spineless position for an informed Jewish group to assume. The message is ‘we are Democrats before we are anything.’ That’s disgusting! The NJDC should be charged with fraud. After tracking and publishing Hagel’s numerous pro-Iran, anti-Israel statements and policy positions, the members of the NJDC know the real score. Their new declaration that Hagel will ‘follow the President’s lead of providing unrivaled support for Israel and lead the world against Iran’s nuclear program’ is deceitful, dishonest and dangerous!”
While Mr. Hikind obviously has no say in whether Mr. Hagel will make it through the Senate, his comments echo the case Republicans are making against the nomination. Whether or not those arguments will be enough to sink Mr. Hagel’s fortunes remains to be seen.