Chuck Hagel tried to distance the United States from Israel, to accuse Israel of Palestinian terrorism, to put pressure on Israel to surrender territory and retreat to the inviolable borders, and consistently tried to increase pressure on Israel and reduce it to the enemies of Israel.
In June 1999, Hagel was the only U.S. senator who refused to sign the announcement of the American Jewish Committee in the New York Times, asking Russian President Boris Yeltsin to fight anti-Semitism in Russia.
In October 2000, Hegel was one of four senators who refused to sign a letter expressing support for Israel during the Palestinian Intifada.
In November 2001, Hegel was one of 11 senators who refused to sign a letter asking President Bush not to meet with Yasser Arafat until Fatah Arafat terrorists stop attacking Israel.
In April 2002, Hegel largely relieved Palestinians of responsibility for their terrorist campaign against Israel.
“We understand Israel’s right to self-defense. We are committed to this right. We have helped Israel defend this right. We will continue to do so. But this must not happen at the expense of the Palestinian people – the Palestinian people who are indifferent to them and innocent Israelis who pay a high price. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are trapped in a war that they are not fighting.
In the same speech, Hegel suggested that NATO troops should be sent to Israel:
“Will America call for it, will NATO forces call for help to guarantee this peace? Maybe.”
In May 2002, Hegel said he would oppose a House of Representatives resolution accusing the terrorist Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian terrorist groups of terrorism.
KARL: “Would you vote against a House resolution by Tom Delay?”
I would vote against it very strongly because it essentially singles out the Palestinians and Arafat as a real problem. And I think we should be very careful here, because we are working on a resolution and a final political settlement. And it won’t help when we take the public side on this issue and we castigate and put all the responsibility and all the blame on one side.
In June 2002, according to CNN, Hegel refused to call Yasser Arafat a terrorist and said that revelations about his direct role in organizing terrorist attacks against Israel forced the Bush administration to “make Arafat a problem,” to which Hegel objected, and insisted that Arafat should play a constructive role in the peace process:
“SEN”. Chuk HAHEL (R), Nebraska: I think what happened here – and I don’t know if this is an unintended consequence or not – but the fact is that the administration has now made Yasser Arafat a problem. Despite the fact that they say he shouldn’t be a problem or isn’t, they have made him a problem. The issue is not in Yasser Arafat. Whether you think he is a terrorist or not is a rhetorical game with swords. He is part of this process.
In June 2002, after two years of Palestinian suicide bombings and terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds of Israelis, Hegel told an anti-Israeli conference that the U.S. alliance with Israel should not be “at the expense” of the Palestinians, and that the U.S. should impose an “end game” on Israel and the Palestinians. According to the conference report,
When Senator Chuck Hegel (R-NE) took the microphone, he also took the audience by surprise: “Israel is our friend and ally and we must continue our commitment,” he said, “but not at the expense of the Palestinian people.
“Your greeting was deafening. Hegel continued: We don’t need a ceasefire leading to a consistent peace process leading to negotiations about a Palestinian state, leading to negotiations about refugees, Jerusalem, etc.”. That time has passed. We need to put an end to this game urgently.
In July 2002, in an article entitled “The Washington Post”, written after several of the deadliest months of suicide bombing of Palestinians, Hegel said that the U.S. mistakenly “raised the issue of Yasser Arafat,” that the Palestinians could not be expected to implement democratic reforms as long as “Israeli military occupation and settlement activity” continues, and that “Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace” – after Israel twice offered the Palestinians a state in negotiations in 2000 and 2001.
In January 2003, Hegel accused Israel of “keeping Palestinians in cages like animals.
In November 2003, Hegel did not vote to pass the Syria Accountability Act, which authorized sanctions against Syria for its support of terrorism and the occupation of Lebanon. The law was passed by 89 votes to 4.
In April 2004, Hegel refused to sign a letter asking the UN not to support the “advisory opinion” of the International Court of Justice (i.e. automatic condemnation) on the Israeli security barrier, which stopped suicide bombers from entering Israel and saved countless lives. The letter received 79 signatures of the Senate, but not Hegel.
In June 2004, Hegel refused to sign a letter calling on President Bush to draw attention to Iran’s nuclear program at the G8 summit.
In December 2005, Hegel was one of 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush asking the United States to put pressure on Palestinians to ban terrorist groups from participating in legislative elections.
In June 2006, at a forum of the Council on U.S.-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago praised Hegel for not being an Israeli supporter: “Potential presidential candidates for 2008, such as Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling down to express their support for Israel. The only exception to this rule was Senator Chuck Hagel.
In July 2006, Hegel called on President Bush to demand an immediate ceasefire when Israel retaliated against Hezbollah after a terrorist group attacked Israel, killing and kidnapping IDF soldiers and firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Hegel said: “This madness must stop” and accused Israel of “systematically destroying an American friend, the country and people of Lebanon.
In various speeches that same month, Hegel accused Israel of carrying out a “heinous massacre” in Lebanon. In the same remarks, Hegel said that U.S. relations with Israel “are not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relations. It is an irresponsible and dangerous false choice.
In July 2006, Hegel called on the Bush administration to adopt the 2002 Beirut Declaration, also known as the Saudi Peace Initiative, stating that it was a “starting point” that the United States had “squandered. It called on Israel to retreat from the Golan Heights, the West Bank and much of Jerusalem, including the Jewish quarter of the Old City and the West Wall, as a precondition for peace.
In August 2006, Hegel was just one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter asking the EU to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
In January 2007, Hegel declared that the Palestinians had been “chained up for many, many years. “But when people have no hope, when there is despair, little matters. And it is not that terrorists do not like freedom. Tell this to the Palestinian people who have been chained up for many, many years.
In March 2007, the National Jewish Democratic Council stated that Hegel “has many questions about his commitment to Israel.
In March 2007, according to one of his lecturers at Rutgers University, Hegel said that “the State Department has become an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister.
In September 2007, Hegel voted against the designation of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
In 2008, in an interview with author Aaron David Miller, Hegel said: “The political reality is that … the Jewish lobby scares many people up here. He continued by describing his reaction to a meeting in New York with Israeli supporters, where he told the audience: “Let me clarify something here if you have any doubts. I am a senator in the United States. I am not an Israeli senator. I am a senator of the United States. I support Israel. But my first interest is that I am sworn in to the Constitution of the United States. Not to the president, not to the party, not to Israel.
In March 2009, Hegel signed a public letter calling on President Obama to open direct talks with Hamas.
In October 2009, Hegel was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Palestinian human rights group “J Street”. He said the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central, not peripheral to U.S. vital security interests in combating terrorism, preventing the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, stability in the Middle East and the United States, and global energy security. He reaffirmed support for the so-called “Saudi Peace Initiative,” which would require, in Hegel’s words, “Israel’s withdrawal from all lands occupied since 1967 [including the Golan Heights, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, as well as the entire West Bank], a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees [a code of flooding Israel with descendants of Arab refugees in 1948-49], and acceptance of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He also stated:
“I believe that there is a real possibility to change the strategic thinking and policy of Syria… Syria wants to talk – at the highest level – and everything is on the table”.
In April 2010, according to a participant in a conversation at Rutgers University, Hegel said that Israel “risks becoming an apartheid state” and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “is too radical.
In September 2010, former AIPAC executive director Morris Amitai said of Hagel: “I will consider him the bottom of the class until Israel leaves.