Hagel’s Lost Speech

J St address shows desire to put pressure on Israel


Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel endorsed imposing a peace deal on the Israelis and Palestinians during a controversial 2009 speech to the liberal fringe group J Street, according to recently released video.

J Street had refused to release the video of Hagel’s speech but finally relented to public pressure late Tuesday.

The Washington Post provided a detailed roundup of Hagel’s most controversial foreign policy pronouncements, including the notion that the U.S. should force Israel to accept a peace deal outside of direct negotiations with the Palestinians:

The video reveals what the transcript does not: Hagel’s wholehearted embrace of the views and outlook of the far-left crowd that sees Israel as a problem (to be manhandled if need be) and our most dangerous foes as future pals merely awaiting our entreaties in order to have peace in our time. The danger is not only that Hagel’s views are so misguided and dangerous, but that he will make “progress” in moving U.S. policy where more controversial figures like [Zbigniew] Brzezinski could not. Later today I will look at the speech itself, which is replete with red flags.

Hagel also promoted the concept of “linkage,” the largely discredited notion that without peace between Israel and the Palestinians America will be unable to conclude a peace with Iraq and Afgahnistan:

Hagel: “I have never believed you go to war in Iraq, you go to war in Afghanistan, and believe that you can deal with those battlefields, those countries, in microcosms, or narrow channels. These are regional issues. There will not be any peace in the Middle East or in Afghanistan, central Asia, without Iran somewhere…”

[Steve] Clemons: “So Iran is connected to Afghanistan, and Afghanistan is connected to Israel and Palestine, and connected to Syria…”

Hagel: “It’s all connected.”

This has not only been proved false, but the Obama administration implicitly rejected that line of thinking by pursuing sanctions against Iran while the “peace process” collapsed entirely.