The Corner

Report: In Undisclosed Speech, Hagel Said State Department Is Controlled by Israel

Chuck Hagel, whose nomination is currently being filibustered by Republicans, reportedly argued in a previously unknown speech that the U.S. State Department is controlled by the Israeli foreign ministry.

In documents he delivered to Senate investigators as a part of his confirmation process, Hagel was required to inform the Senate Armed Services Committee of any formal speech he had delivered since January 1, 2008. Though Fox News reported that Hagel failed to disclose two speeches, the remarks in question, which were delivered in March 2007, preceded that time period. 

Republican political consultant George Ajjan wrote about the 2007 speech — delivered at Rutgers University’s Center for Middle East Studies and cosponsored by the American Iranian Council — on his website the following day. Ajjan told the Washington Free Beacon that he was taking notes as Hagel was speaking. “If I wrote it, that’s what happened at the time,” he said.

Ajjan’s summary of Hagel remarks indicates that the former Nebraska senator argued:

The State Department has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office…

Wow. A very bold statement by Hagel bound to further raise the ire of the “Jewish Lobby” (yawn…), but it does express his strong belief in a comprehensive solution to problems in the Middle East. Hagel mentioned this theme several times – comprehensive, he said, in the sense that all tools should be used to achieve American foreign policy objectives (diplomatic, political, economic, and military), but also comprehensive in the James Baker sense of addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict holistically as both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have proved too lazy and too incompetent to do.

According to Ajjan’s account, Hagel also pushed for Iraqi stability talks that would be “attended by all the stakeholders,” with “Iran, Syria, and the US sitting around the same table.”

Ajjan, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2004, is a longtime Hagel supporter. 

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