The White House has contacted key Jewish leaders tonight to inform them that they will be nominating Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, a source with close ties to the Jewish community tells The Right Scoop. According to this source, the Jewish community sees this as “a slap in the face”.
We’ll keep you posted as more develops.
UPDATE 2: Gestetner Updates also confirms this report.
UPDATE: Here’s some background on Hagel from Times of Israel:
Some critics of Hagel point at what they regard as a questionable policy in respect to Israel. He criticized the Bush administration in 2002 for refusing to meet with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and rebuked Israel for not engaging in negotiations with an Arafat-led Palestinian Authority.
“Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace,” he wrote in the Washington Post at the time. “This does not mean giving up or limiting its right to self-defense against terrorism. But Palestinian reformers cannot promote a democratic agenda for change while both the Israeli military occupation and settlement activity continue.”
During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hagel broke party ranks by calling for an immediate unilateral ceasefire by both Israel and Hezbollah.
“The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now,” the then-senator from Nebraska said. “President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop.”
Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, was also an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Iraq, and rebuked his party’s approval for deploying more troops later in the war.
“There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there,” he wrote in the Washington Post in 2006. “The time for more US troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq.”