New audio: Hagel tells Arab audience U.S. must 'reverse optics' on Israel, 2007

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is not providing the Senate any more information about past speeches or funders. Luckily, a few of his former audiences are only too proud to share his remarks with the world.

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations recently published a recording of a speech Hagel gave to its conference in 2007. In addition to calling for unconditional talks with the Iranian regime, Hagel said that the U.S. had to “reverse optics” in its relationship with Israel in order to restore its credibility as an honest broker between Israelis and Palestinians, and to boost its diplomacy in the Middle East more generally.

Hagel also offered this puzzling historical observation: “There’s no question in the Arab-Israeli issue that Israel is a nation today as a result of the United States.” He could be referring to the decision by President Harry Truman to recognize the State of Israel. It’s not clear. But in context, the remark was intended to reinforce perceptions of Israel as a client state of the U.S., and urge more U.S. pressure on Israel as a rest.


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