On Wednesday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Chuck Hagel, the former Republican Senator from Nebraska and President Obama’s nominee to become Secretary of Defense, about a comment he allegedly made in 2010 concerning “apartheid” and Israel. Graham cited a contemporaneous email sent by a student who attended a speech Hagel delivered in 2010 at Rutgers University. In the email, time stamped at 11:37 am on April 9, 2010, the student wrote:
“I am sitting in a lecture by Chuck Hagel at Rutgers. He basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that it was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state.”
Graham, a former Air Force JAG attorney known for his prosecutorial expertise, released a letter he sent to Hagel on Wednesday that bluntly asked: “Senator Hagel, did you say this? Have you said anything similar? Does this contemporaneous email accurately reflect your views?”
As of late Wednesday afternoon, Senator Hagel’s spokesman had not yet responded to Graham’s question.
Additionally, Senator Hagel has refused to allow access to archives. For instance, he has not yet signed off on a request made to Cameron University to release a video of a speech he delivered there in 2011. In addition, the Free Beacon reported on Wednesday that “[r]eporters also have been denied access to a large archive of Hagel-related material located at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.”
Public opposition to Senator Hagel’s nomination to become Secretary of Defense appears to be increasing. A poll released by the Pew Research Center on Wednesday showed that 28% of Americans now view Hagel unfavorably, while only 22% view him favorably.