‘The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”
Those were the words of U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, as quoted by Middle East expert Aaron David Miller in a 2008 book.
“Up here” was Capitol Hill, of course. Five years later, Chuck Hagel has returned to the Senate, this time as Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. At a confirmation hearing on Thursday, Hagel was asked about his dark reference to the “Jewish lobby.” Hagel said he regretted the phrase, and then added — just to remove any lingering doubts — “I think it’s the only time on the record I’ve ever said that.”