The Washington Free Beacon reports that Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel said Israel is on its way to becoming an apartheid state at a speech at Rutgers in 2010. Interestingly it was also at Rutgers, in 2007, that Hagel reportedly called the State Department an adjunct of the Israeli foreign ministry -- comments he now disowns and claims no recollection of having made.
But here's the thing: It's interesting that different people keep on reporting having heard similar (anti-Israel) remarks from Hagel. It's a little bit like when Bill Clinton was running for President in 1992. All these reports of womanizing kept issuing forth, he kept not-remembering any of it, he was elected, and poof! America became (well) acquainted -- not just with Monica Lewinsky -- but also with Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and a host of others. Most of the time, when similar stories about a candidate/nominee's behavior surface repeatedly, there's a reason.
And then it's down to the solons of the Senate. Senators Ayotte, McCain and Graham (who have largely been the ones taking the lead on the Hagel issue) have repeated that the President is entitled to great deference in his choice of Cabinet secretaries. Indeed, he is. But the question here is whether Republicans can credibly claim to be pro-Israel when they rubber stamp a nominee who has repeatedly been heard to make anti-Israel comments of the most vituperative sort -- and whose grasp of America's defense policies was shown, at his confirmation hearings to be tenuous, at best.