Why Hagel did not make it a century, and his gay thang, and his Haifa thang

We reported out the Chuck Hagel back and forth the other day and included the reason the American Jewish Committee was not ready to endorse him: He failed in 1999 to join 99 of his colleagues in signing a letter to then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin calling on him to quash rising anti-Semitism in his country.

The Daily Beast’s Ali Gharib has the context, and part of it comes from .. a JTA story.

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Hagel didn’t like senators ursurping the executive and writing to foreign leaders:

Jewish activists, including Nebraska rabbis, and senators are still working to convince Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to sign the letter.

But a spokesperson for Hagel, citing the senator’s policy not to send letters to foreign heads of state regarding their domestic policy, said he would not sign the letter.

"Anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form should not be tolerated," said Deb Fiddelke, stressing that Hagel’s decision has nothing to do with the letter’s content.

The other part of the context — Hagel did sign a letter three years letter, urging action on anti-Semitism in Europe and the Arab world. The addressee: His own president, George W. Bush.

Hagel has new trouble — in 1998 he opposed President Clinton’s nominee to be ambassador to Luxembourg, James Hormel, because he was "aggressively gay." 

At Mediaite, Noah Rothman wonders what "aggressively gay" even means, and I wonder — were the Luxembourgeois even offended? I mean, this is a country that calls itself a "Grand Duchy." How aggressively gay is that? 

Finally, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs unearths evidence that back in the 1980s, Hagel, as USO chief, wanted to shut down the USO club in Haifa.

I witnessed back in the 1980s Sixth Fleet behavior in Haifa. Hagel’s problem might have been that it was, um, aggressively straight.

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