Pro-Israel group buys Chuck Hagel domain, urges opposition to confirmation

The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), a pro-Israel group, has purchased www.ChuckHagel.com to warn against President Obama's nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) for Defense secretary.

Obama announced Hagel's nomination at a 1 p.m. press conference at the White House, and the selection is already facing criticism from some GOP lawmakers, who have raised questions about whether their former colleague would be a strong ally of Israel. 

Some conservatives have seized on remarks Hagel made in the past about the “Jewish lobby” intimidating Congress, and he has been criticized for past comments calling for the U.S. to engage diplomatically with Hamas and Iran.

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The ECI is using the Hagel domain to urge supporters to lobby their Senators to block the confirmation, calling Hagel "too extreme to be Secretary of Defense."

In the "On the Issues" portion of the website, the ECI rips Hagel for his views on Iran, Israel, Syria and terrorism.

"Chuck Hagel has sought to distance the United States from Israel, blame Israel for Palestinian terror, pressure Israel to surrender territory and retreat to indefensible borders, and has consistently attempted to increase pressure on Israel and reduce it on Israel's foes," the site reads.

The ECI also pulled together criticism of Hagel from the left and the right, including a statement from former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) made last week.

“Then-Senator Hagel's aggressively bigoted opposition to President Clinton's naming the first openly gay Ambassador in U.S. history was not, as Sen. Hagel now claims, an aberration,” Frank said in a statement.

In 1998, Hagel described openly gay ambassadorial nominee James Hormel as “aggressively gay” while explaining his opposition to Hormel's confirmation.

Hagel apologized earlier this month, and on Monday, Frank reversed his opposition to the nomination, saying he hopes Hagel "gets confirmed."

A report in The Wall Street Journal on Monday said the White House would push back against the criticism, touting Hagel’s record as a decorated former service member and highlighting the fact that he would be the first enlisted man to run the Pentagon.

Officials also say that Hagel’s views on Iran and Israel have been misrepresented. Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Hagel would be “completely in line with the president” on those issues, according to a report by The Associated Press.