Dershowitz: Hagel appointment sends mixed signals, is green light to Iran


Renowned jurist Professor Alan Dershowitz says the Iranians are celebrating this appointment in Tehran but says appointment won’t affect U.S. Defense Dept policies regarding Israel’s security.

By Yoni Hirsch and Israel Hayom Staff



Regarding President Barack Obama’s nomination of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary, renowned jurist Professor Alan Dershowitz said, “I think it’s a mistake.”

Professor Alan Dershowitz: Obama is making a mistake with Hagel appointment. – Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

Dershowitz conducted an interview with The Algemeiner, a new English-language incarnation of an old Yiddish newspaper, and wrote an opinion piece for the paper.

“I think it makes it more likely that Iran will persist in its efforts to develop nuclear weapons,” Dershowitz said of the Hagel nomination. “This will send a message to the Iranian mullahs of softness, to nominate a man who is opposed to sanctions and who is opposed to the military option.”

Dershowitz said that Hagel may atone for his past statements in Senate hearings, but he believes that Hagel is unwavering in his approach, because “you know, people don’t usually change.”

“It is less important what he [Hagel] really thinks, it is what the Iranians think he thinks. The Iranians are celebrating this appointment in Tehran. This was a great appointment for Tehran. Its a green light, or at least a yellow light, for them to pursue their nuclear program.”

The Algemeiner interviewer also asked Dershowitz if he was personally insulted by the appointment, considering the high level of support he expressed for Obama. “There is nothing personal involved,” he said, “I have always said in the beginning that I don’t expect to agree with all of the decisions of all of the people I support, and the president knows I disagree with him on this one.”

Continuing with this line of thinking, Dershowitz said the Hagel appointment “conveys to the Iranians the president’s state of mind and they will misunderstand it. They will misunderstand this as believing the president does not want to keep the military option on the table, so the nomination itself will set back the cause of peace, even if [Hagel] is ultimately not confirmed.”

With respect to Israel, however, Dershowitz does not believe the Hagel appointment is an issue.

“I don’t think President Obama will allow the Defense Department to make policy with regard to support for Israel’s security,” Dershowitz said.

View original Israel Hayom publication at: