Hagel says he has 'unequivocal' support for Israel

Chuck Hagel hits out at critics saying his record shows he supports Israel (Photo: AP)

Chuck Hagel hits out at critics saying his record shows he supports Israel (Photo: AP)

Chuck Hagel, who was nominated as US Defence Secretary on Monday, has hit back at critics saying there is “not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli”.

In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star of his home state, Nebraska, he said that his critics have “completely distorted” his record, which in fact, shows “unequivocal, total support for Israel".

The Republican, who was nominated by President Barack Obama, has been roundly criticised for his comment in a 2008 interview that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington.

He has also been criticised for failing to back unilateral sanctions on Iran when he represented Nebraska in the US Senate between 1996 and 2008.

"I have not supported unilateral sanctions because when it is us alone they don't work and they just isolate the United States," he said. "United Nations sanctions are working. When we just decree something, that doesn't work," Mr Hagel said.

Last updated: 11:20am, January 8 2013