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Hagel and Brennan Nominations

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"I have said many times that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism," he stressed. "I have also questioned some very cavalier attitudes taken about very complicated issues in the Middle East."

Nonetheless, he favors "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran."

He called for direct Hamas/Hezbollah engagement. In 2008, he endorsed direct talks with Syria and North Korea.

There's "not one shred of evidence" that he's anti-Israeli, he said. "Israel is in a very, very difficult position. No border that touches Israel is always secure. We need to work to help protect Israel so it doesn't get isolated."

He calls "distortions about (his) record".astonishing." During Senate confirmation hearings, he welcomes "an opportunity to respond" to critics.

At the same time, Politico quoted him saying "I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for the Senate in Israel, I'll do that."

Politico added that:

"In 2006, (he) used the term 'Jewish Lobby,' " saying:

"The political reality is".that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don't think it's in the interest of Israel. I just don't think it's smart for Israel."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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