Hagel regrets words on Jewish lobby

Chuck Hagel said again Thursday that he regrets saying that "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here" in an interview with Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller.

"I've already said I regret referencing the Jewish lobby," Hagel said. "I should have said pro-Israel lobby. I think it's the only time on the record I've ever said that."

He went on to say that he should have used the word "influence" rather than "intimidate -- I think would be more appropriate." And he said in the same interview that he shouldn't have referred to "the dumb things" that he believes some pro-Israel advocates do, nor should he have described a letter supporting Israeli policy as "stupid."

"I should not have said 'dumb' or 'stupid' because I understand, appreciate there are different views in these things," Hagel said.

In response to questions from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Hagel said he opposed unilateral sanctions in the past but now that multilateral sanctions are in place, "unilateral sanctions should be considered."

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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Rachel Weiner · January 31, 2013

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