Jeffrey Elikan [letters, March 1] dragged out yet again the tired accusation of anti-Semitism against Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

As an American Jew who has lived most of the past 40 years among Arabs and Muslims, I vehemently contest the characterization of Mr. Hagel as anti-Semitic. Anyone familiar with the events in the region the past several decades (especially since the 1967 war) can attest to the powerful influence of the right wing of the Israeli lobby, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Denying the influence of that lobby on U.S. policy does not diminish that reality, like it or not. Anyone who does not recognize that fact is living in a fantasy world.

Charles Kestenbaum, Vienna