Former Sen. Chuck Hagel declined to sign a letter circulated by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in 2007 calling upon then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to press Arab allies of the U.S. to recognize Israel’s right to exist “and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions.”
Seventy-nine Senators eventually signed the letter, which was sponsored by Schumer and by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
The Schumer-Graham letter “concerning the Responsibilities of Friendly Arab States” has not, apparently, been cited yet in the debate over Hagel’s potential confirmation as Secretary of Defense. The letter also calls upon Arab allies to “take meaningful steps” to assist the Palestinian Authority, to stop supporting terror groups, to end the Arab states’ boycott of Israel, and to push Hamas to recognize Israel and past peace agreements.
The most charitable explanation for Hagel’s refusal to sign might be that the letter differs from the terms of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which Hagel has praised, and which offered Israel recognition in exchange for full withdrawal to its 1967 borders.