Jewish groups were divided over President Obama’s pick of former Republican senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. In the past, Hagel was heavily criticized for comments he made about “Jewish lobby” in Washington and for positions he took on Iran. Several Jewish groups that had previously expressed reservations about Hagel said they would not oppose him. But the Republican Jewish Coalition called his selection a “slap in the face” for anyone concerned about Israel.
President Obama, meanwhile, nominated counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan to lead the CIA. Some ethicists have questioned Brennan’s support for the country’s controversial drone program, which Brennan defended in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center last May:
John Brennan: “Targeted strikes conform to the principal of humanity, which requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering. For all these reasons, I suggest to you that these targeted strikes against al-Qaida terrorists are indeed ethical and just.”
Also this week, Obama chose his chief of staff Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew, to head the Treasury Department.