AIPAC Delegates, Mindful of 'Baggage' and Obama's Prerogative, Cautious About Hagel

“He wouldn’t have been my pick but the president gets to choose,” said Joy Erickson of Park City, Utah. “He has some baggage and said some things that were questionable. But obviously I hope he’ll do a good job.”

Ezriel Cervik, of Michigan, offered a similar analysis.

“I don’t particularly think he’s the right man for the job, but we must now move forward and work together to maintain stability in the region,” Cervik said.

Rabbi Samuel Kieffer, of Penn Valley, Pa., listed himself with those who “share some of the doubts expressed about him based on his track record and some of his statements – his reputation or alleged statements that he’s not supportive of Israel.”

“But he was chosen by the president and I’m willing to give him a chance,” Kieffer said. “That said, I have concerns about the present administration.”

Michael Mayer, of Livingston, N.J., was more than concerned with the administration – he openly opposes the Hagel selection.

“It sends a terrible signal to Iran, having an Iran appeaser as secretary of Defense,” Mayer said. “The appointment speaks to Barak Obama more than Hagel. The appeasement game is the order of the day. It sends a message to Israel to be careful.”

But Lucy Friedman, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., took the opposite view, citing Hagel’s experience as an enlisted man during the Vietnam War – and the injuries that earned him a Purple Heart – as sufficient reason to support Hagel’s choice.

“I’m not at all bothered by it,” she said. “Someone who has served our country in war, has been decorated, saw action, took shrapnel, he has proven himself above and beyond. Who am I to question such a man? The others, who are they to question such a man?”