(CNN) - Responding to criticism of his nomination as Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel said Monday that opponents have "completely distorted" his record in a way that's "astounding."
Now that he's been officially announced by the president, he said he has "an opportunity to set the record straight."
The former senator from Nebraska told the Lincoln Journal Star that there is "not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli, not one (Senate) vote that matters that hurt Israel."
President Barack Obama officially announced Hagel as his nominee for the post, despite vocal opposition from critics on both sides of the aisle who have taken issues with positions he's taken in the past about the gay community, Iran, Iraq and Israel.
Some in particular have focused on his opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran.
"I have not supported unilateral sanctions because when it is us alone, they don't work and they just isolate the United States," he said.
"United Nations sanctions are working," he continued. "When we just decree something, that doesn't work."
A number of GOP senators have committed to making sure Hagel goes through a thorough review during his confirmation hearings. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina described the president's choice in Hagel as an "in-your-face" pick.
"Hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation's history," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Hagel acknowledged Monday that he "fully recognize(s)" his fate is up to the Senate. "All I ask is a fair hearing, and I will get that. I am very much looking forward to having a full, open, transparent hearing about my qualifications and my record."
The former senator vowed to "always tell the truth" and said he has "great confidence in the president," whom he befriended in the Senate.
"I was not looking for another job," Hagel said. "But when the president asked me to consider this, of course, I said I would."
– CNN's Ashley Killough, Steve Brusk, Dan Merica and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.