web analytics
May 5, 2015 / 16 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Jews Mostly Comfortable With Obama’s Early Appointees


WASHINGTON – Barack Obama’s “team of rivals” is turning into a collection well known to the Jewish community, which should comfort those who expressed apprehension about the president-elect’s possible Cabinet choices.


  Obama is fulfilling pledges he made during a grueling election campaign by reaching out to notables in both parties with deep wells of experience.


  While Obama has yet to announce his foreign policy team formally – he publicized his economic team Monday – a welter of leaks has lined up U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as secretary of state and former NATO commander Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser.


  Some Jewish observers are uneasy over who might prevail in a rivalry between Clinton, who is seen as pro-Israel, and Jones, about whom some Jewish observers have expressed reservations.


  Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC foreign policy chief who now writes a blog hosted by the Middle East Forum, has raised concerns about Jones that have redounded in the conservative Jewish world through e-mails. Rosen’s piece on Jones was titled “Jones to be National Security Adviser; wrote harsh report on Israel.”


  Condoleezza Rice, the current secretary of state, added Jones last year to her team of generals monitoring the “road map” peace plan launched by President Bush in 2003. Jones reportedly wanted to publish a report that was harshly critical of Israel’s failure to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian security force and to allow more freedom of movement for the Palestinians.


  But the report, which was never published, also was tough on the Palestinian force, expressing doubts about its readiness to meet Israeli expectations that it would contain terrorism. And in public forums and as NATO’s commander in chief, Jones has been friendly to Israel and its regional security concerns.


  As for Clinton, her deep ties to the pro-Israel community date back to her days as the first lady of Arkansas, when she gained an admiration for the Jewish state after introducing Israeli early childhood programs in Arkansas.


  She endured some criticism from pro-Israel groups while her husband was president – for her infamous embrace of Yasser Arafat’s wife and for being a stalking horse for Palestinian statehood, floating the idea without President Clinton’s administration formally proposing it – but as a U.S. senator Clinton has been solidly pro-Israel, emphasizing the need for Palestinians to temper incitement against Israel as a precondition for peace.


  Her likely deputy will be James Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser under President Clinton. Deputy secretaries of state often serve as day-to-day point men in dealings with the Middle East, and Steinberg’s record is reassuring to the pro-Israel establishment. He has advocated an increased role for Arab states in helping to create conditions for a Palestinian state, long the position of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.


  Some in the pro-Israel community have expressed concerns about others who might make it into Obama’s inner circle, noting that after the election it emerged that Obama had been speaking frequently with Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush who supports making eastern Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state and advocates putting an international peacekeeping force in the West Bank.


  In the Washington Post of Nov. 21, Scowcroft, in op-ed article co-authored with Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser and a longtime critic of the pro-Israel lobby, argued in favor of those positions.


  But Steven Spiegel, a UCLA political scientist who advises the Israel Policy Forum, said the fact that Scowcroft and Brzezinski felt they needed to make their case in a newspaper rather than privately to Obama demonstrates that they don’t have the president-elect’s ear when it comes to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.


  “If Scowcroft was sure the president-elect was on his side, he wouldn’t be taking this public,” Spiegel said.


  Seymour Reich, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Obama’s deliberative style means that he’s unlikely to press Israel into an accelerated peace process, especially with Hamas terrorists still controlling the Gaza Strip and making a comprehensive deal unworkable.


  “He’s very pragmatic, during the campaign and in his appointments,” Reich said of Obama. “For those who want him from day one to put two feet in the peace process, it’s not going to happen. It’s going to be deliberate; nothing’s going to happen overnight.”


  Obama’s emphasis will be the economic crisis, Spiegel said. On foreign policy, he said, Obama is deliberatively choosing people who will have the independence to handle the international stage, but without drama: Clinton as diplomat, Jones as a tough-minded coordinator.


  “What these appointments suggest to me is that he’s got to solve his economic problems first and foremost,” Spiegel said.


  It was “ridiculous” to worry about Jones, he said, with a Cabinet that includes Clinton and a White House that has as senior advisers Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod – both of whom are deeply pro-Israel.


  Meanwhile, Obama’s domestic choices have been widely praised among Jewish groups.


  The United Jewish Communities federation umbrella organization has issued several news releases hailing Obama’s appointments, including the selection of former Sen. Tom Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as chief of Homeland Security.


  By contrast, over the past several years the UJC criticized the Bush administration for starving federal entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Obama also pledged during the campaign to move away from Democratic Party dogma when it comes to church-state issues, favoring, for instance, vouchers for families who send their children to private schools, including parochial schools.


  The Jewish community is divided on the voucher issue and is waiting to see what Obama’s education appointments augur.


  However, the Orthodox Union already has praised two appointments announced Monday to the White House’s Domestic Policy Council: The incoming director of the council, Melody Barnes, and her deputy, Heather Higginbottom, are both former Senate staffers who helped author legislation protecting religious rights in the work place and in federal institutions.                                          

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Jews Mostly Comfortable With Obama’s Early Appointees”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Aftermath of Texas attack by terrorists in attack now claimed by the Islamic State.
ISIS Claims ‘Credit’ for Attack at Mohammed Cartoon Contest
Latest News Stories

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought to court Tuesday morning a letter from former “peace process” broker Tony Blair in an effort to stay out of jail for his conviction of pocketing approximately $150,000 from Morris Talansky of New York. The prosecution asked the court to jail Olmert for more up to 18 months. The […]

Aftermath of Texas attack by terrorists in attack now claimed by the Islamic State.

“We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder.”

Screenshot from Hamas movie that was banned by the Islamic University of Gaza.

The Islamic University does not want to blow its cover and lose foreign aid.

Tools in Hebron weapons laboratory.

The war on terror is being carried out by Israel and not the Palestinian Authority.

Police have arrested a 16-year-old resident of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion Tuesday on suspicion of having vandalized Arab olive trees and throwing rocks at Arabs. The teenager, who learns in Yitzhar in Samaria, is scheduled to appear in court today.

Yehuda Glick finally can return to the holy site, but only once a month.

“It is indisputable that the dominant factor behind Aliyah to Israel from Western Europe is anti-Semitism.”

The test was planned, but the Defense Ministry is mum on details.

Netanyahu is short-changing Bayit Yehudi. But is Bayit Yehudi tough enough to take advantage of Liberman’s sudden exit?

NYPD Officer Brian Moore, 25, has died after being shot in the face Saturday by an ex-con in Queens.

Shas got a good deal. What Bayit Yehudi does with their offer remains to be seen.

The NGO Monitor reports foreign funders are making grants to leftist Israeli organizations contingent upon quotas for negative testimony by IDF soldiers.

British-flagged vessels are also now being escorted through the Strait of Hormuz by U.S. Navy warships following Iran’s capture of a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.

The attack happened at the northern end of the Begin highway.

Will the UN rush to investigate an attack leaving two UN peacekeepers wounded in the Golan Heights, as it did when a UNIFIL soldier was shot in January?

Avigdor Liberman, unhappy with the coalition talks dropped a political bombshell today.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton. (archive)

Clinton derided perceptions that U.S.-Israel tensions had become tense under Obama.

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jews-mostly-comfortable-with-obamas-early-appointees/2008/11/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: