web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Obama’s Pick For Chief Of Staff: Committed Jew, Political Attack Dog


WASHINGTON – Political insight, killer in a fight, Yiddishkeit – it’s an inseparable package when it comes to Rahm Emanuel, say those who know President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be the next White House chief of staff.


  Emanuel, born to an Israeli doctor who married a local woman after he moved to Chicago in the mid-1950s, speaks Hebrew and fondly recalls summering each year in Israel as a child – including just after the 1967 Six-Day War. He attends Anshe Sholom, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago, and sends his children to Jewish day school.

 

  Since his days as a fund-raiser and then a “political adviser” – read: enforcer – for President Clinton, Emanuel has earned notoriety as a no-holds-barred politico. Accept the good with the bad because it’s of a piece, said Steve Rabinowitz, who worked with Emanuel in the Clinton White House.


  The apocrypha is legendary, if somewhat hard to pin down: Jabbing a knife into a table screaming “Dead!” as colleagues shout out the names of political enemies, sending a dead fish to a rival, screaming at friends and enemies alike for no good reason.


  Even his allies acknowledge that Emanuel, 48, can be on edge at times.


  “He’s not running for Miss Congeniality, ever,” said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has known Emanuel since they worked at Illinois Public Action, a public interest group, in the early 1980s.


  “He is relentless, he doesn’t give up, but in a strategic way. He’s good at figuring out other people’s self interest and negotiating in a way that comes out in his favor.”


  Emanuel, an Illinois congressman who boasts strong ties to his local Jewish community and the Jewish state, also can be seen as embodying Obama’s stated commitment to Israeli security and diplomacy: During the first Iraq war, Emanuel flew to Israel as a volunteer to help maintain military vehicles. Two years later he was an aide to Clinton, helping to push along the newly launched Oslo process.


  Within four months of joining the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003, Emanuel had an impressive command of the issues, said Michael Kotzin, the director of the Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council.


  “He gave a thorough and insightful analysis of issues on our agenda,” said Kotzin, adding that Emanuel was responsive to his Jewish constituents.


  Obama chose Emanuel to escort him to a closed-door meeting with leaders of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC in June, a day after the final Democratic primaries.


  One thing Emanuel is not, all agree, is the president-elect’s conciliatory signal to the Jewish community after a campaign fraught with worries that Obama would tip toward even-handedness in dealing with the Middle East.


  Emanuel was chosen strictly for his political skills and his closeness to Obama, said Rabinowitz, whose public relations firms does work with both Jewish groups and the Democratic Party and its affiliates. His closeness to the Jewish community “would be a tiny factor, if at all” in the hiring, Rabinowitz said.


  The Arab and pro-Arab media have made much of the fact that Emanuel’s father is Israeli, and Benjamin Emanuel didn’t improve matters in an interview with Maariv.


  “Obviously,” the senior Emanuel told the Israeli daily, “he’ll influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to be mopping floors at the White House.”


  By the time JTA reached the elder Emanuel, a physician, it was clear his son had asked him to keep away from reporters. Picking up the phone, he said, “This is Benjamin Emanuel, the plumber,” and asked a reporter to call back in a week, after he’d spoken in person to Rahm – “if I’m still alive then.”


  In truth, some observers say, Obama’s Jewish supporters and Emanuel’s Arab critics are oversimplifying by painting the new chief of staff as a guardian of Israeli interests.


  Emanuel will be a strong voice for Israeli security – but also one with the standing to cast a skeptical eye on some Israeli claims.


  The significance of Emanuel’s Jewishness is more how unremarkable it is that an unapologetic Jew should rise so far, said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.


  “He has never hesitated to wear it proudly on his sleeve,” Foxman said.


  During Emanuel’s freshman run for Congress in 2002, a backer of his Democratic primary opponent in the largely Polish district noted Emanuel’s service in Israel during the first Iraq war. Emanuel shrugged off the accusation as true – and won by a wide margin.


  His brother, Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, also has been unapologetic about his support for Jewish causes.


  He sparked headlines when he called on people in the movie industry to blackball Mel Gibson over “The Passion of the Christ.”


  In general, Emanuel is fiercely loyal to his family, and they were a consideration in his hesitation to take work he’s always dreamed of having – he waited two days to say yes. Obama, in his statement announcing the pick, recognized the pain it would cause Emanuel’s wife, Amy, and “their children, Zach, Ilana and Leah.”                                  

(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 “Obama’s Pick For Chief Of Staff: Committed Jew, Political Attack Dog”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Cinema City Iron Man Theater in Jerusalem. (illustrative)
US Govt IDs North Korea in Sony Cyber Terror Attack
Latest News Stories
New York police responded instantly to a call for help and saved countless lives at "770" Eastern Parkway.

A Chabad rabbinic student stabbed in “770″ has returned home from the hospital.

Arabs attacked an Israeli bus traveling between Arad and Be’er Sheva along Highway 31 Thursday evening.

The UN General Assembly approves resolution to refer N. Korea to the Intl Criminal Court at The Hague.

Hanukkah menorah lighting at 2014 terror attack site in Gush etzion.

Israeli soldiers stand guard near large public menorah near the site where Dalia Lemkus, 26, was stabbed to death at a bus stop near the entrance to Alon Shvut last month.

US teachers are learning “3-D printing” from the Dept. of Defense.

U.S. lawmakers were divided, but many upset, about Pres. Barack Obama’s secret talks that restored full relations with Cuba.

Harvard announced it will “look into” its boycott of SodaStream. But will it remove the boycott?

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warns he will not allow the UN Security Council resolution on behalf of the PA to endanger Israeli citizens.

Israeli soldiers holding (and eating) ‘sufganiyot’- doughnuts traditionally eaten on Hanukkah, as they pose for a pictures on the 2nd night of Hanukkah at a candle lighting ceremony held near the Gush Etzion junction. This particular lighting ceremony was held at a memorial spot in commemoration of the three Jewish teenagers who were kidnapped and […]

Excavations also turned up hidden tunnels dug by Jewish rebels in the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

Is Sydney also going to turn out the lights on Christmas trees?

25-year-old man threatened former Shas party head with violence.

Are machine gun shots all night long and the death from a “work accident” not enough evidence for the EU court?

“It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten.“

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Hillary Clinton

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/obamas-pick-for-chief-of-staff-committed-jew-political-attack-dog/2008/11/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: