We are having a hard time understanding how President Joe Biden came to choose Karine Jean-Pierre as his new press secretary, succeeding Jen Psaki. Until now, Ms. Jean-Pierre served as the principal deputy press secretary, it is true; and she started in the Biden administration as a senior adviser to Vice-President Kamala Harris. She also certainly has the attributes the President seems to give great weight to these days: she is black, and she is married to a woman.
Yet his choice of who will be his face to the world is, after all is said and done, surely counterintuitive for a president of the United States at this point in time.
This is a time of serious antisemitism. Attacks against Jews commonplace. A major airline just barred anyone who they could tell was Jewish from a connecting flight simply because one or two identifiable Jews had failed to wear masks on an earlier flight. The enormity of the Lufthansa episode is as breathtaking as it is ominous and provides critical context.
Yet Ms. Jean-Pierre is openly anti-Israel and has gone beyond merely expressing disagreement with its policies. In a now notorious 2019 op-ed in Newsweek magazine, she characterized AIPAC’s advocacy for the Jewish state as “severely racist,” among other things.
She also served for more than four years as the national spokesperson and senior adviser at the George Soros-funded MoveOn.Org, a major anti-Israel group that continues to support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and challenge anti-BDS laws.
For his part, President Biden said of the appointment that “Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people.”
We certainly recognize that Ms. Jean-Pierre will not be setting policy; but when all is said and done, reporters will likely pounce on anything she says from the podium that is even remotely favorable towards Israel. And why would the President want to publicly reward and express confidence in someone who has expressed such disdain for America’s closest ally in the world, as she has?