10 thoughts on “Crazy Quilt American-Jewish Attitudes Toward Israel: Emanuel Family, Case in Point – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. “murdered in an altercation”

    I think somewhere I saw the phrase “killed in an altercation” used. I might be wrong. It would
    mean a lot more to me if I knew what happened.
    Was it during a bank robbery? Were the “arabs” Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians? Were they muslim, Christian, Druze? Were they prosecuted?

  2. It’s interesting to see how negative the Israeli press is about Obama’s election and his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as CoS–which point up the very real and probably growing distinction between the views of American Jews, 80% of whom supported Obama, and American born Israelis, who reportedly backed McCain 3 to 1 over Obama. According to an article in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz :–
    In the tense talks with the Palestinians at Wye Plantation in 1998, the Israeli team headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was especially wary of one of President Bill Clinton’s aides – Rahm Emanuel. His fluent Hebrew, his instinctive grasp of the “Israeli” mind set and above all his complete loyalty to his boss made the Israelis afraid to talk near him.

    Ten years later, Israel’s next prime minister will meet Emanuel in a loftier post, as Obama’s chief of staff.

    “He has a kind of directness and coarseness that is very familiar to Israelis,” a veteran Israeli diplomat told Haaretz yesterday. “But it doesn’t necessarily bring him closer to us. One thing is certain – Israelis will not be able to pull the wool over his eyes.”


    IMHO this is much more interesting and relevant than the “proud papa” prattle.

    Furthermore, consider this: having strategically placed the AIPAC-involved Emanuel in a position where no one can accuse Obama of being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, Obama is in a much better position to appoint either (or both) of two anti-war Republicans, who are widely perceived to be less than uncrictically sympathetic to Israeli policies and their justifications–Richard Lugar and/or Chuck Hagel–to cabinet positions (State or Defense). While both are conservatives with regard to domestic social issues such as abortion (I’m not sure I would have wanted either as president), both are very smart , well-informed critics of the Iraq war. and how it has been conducted who would be preeminently qualified to serve in either of these two cabinet posts. They may have been the Republicans to whom Obama was referring when discussing his plan to have a bipartisan administration. Without the prequel of Emanuel’s designation as a prequel, the loudmouths at the Israel lobby would have gone ballistic, screeching that Obama is anti-Semitic and/or anti-Israel. CoS Emanuel is the perfect guy to to turn down their volume, if not shut them up.

  3. I just looked at Ali Abunimah’s blog entry and there’s a lot more to his concerns than just the fact that Rahm Emanuel’s father was a member of Irgun and says racist things about Arabs. Much of it was about what Rahm himself has said and done–for instance, his criticism of Bush for being too critical of Israel or his defense of Israel’s bombing of Lebanon (which Obama also supported). If you’ve read the Human Rights Watch reports on the bombing of Lebanon you’ll know how brutal the Israelis were. But Obama pretends that the civilian deaths were because Hezbollah was using civilians as shields, which HRW discredited. (To be fair, Hezbollah was also firing indiscriminately at Israeli towns, but then, nobody in the US pretends otherwise.) And presumably Rahm says the same as Obama–it’s the standard story in US political circles. It’s nice that Obama and Emanuel call for a two state solution, but that’s standard US policy now and means very little unless there’s a willingness to be fair to both sides.

    Everything Obama has said and done since he’s been a senator and during this campaign suggests he is not inclined to be fairminded towards Arabs. I’d like to be wrong, but there’s no evidence for optimism.

  4. To add to my previous post, so far as I can tell the reason progressives like you and MJ Rosenberg think Obama is going to be fair to the Palestinians is because you know he is intelligent and had an (agnostic) Muslim father and fascinating mixture of cultures in his life story and so he must be in favor of an agreement that is fair to both sides.
    But the problem is that Obama has acted like nearly every American politician on this issue. It’s now standard in US political circles to say one favors a two state solution, but to put 90 percent of the blame on Palestinian leaders and 10 percent (if that) on Israelis. Obama has followed that line of thinking and he never openly criticizes brutal Israeli behavior the way he has Arab terrorism. It’s a leap of faith to assume that once he is in office he will drastically change his behavior.

    Clinton made considerable efforts to reach a solution, but when the going got tough, he did the politically expedient thing and put all the blame on Arafat. (Not that Arafat didn’t deserve much of it, but certainly not all.) So maybe Obama will make efforts, but at the first sign of trouble he’s likely to follow in Clinton’s footsteps and blame the Palestinians, as he has in his campaign. November 2012 is only four years away.


    My friend Rupa Shah sent me this piece from Wayne Madsen’s website (for subscribers only): Madsen says that Obama may face a security issue with Emanuel since “informed U.S. intelligence sources [say] that prospective Barack Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has an active FBI counter-intelligence file maintained on him… Questions about Emanuel’s links to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, were allegedly so great that President Bill Clinton was forced to dismiss Emanuel from the White House staff in 1998.”

    SOURCE- http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2008/11/my-friend-rupa-shah-sent-me-this-piece-from-wayne-madsens-website-for-subscribers-only.html

  6. @Donald:

    Everything Obama has said and done since he’s been a senator and during this campaign suggests he is not inclined to be fairminded towards Arabs. I’d like to be wrong…

    You are. Obama was more even-handed in this regard than any Democratic presidential candidate in a long time. He wasn’t perfect by any means & I criticized him when he wasn’t. But he was a damn sight better than McCain & yr avg. Democratic presidential candidate.

  7. @John Dickerson: This is all entirely speculative w. no proof presented & not even a source provided. Anyone can say anything when you write like that. No credible journalist has written anything of this sort. So I’ll wait to see if this gets picked up by anyone before I say it’s credible.

    Rupa sent me the same story & I noted that a phrase in Madsen’s report referred to the “CIA’s Houston station chief.” Say what? Sorry, but I don’t buy a story that claims the CIA has a station chief in a U.S. city.

  8. “Obama was more even-handed in this regard than any Democratic presidential candidate in a long time.”

    That’s a very low bar. I don’t have the time to look it up right now, but Obama said something sympathetic about Palestinian suffering in Iowa, and when challenged on it, elaborated by blaming the Palestinian leadership. A couple of days ago I found a CNN (or ABC? I forget) story on what Obama said to some Jewish voters in Florida last spring and he pandered so hard in backing away from Rashid Khalidi that he indirectly compared Khalidi to some “anti-black” congresspeople that he’s friendly with, his point being that he’s friends with all sorts, anti-black congresspeople and people like Khalidi. Not exactly one of his stellar moments.

    We’ll find out if I’m wrong over the next several years. Hopefully I am.

  9. It was an ABC story–


    Anyway, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Obama is a politician, maybe better than average, but he obviously has calculated that he gets more support by uncritically echoing what rightwing Israel supporters want him to say. It might help him change if he received as much criticism on the left for saying these kinds of things as he’ll get on the right if he becomes evenhanded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link