Phil Weiss brings word of a USA Today story which notes that Dennis Ross earned over $40o,000 last year in speaking fees, over half from Jewish organizations and $40,000 specifically at Aipac events. If you add to this his senior role at the Aipac-affiliated think tank, Washington Institute for Near East Peace; his chairmanship of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (affiliated with the Jewish Agency and, as such, as quasi-[Israeli] government project), and his new book, Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, co-written with David Makovsky, a former writer for the right-wing Jerusalem Post and senior WINEP operative, it all points to someone so entwined in the pro-Israel policy apparatus that his analyses must be suspected of partisan bias.
In fact, many analysts suspect the reason Ross was denied the envoy role eventually given to George Mitchell is that he was too palsy with the pro-Israel lobby. It’s no accident, for example, that JPPPI’s board features (former?) Mossad agent, Uzi Arad, currently Bibi Netanyahu’s national security advisor. Arad played an integral role in the Larry Franklin spying scandal and until recently was barred from U.S. entry as a known foreign agent.
Ross only earned $10,000 or so for his average speaking gig which is fairly modest considering his senior status. That would mean he gives an average of forty of these speeches a year. Meaning he spends a considerable amount of time and energy flacking around the country for a “liberal” pro-Israel policy perspective. Keep in mind that for every right-wing nutcase like Michael Ledeen, it’s tremendously useful for Israel to have a presentable liberal voice like Ross or Martin Indyk. That way they cover the waterfront.
Next time you see Ross’ name featured in a media story pontificating on the existential danger Iran poses to Israel, keep in mind on which side his bread is buttered.
gene schulman says
For those in the know and who follow things like this, it should come as no surprise that Ross has double loyalty to his employer and to Israel. This is one of the reasons that I early on decided that Obama, along with his many other appointments, is in the grip of the Israel lobby and that he will not bring an independent, unprejudiced view to US/Israeli policies. Don’t look for much progress in the “peace process” on Obama’s watch. And don’t forget, all options are still on the table re Iran!
Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the public at large, Richard. You’re providing a patriotic public service.
Appearances are always deceiving in politics. Its widely been observed that though Ross has envoy status, exactly what his responsibilities are aren’t crystal clear and he doesn’t report directly to Obama as the other envoys. Clearly, Ross and Obama have very different views as to what US policy should be in the Middle East, which maybe should prompt a more intelligent inquiry into why Ross is on the organizational tree. Its also not true that; “all options are still on the table re Iran!” What the president said: “I don’t take options off the table when it comes to U.S. security, period,” Obama, the statesmen, is very careful with his words. So long as Iran doesn’t threaten the US, the US will not threaten or attack Iran, regardless of how diplomacy fares between D.C. and Tehran.
Even after 4 years of Obama, and when events prove your prediction true, which they will – as “settlements” continue to grow and the land grab increases –
even then, the Obama-ists will find rationales for their hero.
It is extremely frustrating and discouraging when otherwise progressive, intelligent people are blinded by what they wish were so and confuse their desires with reality.
The first test will be over the settlements and the decisive moment is rushing fast upon us on that one. If Obama’s a joke and the proverbial flash in the pan than he will fail, look the fool, lose all international credibility, weakening and likely crippling his presidency and opening it to serious challenge within the party in 2012. Obama has advanced himself too far along on the I/P issue not to suffer fatal repercussions if he is not up to the task he has shouldered. I, however, believe otherwise, but as the the old saying goes the ‘proof in the pudding is in the eating.’
I don’t like the Washington Times, but if this is true, it is not good (with respect to how the Obama admin. may move forward with Israel and Iran):
The only comment worth attention or remark in that Israel first screed was:
“…”Obama has asked for no surprises. This will let the Obama administration have a better understanding of what Israel is thinking and what it is considering doing….”
Like all triumphal posturings after a war or some high priority event, the perceived advantages Likudniks and their allies are trumpeting will leak and bleed away and found an empty and hollow victory as all others since the first Lebanon war of 1982.
I thought you were pro Israel, Richard? Ross is pro Israel and you are pro Israel, putting you on the same side.
Ross also gave speeches at colleges for substantially less than the Aipac speeches, is it possible he is in the pocket of the College lobby?
Why don’t you trust your president? Obviously Obama feels Ross is an asset or he wouldn’t have given him the job.
I noticed it’s now the Larry Franklin spy scandal. Did you give up on the Aipac spy scandal?
Richard Silverstein says
He charged the Jews more money because he knew they had more money and because the events at which he spoke were probably fundraising events (earlier in my career I was a Jewish federation fundraiser), hence he felt justified in asking for more. He charged the colleges less money because they had less money budgeted for his fee & he specially wanted to speak before college students. Your attempts at wit are less than persuasive.
Dennis Ross is NOT my kind of Zionist. In case you didn’t realize this, there are many trends within Zionism. I’m a progressive Zionist, he’s an Aipac Zionist. That’s not the same thing.
Presidents appoint personnel for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes they appoint someone to a job because a powerful lobby urgently insists that they do. That’s why Ross is the Iran envoy. I don’t think anyone’s paying special attention to Ross despite his august title.
And its that lack of “attention” that informs me that Ross’s appointment by this administration is more in the spirit of keeping ones enemies close.
Though charges have been dropped against Rosen and Weissman, FBI surveillance and questioning of personages close to Israel have apparently not ceased or been disbanded. Despite cancellation of probes into Rep Jane Harman she was all the same required to attend a meeting with FBI investigators after the AIPAC charges were dropped.
Likundniks, Israeli firsters and those in their pay are obviously very welcome on Capital Hill where money from legitimate to devious concerns easily buys access. But there are other realms of the US government where the above are viewed with suspicion to downright hostility. Col Lang had this to say about DCI George Tenet before 9-11:
“….Sources indicate that based on multi-agency reports of Israeli espionage activities in the u.s. prior to 9/11, George Tenet as DCI ordered his senior staff to assemble for him a study of all the files available concerning the history of Israeli espionage activities in the US. The resulting study shocked him….”
The case of Marcus Klingberg
The US government is a massive, multi trillion dollar entity of which approximately half of that treasure is spent on the national security state. Speaker Pelosi, Harman and others on Capital Hill who have run into trouble with this new ‘establishment’ of power proves that Congress has lost all oversight and control over the monster they have created. We are no longer dealing with the Military Industrial Complex. That was a warning. Even George Bush during his last term had an uncertain and at times hostile relationship with generals, diplomats, spooks and career civil servants within this new entity in US government.
I am pleased to see that Obama is not making the same suicidal mistakes in dealing with the national security state that George did to his ruin. Its not Congress who has got George’s back. And it sure as hell isn’t the Democrat party. If that’s all he’s got to back him up he may as well scream; “its all over for the shout” while vigorously shoving a revolver in his mouth and unloading all 6 rounds.
In the last paragraph I meant to say “Its not Congress who has got Obama’s back.”