Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rahm Still Barry's Go-To Jew

Realizing he's in trouble with Jews who support Israel, Obama has sicced his Court Jew (who's left the court, in body if not in spirit) Rahm Emmanuel on the problem. Delighted to oblige, Rahm has penned an, ahem, clarification (in the Washington Post) re his former boss's border blather, prompting Contentions' Alana Goodman to write this:
Emanuel, unsurprisingly, misses the major point here. The problem with Obama’s speech was that he called for the 1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations, without reaffirming that Israel would absorb the Israeli-majority settlement blocs across the green line. He also didn’t reject the Palestinian right of return. In other words, he implied that the U.S. would take the Palestinian negotiating position on the issue, putting our ally Israel at a significant disadvantage.
But it’s expected that Emanuel would misrepresent the heart of the problem. His job is to put out the political fires that his former boss started, not to speak honestly to Israel supporters. Emanuel was the administration official who was supposed to calm the concerns of the pro-Israel community after Obama’s election. It will be interesting to see if he still has the same power of persuasion now that he’s left the White House.
A pointless exercise, if you ask me. Those Jews who will vote for Obama will vote for him no matter what, and not because of anything Rahm might say. All the same, the fact that the White House feels the need to shore up the Jewish vote via Rahm and a new section on its website shows that it's worried.

Update: Barry Rubin's thoughts on the subject:
You know that President Barack Obama understands he’s got problems with Israel (and, more importantly for him, with its supporters in the United States) when he trots out Rahm Emanuel to write an op-ed in the Washington Post to defend the president’s alleged love for Israel.
Rahm Emanuel may have been born an Israeli citizen and had his son bar-mitzvahed in Jerusalem but to have Emanuel attest to Obama’s credentials on Israel is like having Mel Gibson as spokesman for Australia; or Arnold Schwarzenegger as Austria’s booster; or Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the poster boy for France’s tourism board (“Hi, I’m Dominique Strauss-Kahn, come to France and stay in our wonderful hotels!)
In other words, it is totally meaningless and even—for those who know something about the individuals involved—even counterproductive...
 Fingers crossed, anyway. ;)

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