Rahm and the Israelis


Very interesting Newsweek article on Rahm Emannuel’s role in Barack Obama’s push for Middle East peace:

Emanuel’s status as a near-native son gave some Israelis and Jews the impression he would be their guy on the Obama team—the pro-Israeli with the receptive ear. He had those golden Zionist credentials, after all: His father, Benjamin, had been a member of the Irgun, the right-wing Jewish militia that existed before Israeli independence. His Uncle Emanuel had been killed in a skirmish with Arabs back in the ’30s, prompting the family to change its name from Auerbach to honor him. But some in the Jewish community have been disappointed. Even his own rabbi, Asher Lopatin, has doubts about his absent congregant. “There is a lot of disappointment,” says Lopatin, who presides over the Modern Orthodox Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. “In some ways there was a heightened expectation because Rahm is so connected to Israel and the Jewish community. Instead what we’ve seen is more of the tough Rahm Emanuel. Not the warm Rahm.

There’s also this warning of dire political consequences:

All that will present political problems for Obama at home as well—with Emanuel playing his familiar role of fireman for his boss. Rep. Eric Cantor, the only Republican Jewish member of Congress, says the Obama administration is taking a position “that’s vastly different from the mainstream American Jewish community” in trying to engage with Iran. “The pro-Israel community has consistently been for keeping sanctions pressure on the terrorist regime in Iran … The administration has indicated in all ways I can tell that we ought not to be pursuing sanctions while talks go on.” (Administration officials deny they intend to let up on sanctions if talks go forward.)

I think the fact that Cantor is “the only Republican Jewish member of Congress” should tell you must of what you need to know about what mainstream American Jewish opinion is.