Powered by WebAds

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The dual loyalty canard raises its ugly head

Laura Rozen reports on a dispute between Dennis Ross and someone who apparently works with George Mitchell about whether the US ought to consider what Prime Minister Netanyahu can and cannot do before making unreasonable demands on him (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Rozen cites comments by a "US official" (not Ross and apparently not the person who works with Mitchell either), who all but comes right and out and says that Dennis Ross is guilty of dual loyalty.
“He [Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu's coalition politics than to U.S. interests,” one U.S. official told POLITICO Saturday. “And he doesn't seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this Administration.”


Last week, during U.S.-Israeli negotiations during Netanyahu’s visit and subsequent internal U.S. government meetings, the first official said, Ross “was always saying about how far Bibi could go and not go. So by his logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi's coalition's red lines.”

When the U.S. and Israel are seen to publicly diverge on an issue such as East Jerusalem construction, the official characterized Ross's argument as: "the Arabs increase their demands ... therefore we must rush to close gaps ... no matter what the cost to our broader credibility.”

A second official confirmed the broad outlines of the current debate within the administration. Obviously at every stage of the process, the Obama Middle East team faces tactical decisions about what to push for, who to push, how hard to push, he described.

As to which argument best reflects the wishes of the President, the first official said, “As for POTUS, what happens in practice is that POTUS, rightly, gives broad direction. He doesn't, and shouldn't, get bogged down in minutiae. But Dennis uses the minutiae to blur the big picture … And no one asks the question: why, since his approach in the Oslo years was such an abysmal failure, is he back, peddling the same snake oil?”

Other contacts who have discussed recent U.S.-Israel tensions with Ross say he argues that all parties need to keep focus on the big picture, Iran, and the peace process as being part of a wider U.S. effort to bolster an international and regional alliance including Arab nations and Israel to pressure and isolate Iran. This is an argument that presumably has resonance with the Netanyahu government. But at the same time, Arab allies tell Washington that Israeli construction in East Jerusalem inflames their publics and breeds despair and makes it hard for them to work even indirectly and quietly with Israel on Iran. They push Washington to show it can manage Israel and to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace process going that would facilitate regional cooperation on Iran.
Rozen called out the accusation in those words.
What some saw as the suggestion of dual loyalties shows how heated the debate has become.
The NSC Chief of Staff issued an on-the-record denial:
NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough fiercely rejected any such suggestion. "The assertion is as false as it is offensive," McDonough said Sunday by email. "Whoever said it has no idea what they are talking about. Dennis Ross's many decades of service speak volumes about his commitment to this country and to our vital interests, and he is a critical part of the President's team."
Of course, you'll never hear Mitchell, who is half Lebanese, accused of dual loyalties. Only Jews face that accusation.

But Obama doesn't seem to care what Bibi can and cannot do. Although nothing is certain yet, there was talk on one of the afternoon news reports today about the coalition agreement being rewritten to allow Netanyahu to do something to accommodate Obama.

But all of this seems unlikely to happen until after the Passover holiday and I understand that Press Secretary Gibbs said as much on Friday. I'd say "maybe things are calming down," but we've been there twice before, haven't we? And Netanyahu is supposed to be coming to Washington again two weeks after the holiday for Obama's nuclear weapons conference. Another ambush coming?


At 11:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I would advise Netanyahu to stay away from Washington unless he's a masochist. One would think he learned his lesson.

What could go wrong indeed

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

America's Judenfrage begins.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger biorabbi said...

I asked Miss. Rozen to name names. Shouldn't the accused see the face of his accuser? As I told Leah, sometimes fresh air is the best antidote for foul odors.

Imagine if opponents, unspoken, could hurl racist insults at Obama, or anti-gay insults at the head of homeland security. I and most folks would abhor such talk. Why should anti-semites have the protection of remaining an off-the-record source? although I suspect the leaker was actually friendly to the Israeli position who leaked this information to Rozen so she probably wants to protect a source.

This reminds one of the infamous March 1968 events in Poland where assimilated Jews of "The Mosaic background" were investigated, had their motives impugned, their loyalties questioned, were cursed and ridiculed, and, finally, paid for the honor of a quick flight out of Warsaw.

On the Jewish side of my family, my grandfather, a rabbi from Muckasc, was fond of responding to anti-semites in stores, "open the window, let in some fresh air." Indeed. Sound advice for all bigots.

I think Dennis Ross may be naive and idealistic to the extreme, but to impugn his motives in this way is disgusting... as it was putting words into the mouths of our fine generals.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Considering this Administration is hell-bent on carrying for the PA, it strikes me as hilarious they're worried Dennis Ross' being Jewish would compromise his being able to screw over Israel. After all, Emanuel Rahm and David Axelrod seem to have no problem with doing just that and no one is using the "dual loyalty" canard against them.

The canard is raised against any Jew who is suspected of not being a good enough capo. So the only question left is if Ross survives the Administration's hazing, is if they trust him to follow orders. We'll see.


Post a Comment

<< Home