Is Rahm Emanuel anti-Israeli? Netanyahu might be thinking so

Posted: July 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, the US and us | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

cross-posted with FPW.

On Friday, Maariv published a quote from a source close to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming that Netanyahu is convinced that the person responsible for some of his troubles with the new American administration is none other than the White House Chief of Stuff, Rahm Emanuel. Netanyahu, said the source, is convinced that Emanuel is “polluting the atmosphere” against him. A very undiplomatic phrase indeed.

The obvious irony is that the appointment of Emanuel, a son of an Israeli and a known supporter of Israel, was praised by Jewish organizations and Israeli officials alike, while some Arab commentators considered it as a bad sign for the future. It is also hard to forget the ugly remark by Rahm’s father, Benjamin Emanuel, regarding the role his son would play in the WH. “[Rahm will] obviously influence the president to be pro-Israel,” the father reportedly said, “Why shouldn’t he? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to be mopping floors at the White House.”

All things considered, I think that Rahm Emanuel is pro-Israeli, but he is also pro-American and Pro-Obama, and therefore reflects the new administration’s policies. There is something childish about Netanyahu’s attitude to the whole matter. It seems that more than anything else, the PM, and other politicians and pundits here in Israel with him, are not just concerned by the tension with Washington, they are offended. It is actually hard for them to accept that what they perceive as “a cold shoulder” from our supposed-to-be-friends in Washington is not a personal insult, but rather an understandable change of policy, based on a different evaluation of the current situation than that of the previous administration.


Posted: November 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: the US and us | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Benjamin Emanuel, father of Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has told Maariv last week that in his new job his son will “obviously influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why shouldn’t he? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to be mopping floors at the White House.”

I don’t think Benjamin Emanuel intended to insult anyone, and of course he didn’t want to hurt or embarrass his son. The problem is that in Israel today such racist remarks are so common, that nobody gives them a second thought. I think, that all Emanuel wanted to say was that his son will be a strong supporter of Israel in the White House, and that happened to be the way things came out of his mouth. And that, is the real problem.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Rahm Emanuel apologized on behalf of his dad. Most of the readers who commented on the JP web site said he shouldn’t have.