Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are Obama supporters playing up Jewish religion of new White House chief to appease pro-Israel groups?

By Ali Abunimah

"Under attack from Republicans for supposedly not being pro-Israel enough, US President Barack Obama has been doing all he can to prove that he is indeed the most pro-Israel president in history. His surrogates have been boasting, for example, that on his watch, US military aid to Israel has reached unprecedented levels.”

And, the administration let it be known that it is about to undertake the largest joint US-Israeli military exercises ever involving deployment of thousands of US troops.

US President Barack Obama, facing a tough re-election fight, on Monday shook up the top ranks of his administration, replacing White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley with budget director Jack Lew.
Lew, an Orthodox Jew, is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level position and a post he also filled during the Clinton administration.

Fostering anti-Semitism?

But does Lew’s religion have anything to do with the appointment? In US discourse it is normally considered anti-Semitic to suggest that individuals are appointed to senior positions because they are Jewish, or represent the Jewish community.

Yet that is precisely what The Jerusalem Post appears to be doing:

Daley is leaving after just over a year on the job; he replaced Rahm Emanuel, who left the White House to run successfully for Chicago’s mayor.
Lew, like Emanuel, has close Jewish community ties.
There had been speculation in the organized Jewish community about whether Obama would fill a top spot with someone close to the Jewish community after the departure last month of Dennis Ross, who had been Obama’s top Iran policy adviser

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