The case for Bill Clinton as Mideast peace envoy

Writing on Open Zion, Israeli-American dove Bernard Avishai argues that President Obama should tap Bill Clinton as his Israeli-Palestinian peace envoy:

Clinton understands the details and the players. He naturally symbolizes the achievements of the Abbas-Olmert negotiations, which picked up where the Clinton parameters left off. He is extremely popular in Israel and (through Ehud Barak) very close to the Israeli defense community. He is insanely popular among American Jews.

Clinton also has enormous international prestige and his Global Initiative represents the kind of economic development and political creativity a two-state solution will need. Should Hillary run in 2016, what could be better for her than a peace deal in process? Bill Clinton now has Obama’s trust and everybody knows it. He is too big to fail.

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Avishai also agues that a public figure of Clinton’s stature could serve as a “lightening rod for all the hard feeling that will come out as the process evolves,” so that the president wouldn’t have to put his own prestige on the line or “get into the weeds.”

“Another George Mitchell will not do,” he writes.

While we’re nominating possible peace envoys — here’s another possibility: the soon-to-be-jobless Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

According to the L.A. Times, Berman is now one of several people being talked about as a possible next secretary of state. But if he doesn’t get end up with that gig, would he be considered for Mideast peace envoy? Of course, Berman doesn’t have anywhere near the same stature as former president Clinton. But Berman is highly regarded by members of both parties on Capitol Hill, has strong international connections as the former chairman and now ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has impeccable pro-Israel credentials and has kept lines of communication open with the Palestinians.

Just a thought…

Hat tip for the L.A. Times article: Gestetner Updates

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