Understanding Rahm


Earlier this month Israeli media reported that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had essentialy warned AIPAC donors that efforts to stop Iran depeneded on peace talks with the Palestinians. But, soon after, The Jerusalem Post clarified the situation, suggesting that the message was an analysis of the gepolitical realities rather than a threat:

The task of forming an international coalition to thwart Iran’s nuclear program will be made easier if progress is made in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has said, according to sources in Washington.

Still, some are still criticizing Emanuel.

In a column in The New York Post, Alan Dershowitz wrote:

Rahm Emanuel is a good man and a good friend of Israel, but in a highly publicized recent statement he linked American efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons to Israeli efforts toward establishing a Palestinian state. This is dangerous.

Isi Leibler also weighed in, in a column that appeared in The Jerusalem Post:

Jewish leaders are loath to openly express their concerns. But off record, many despairingly predict a Jewish head-on clash over Israel with the most popular US president since Franklin Roosevelt. Their concerns are exacerbated by the behavior of key Jewish officials in the administration who privately proclaim that they would not flinch from a major confrontation with the Jewish state and predict that most American Jews continue to venerate Obama and will support him.

AIPAC leaders were bluntly told by Jewish White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that failure to advance with the Palestinians would impact on progress with the Iranians.

Over at The Atlantic’s Web site, however, Jeffrey Goldberg defended Barack Obama’s Jewish muscle, with a post titled, "What Rahm Emanuel Really Said at AIPAC":

I have it on good authority that Rahm told the audience that Obama believes that it will be easier to enlist Arab allies in the confrontation with Iran if visible progress is made on the Palestinian front. This is inescapably true. But he did not suggest a quid pro quo. That would be blackmail, and in any case, a quid pro quo would suggest that Obama believes that Iran’s nuclear program constitutes a threat only to Israel. And he’s never said anything to suggest that he believes this to be so. He’s certainly heard from America’s Arab allies — most notably King Abdullah of Jordan, who in his visit here let Obama know exactly what he thought of Iran — that they too consider Iran a dire threat to their security.

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