‘Dennis Ross more sensitive to Netanyahu than US interests’ (Surprised?)

My post last night on Dennis Ross was right on time. Laura Rozen at politico reports that Ross is at the center of a battle within the Obama administration about how nice to be to Israel. The piece includes a frank statement of confused 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.”

Let me repeat myself. This guy is the living embodiment of the Israel lobby. He was till recently chairman of the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, which opposes intermarriage, among other charming and important campaigns. Aaron David Miller said that the U.S. too often acted as "Israel’s lawyer" at Camp David; and that meant Ross. Dan Kurtzer’s book, Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace, said that the US team lacked diversity and cross-cultural expertise– again, ethnocentric Ross. Kurtzer and co-author Scott Lasensky write: "’The perception always was that Dennis [Ross] started from the Israeli bottom line,’ said a prominent Arab negotiator, ‘that he listened to what Israel wanted and then tried to sell it to the Arabs.’" No wonder Kurtzer lamented "the deference that some policymakers pay to Israeli domestic political concerns. Israel plays an outsized role in U.S. politics and diplomacy…"

The lobby; and Ross denied the existence of the lobby when it was under attack, because it was his own power base.

Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech last week was so shocking that it has rung in a new era for the lobby. Basically: the F.U. period, overplaying its hand in plain sight of the American people. The (in)ability of an American administration to free itself of Ross is a real test of the perseverance of the lobby in our politics.

More on Ross: this was in the original RSS feed on the Politico piece but is not in the published version:

Ross, the U.S. official continued, “starts from the premise that U.S. and Israeli interests overlap by something close to 100 percent. And if we diverge, then, he says, the Arabs increase their demands unreasonably. Since we can’t have demanding Arabs, therefore we must rush to close gaps with the Israelis, no matter what the cost to our broader credibility.”

This is the old neocon delusion, in order to support their loyalty to Israel’s interests: there is no difference between our interests and Israel’s. A preposterous assertion, for any two states.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israeli Government, US Politics

{ 69 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Mooser says:

    I wonder if Michelle Obama (a good balboosta if ever there was one) get’s tired of darning up the knife-holes in the back of Barack’s shirts?

  2. potsherd says:

    It’s clear that this is the time for those who want justice for Palestine to dig down and push hard.

    The recent votes on the UN Human Rights resolutions were obviously decided some time ago, before the beginning of the shift in policy towards Israel, if there is to be one. The fact is, that this is exactly the sort of thing the WH can do, Lobby or not Lobby, Congress or no Congress. What they need is the political will, and this requires evidence that the American people will support such moves showing independence of Israel.

    As they most certainly would.

    • potsherd says:

      Aha! link to news.bbc.co.uk

      The US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, the BBC has learned.

      The possibility surfaced at talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar’s foreign minister.

      The official said the US would “seriously consider abstaining” if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote, a diplomat told the BBC.

      I suspect that if the “self-determination” resolution had come up later, it, too, would have received a positive vote or at least abstention.

      • Shingo says:

        “I suspect that if the “self-determination” resolution had come up later, it, too, would have received a positive vote or at least abstention. “‘

        One can only wonder. I believe the past time the “self-determination” resolution came up (late 2008) , the US and Israel voted against it.

      • pabelmont says:

        It’s a little pre-mature to celebrate US’s failure to veto anything. But keep those emails going to President Obama and Congrees (just so they know). Use this (personalizing it for your state and Zip-5+4) (and you gotta register these days): CONTACT CONGRESS + PRESIDENT

    • RE: “It’s clear that this is the time for those who want justice for Palestine to dig down and push hard.” – potsherd

      FROM ‘JUST FOREIGN POLICY’: Protect Obama from AIPAC on Israeli Settlement Expansion
      AIPAC lobbyists are demanding that Congress pressure Obama back down from his opposition to Israeli settlement expansion. Urge your representatives in Congress to support President Obama’s opposition to Israeli settlement expansion.
      TO SEND E-MAILS – link to justforeignpolicy.org

  3. Mooser says:

    “He was till recently chairman of the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, which opposes intermarriage, among other charming and important campaigns.”

    Ross stabs Obama in the back, and Yonira stabs Ross in the back, right through the heart!
    But no doubt Yonira will explain why Ross is wrong about intermarriage, and right about everything else. Oh well, at least Mrs. Yonira will never lack for Zionist dishrags, she married one.

  4. dalybean says:

    It was Dennis Ross who proudly helped negotiate the disastrous partial settlement freeze. Lately, he has been angling for George Mitchell’s job. Is it any wonder? It seems a high-placed U.S. official (cough, George Mitchell, cough) leaked that the U.S. is seriously considering abstaining on a possible UN Security Council Resolution on East Jerusalem. link to news.bbc.co.uk

    Is it possible that Dennis Ross is becoming a security risk to the United States?

      • Tuyzentfloot says:

        At least everyone agrees about this quote then (opportunistically truncated to better fit my purpose) Dennis Ross’s many decades of service speak volumes about his commitment to this country and to our vital interests

    • dalybean says:

      Laura Rozen tarted up her post at Politico to implicitly accuse George Mitchell and his people of launching a dual loyalty charge at Dennis Ross. Trust me, this is Dennis Ross trying to use Laura Rozen to get rid of George Mitchell.

      Last week, Laura and Dennis tried this line: The whole problem is that Bibi doesn’t have a good line into the Administration to work out problems. Wouldn’t we solve the problem by replacing George Mitchell with Dennis Ross?

      • Tuyzentfloot says:

        I’m not very trusting, but you’re taking an interesting angle.

        • dalybean says:

          Laura’s post from 3/18 suggesting George Mitchell be replaced with Dennis Ross so that Netanyahu has a back door entree to the President is here:

          link to politico.com

        • annie says:

          my guess is obama is unimpresed w/ross and no amount of fanageling by anyone will change that.

        • dalybean says:

          Ross already hied himself over from the State Department to the NSC when it became apparent that we would be running Iran policy from the NSC. Now he wants Mitchell’s job so he is planting more things about Mitchell in the press. He should be fired for this.

        • Oscar says:

          dalybean, can’t agree with you that Rozen is a stooge for Ross’ hamhanded powerplay. From the article you cited, she shoots down the idea that Obama needs to appease Netanyahu by appointing someone Jewish to Mitchell’s post:

          But my sense is that doing anything but backing Mitchell’s efforts more strongly would be contrary to Obama’s instincts, now more than ever. If Netanyahu wants a better channel to the White House, it would seem he would do well to bring in someone on his end.

          Ross is an Israel-first, racist traitor at a high-level in the Obama administration. He’s intellectually dishonest, manipulative and should have been fired entirely for publishing the neo-con book with Makovsky. But if you have to have a token AIPAC-WINEP-JPPPI Zio-bot who would never allow his daughter to marry a goyim, well, you’ve got to contain him at the highest levels.

          I’m beginning to believe this is not a make-believe foodfight, but a genuine diplomatic split, now that Obama is empowered by his victory with the health care legislation.

  5. and the congresscritters — need to plink ‘em off, one at a time, or teach them ‘the error of their ways’ if they wish to earn election as representatives of the American people.

    my first plink: Joe Sestak. He was making the rounds in Pennsylvania, to gain votes against Arlen Specter. Foreign policy did not come up in the town hall I attended, so I raised the issue:
    sez me: “I think it would be in the best interests of the US to attempt rapprochement with Iran.”
    Sestak: “uhhhh ….”

    whereupon Sestak’s young aide pointed to his watch and signaled to Sestak that it was time to leave.

    Desperate, I threw a hail mary: “Israel stands in the was of US relations with Iran. Israel acts against US interests.”

    Sestak: “I love Israel.”


    so here’s my response to the dozens of email messages I received from Joe Sestak and Rich Sestak, his campaign director:

    “I’m an American. I love the United States. I will vote for the person who puts American interests above the interests of any other foreign nation.”

    • Pamela Olson says:

      Yeah, when Dennis Ross came to speak at the think tank I used to work at in Washington, the entire “non-partisan” audience listened sycophantically and asked softball questions.

      When I raised my hand and suggested that driving Hamas out of their democratically-elected offices made the US look like Fatah’s lawyer (this was in 2006), and this would help derail any possible trust in America’s stated aim of “democratizing the Middle East,” and there could be no meaningful peace if one side wasn’t allowed to choose its own leaders, Mr. Ross laughed, rolled his eyes, spit out some sloppy, unrelated hasbara, and changed the subject.

      And everyone else in the room seemed to be embarrassed on my behalf.

      This was supposedly a room full of Defense and Middle East ‘experts.’

      I didn’t last long there.

      link to fasttimesinpalestine.wordpress.com

      • Chaos4700 says:

        It’s probably just as well. Clearly, your talents were being wasted on a hollow echo chamber.

      • Chu says:

        Capitol rules the day in the Congress. Too bad they forgotten morality during the last century. When they don’t engage with an intelligent response and no one does anything about it, you know the system is corrupted.
        They’ve allowed the corruption in slowly and now it infests the halls of Congress and both sides know it.

  6. my beef with J-Street is their allegiance to Dennis Ross policy formulations and expectations. At a meeting to train-up J Streeters in advocating for the two-state solution, the last thing the trainer did was to quote a passage from Ross-Makovsky’s book in which Ross suggested that the two-state solution would ultimately fail anyway, for reasons having to do with Palestinians.

    In other words, J Street is organizing Jewish activists to lobby the US Congress for a form of settlement that they KNOW will fail, perhaps BECAUSE they know it will fail. The degrees of daylight between J Street and AIPAC are nil.

    If J Street was an authentic pro-peace organization, it would organize to push back against AIPAC directly, Jewish mano a Jewish mano, rather than do what is essentially double-team the US Congress: “don’t listen to those Jews, listen to these Jews.” (heh heh, don’t worry, you those Jews; we’re all sayin’ the same thing; Dennis Ross wrote our script, too.)

    • potsherd says:

      There does seem to be a real difference, and current events will force the deepening of the split or the collapse of J Street: J Street is pro-Obama, AIPAC is anti.

      This should result in J Street is Democrat, AIPAC is Republican. But the Democrats aren’t getting with the program. They look at the money, they sidle in that direction, lining up with the Republicans, indistinguishable from them on the issue.

    • pabelmont says:

      I just love the “daylight” “thang”. (Is “thang” a “meme” or a “trope”? I’m too old to learn newspeak.). The main thing is there no “daylight” in the Stygian darkness of pro-Israel propaganda. AIPAC projects deep gloom. Ditto J-Street. Ditto almost all of Congress. Ditto far too many USA Jews and their rabbis, synagogues, and organizations. Ditto NPR (all those nice Jewish reporters using cute Yiddish as it it were English, repeating hasbara as if independent thought were “forboten” (sorry, forbidden), Yanni.

      In fact, I want as many Palestinian reporters as Jewish ones on WNYC and NPR (fat chance in either case) and reporters salting their disquisitions, yanni, with Palestinian expressions, inshallah, and let’s get on with it, yallah! Isn’t that right, yanni?

      I wish it were as simple to accomplish that as to rub a lamp and say, “Iftah sim-sim” (“open sesame”). [OK, I've emptied my bag of tricks. But I do wish.]

  7. Chu says:

    The strange part about this lobbying effort of aipacers is that people are realizing that Israel is no ally of ours and they are continually causing problems for American interests. Obama has to make light of this relationship before the next election cycle. 2 years to go.
    I think hillary’s next speech to aipac will need to address the concept of seperation and independance from our two nations. It’s not good for either side, and Israel seems to have the better lawyers representing the future divorce, who are citizens within our legal system.

    • annie says:

      arguing israel is not our ally is a no win election campaign message. the framing has to demand americans have a choice..either side w/the president or part ways w/the military (petraeus). rightwingers have no problem bashing obama and think they can get out in front of this w/a framing of ‘for or against israel’. 2 states IS pro israel!

      recall how fast legislation was slapped against MOVE ON’s ‘betray us’ ad? make the gop choose between trusting israel’s choices or our own military!

      address the concept of separation and independence from our two nations.

      nope, turn ross’s MO on it’s head. if he’s so gang ho to start from the premise that U.S. and Israeli interests overlap by something close to 100 percent say we agree only it is israel who has to close that gap, NOT the US. either ross supports the US calling the shots or he doesn’t. if israel running this show was any kind of winning proposition this whole thing would have been solved decades ago.

      • Chu says:

        The message doesn’t need to be a stark choice, but in the coming years the clarity of the issue may hit the masses with greater impact than before – via the impact of the internet and growing social action.
        Is it our responsibility to defend Israel against their impending poor choices that will lead to a greater war in the Middle East? I don’t believe the US patron should be blamed in the end, if they begin rattle the hornet’s nest and we don’t come to their aid. It’s ridiculous and it can go on for decades if it’s not stopped.

  8. marc b. says:

    Slightly OT, but for those with the stomach for it, David Sanger has put together a summation of the Team B-ish simulation of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, The Saban Center graciously training its objective lens on the topic. Zionist Pollyanna.

    link to nytimes.com

    A realistic apprisal of likely consequences of such a strike can be found here:

    link to heritage.org

    • JBL says:

      The NYT pieces includes this:
      “Iran also conducts terror attacks against European targets, in hopes that governments there will turn on Israel and the United States. ”
      …which is straight out of the War on Terror comic book (the cringing French, the cowardly Spanish).
      In vain I search for some key word in either piece that indicates concern over the effects on life in Iran of having several nuclear production plants blown up – words like “fall out”, “radiation” and “Chernobyl”, even “Three Mile Island”.
      How do we let leaders, opinion-makers and news media get away with that?

      • Colin Murray says:

        Iran also conducts terror attacks against European targets, in hopes that governments there will turn on Israel and the United States.

        LOL. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in at least a month. What on earth gives anyone the idea that Kenneth Pollack is even remotely qualified to run a wargame?

        I checked the Brookings pdf report on their wargame and it doesn’t list the people who ‘played’ Iran. Either the whole thing was staged, i.e. it was a scripted play rather than a game, or the Iran team are a bunch of retards.

    • Egbert says:

      The NY Times piece “Imagining an Israeli Strike on Iran” states “In 2007, it wiped out a North Korean-built reactor in Syria”

      Wasn’t this ‘reactor’ a figment of Israel’s febrile imagination? After it’s destruction only 2 particles of nuclear material were found, I believe. So the Syrians essentially are left having to prove a negative i.e. that the site was not a nuclear reactor.

      • marc b. says:

        It’s all a bit fantastical. When I searched for the ‘Heritage’ report, I found news articles dating back several years suggesting the imminent inevitability of an Israeli strike on Iran. And while they are convinced (so they say) of the existence of an Iranian program developing nuclear arms, no strike has occurred. Yet Syria gets the full treatment for an alleged reactor. You’d think those bright Zionists would have discovered an antidote to this existential threat by now, if it existed.

        • Shingo says:

          The notion of an Israeli strike on Iran is a Zionist fantasy. The DOD estimated that there are 1,200 tagets that need tgo be taken out which would require a on1 month long bombing campaign. That is assuming that everythign goes according to plan and that the Iranians do nothing to retaliate.

          Some of those sites sit under 85 feet of granite and concrete. Not even nuclear bumber busters can reach that. It would require or 5 consecutive strikes on the same target to get that deep and even then, they don’t know where the targets are anyway.

          In 2002, the DOD condcuted a series of war games involving an atatck on Iran. In every case, the US failed. How could Israel then possiby achieve any better?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I think you’re missing the point of an Israeli strike on Iran.

          Think of it this way — Bush attacked Iraq to remove a nuclear threat that didn’t even exist. But that wasn’t the point — the point was to embroil the US and our allies in a war, in order to get access to war time powers and to justify a vast corporate raid on the American taxpayer base.

          And ultimately, Bush got to hang his “Mission Accomplished” banner, both literally and figuratively.

          Don’t assume that the point of the exercise would be exactly what is stated.

        • Shingo says:


          I realize this is the aim, but the point is that there would be no way to arrive at a Mission Accomplished moment. Wars depend entirely on propaganda and merketing. Without anything to present to the American public that proves the war was won, no administrtion will go to war.

          The soprorate raid is also a moot point, because contractors need to be on the ground to operate and there is no way in the world that the US will invade a country with 3 times Iraq’s popualtion and a strong guerilla force waiting for them.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Without anything to present to the American public that proves the war was won, no administrtion will go to war.

          Not to be flippant but… Afghanistan? Iraq? Hell, Vietnam, even?

        • Shingo says:

          I take your point Chaos.

          Afghanistan was originally justified in a sense of going after the perpetartors of 9/11, and you only have to go back a few years to when the neocoms were holding Afghanistan up as an example of a war that went according to plan.

          Iraq did have it’s mission accomplished moment, until they didn’t.

          Vietnam was the first war where the American public had to contemplate they weren’t going to win.

          Iran is going to be a hard sell. Claiming that the military has been defeated isn’t going to pass muster after Iraq and Afghanistan. Claiming that all the nuclear sites have ben destoyed won’t sell wihout ground troops going in to verify.

          It’s a no win situation.

        • Tuyzentfloot says:

          Without anything to present to the American public that proves the war was won, no administrtion will go to war. That’s more or less the Powell doctrine. It has not often been used.

        • aparisian says:

          I agree with you Shingo.
          At the same time the US/Israel are trying to provoke a political mess in Iran, because a political mess means internal conflicts that can be reinforced with international sanctions. Israel/US can use the Chaos then to maybe use the military option not to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities but to delay the achievement of nuclear weapons. Iran is not Afghanistan, nor Iraq, Iran can be very dangerous for Israel.

    • Shingo says:

      Sanger is such a propagandist, he makes Ethan Bronner look fair and balanced. The guy had assumed the Judith Miller mantle and become astenographer for every piece of baseless piece of garbage the Israelis and the war party can produce.

    • Taxi says:

      I have never laughed so much as I did reading Mr. Sanger’s pathetic attempt at ‘excusing’ an Israeli attack on Iran and kinda declaring it successful even before it’s happened!

      There are so many important variables omitted from his view of the ‘grand plan’ – way too long to list here. I mean you’d need to write a whole fucking book and not just some 500 words on the subject.

      What a moron that Mr. Sanger is. His article is for children. I do not recommend reading it as it’s a total waste of time. Unless of course, you’re looking for a dry joke or two.

  9. annie says:

    screw this ‘preventative’ framing bullshit.

    • marc b. says:

      annie, it’s called a ‘pre-emptive counterattack’, which when reduced to plain english means that we’ll attack whomever we want, whenever we want, if we can get away with it.

  10. VR says:

    Of course, the assumption here is that we know “US interests,” and better yet have they ever reflected what the people in the USA want? I don’t know about you, but every time I see the words “US interest” I interpret it as the will of the few, and see nothing that ultimately is of benefit to the American people – especially in foreign policy issues. This is not to say that we do not agree with some of the goals of what US interest is in the conflict, but do your goals match with theirs?

    This was also seen as “US interest” –


  11. Colin Murray says:

    Mr. Ross occupies a position at the State Department which requires a high-level security clearance. By what corruption did a man with a crystal clear and public first loyalty to a foreign government get one, especially when his job responsibilities specifically include relations with the nation to whom he has the higher loyalty? Is there a single example of a similar situation involving any other country?

    There are two sets of rules. One for members of the Israel Lobby and one for everyone else.

  12. dalybean says:

    Andrew Sullivan on Dennis Ross. No mercy.

    link to andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com

  13. syvanen says:

    The 2000 Camp David negotiations between Barak and Arafat turned out to be a complete fiasco for those who thought the goal was a two state solution. The one responsible for this failure is of course Bill Clinton. But what we did not know at that time, is that Clinton’s failure was that he appointed Dennis Ross as his major aid during those negotiations. I think we have heard many of the details of those talks, but what is obviously clear today that Ross was working for the Israelis. He was working to set up the failure. It allowed Barak to go back home and announce there was no one to talk to. This directly led to the second intifada and all of the horrible suicide bombings that has traumatized both sides since.

    After this fiasco I always wondered: How could Clinton been so naive at to put an AIPAC operative like Ross in such a sensitive position? And, given that precedent, how could Obama have put such an obvious Zionist operative in such a sensitive position in his own administration? I really do not know the answer to this last question. Especially given that Obama really does seem to be trying to work towards a viable two state solution.

    • potsherd says:

      Clinton always laid the blame on Arafat, which is a good way of not having to own it himself.

    • Shingo says:


      Judging by the fact Ross got his foot in the door with Obama after the Camp David fiasco, I’d guess that Obama had little choice or little at the time. Ross is like a Kissinger figure – untouchable and always in the mix, despite their obvious conflictsof interest.

      Clinton’s public rebuke of Arafat was intended to help Barak’s re election chances in Israel.

    • Ross’s 2000 performance was not his debut, just his starring role.

      Ross played a part in the first Persian Gulf war. The Arab states were conferring among themselves in an effort to persuade Kuwait to climb down from its haughty position, to stop horizontal drilling into Iraqi territory, and, most importantly, to increase the price of oil so that Iraq could pay its war debts and restabilize its economy.

      Dennis Ross and James Baker worked behind the scenes to make it appear that the Egyptians would not agree to a meeting (which was false), whereupon other Arab states withdrew from meetings and the negotiations fell apart. The door was thus open for the US to enter in “defense” of its “allies” in the region. THIS WAS ROSS/BAKER’s doing! It was not the intent of the Arabs to wage war upon Iraq.

  14. syvanen says:

    This just in but if correct it would be a big wow:

    link to haaretz.com

  15. marc b. says:

    Here is the video of a speech given by Robert Fowler, Canadian diplomat, and special UN envoy to Nigeria, wherein he directly links the disastrous ME policy of constant war and the I/P conflict to the rise of Islamic terrorism. He also states quite bluntly that the Liberal Party in Canada has been so busy courting the ‘Jewish’ vote, that it has become unhinged, swapping its core principles for a shot at electoral success.

    link to can150.ca

  16. Mooser says:

    Okay, there’s a nut every now and then, and a few Zionist supporters who waste time, but, wow, the comments here get better and better, and the links better and better.

    And the last two weeks or so (the Petreaus Spring?) was so hopeful for a while.

  17. Mooser says:

    Oh yeah, for some crazy reason my wife and I have been on a WW1 reading kick.
    There’s a whole lot about that “self-determination” our trolls kvetch about.
    You know what? That “self determination” is nothing to be afraid of, rhetorically; it’s a crock. And in almost every case, was a cover for the type of political and ethnic crimes the Zionists use it for.

    • Taxi says:


      Good morning.

      I love you.

      • MHughes976 says:

        The Austrian Emperor used to say that a patriot wasn’t much use unless he was ‘a patriot for me’ rather than for one of the dozen or more racial groups of the empire. (I think that many of his Jewish subjects agreed.) If we say that the demand for national self-determination, to be manifested in Serb terrorism in Sarajevo, was the evil thing of 1914 do we have to say that the medieval dynastic system, only mildly reformed as it was, was still deserving of support?
        Are there regions of the world (Palestine?) that cannot be stable except under a multinational empire and should we be worried that multinational empires tend to have a dynastic or religious foundation (or both)?

    • Citizen says:

      Here’s a short summary of the evolution of the concept, and it’s difference grades:
      link to beyondintractability.org

      • MHughes976 says:

        Interesting! I note his remark that demands for national autonomy and demands for democratic participation tend to become confused with each other. He can say that again.

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