The mysterious Mr. Ross

on 9 Comments

I’m tickled by the Times front page story today: there is a question of whether Obama should lay out an American peace plan. He and Hillary favor this idea. Dennis Ross opposes it. So, the gist of the article implies, it probably won’t be done.

Isn’t it necessary to explain to the American people who Dennis Ross is? Or is that better left unexplained?

P.S. From the Forward’s recent reporting on Dennis Ross:

Ross’ strong ties to Israel now make him indispensable to the administration. Those ties include his previous role as head of the Jewish People Policy Institute, a Jerusalem-based think tank founded by the Jewish Agency for Israel. His son, Gabe, is also married to an Israeli. These factors, together with Ross’s strong personal sense of Jewish identity, have gained him a reputation of being pro-Israeli…

“Dennis is the closest thing you’ll find to a melitz yosher, as far as Israel is concerned,” said the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, who used the ancient Hebrew term for “advocate.”

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.

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9 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 21, 2011, 11:02 am

    These are arguments about who eats the crumbs, not the sandwich.

    As long as people are arguing about “peace” (whether there should be a peace process, whether there should be peace, who should say what first, blah, blah) they are arguing the crumbs, the meaningless. Bread and circuses.

    When some sensible and moderately powerful person asks (just asks, mind) whether it is not time to talk (just talk, mind) about removing the settlers for the duration of the occupation (and removing the wall and the settlements, too), we’ll know that that person is talking about the sandwich.

    Controlling the narrative, here, means talking about “peace, peace” when the talk should be about “justice, justice” (and lawfulness of occupation).

    “Truth, justice, and peace, and in that order.”

  2. Bumblebye
    April 21, 2011, 11:04 am

    Perhaps more heed should be taken of the constant statements that the two governments are as one, that there is no difference etc and consider that the “United States of Israel” has begun to emerge into the light. Since Israel appears to be the party that dictates to the US, and since a very significant element of Administration personnel have dual loyalty that puts the smaller entity first.

    • Walid
      April 21, 2011, 11:39 am

      Anybody that worked at WINEP can’t impartial to the Palestinians and should have nothing to do with them. Putting aside his odd participation in the peace talks with the first Clinton and how he walked in the shadow of Indyk, even more absurd was the bright Obama appointing him in charge of the Iran file at just about the time Ross and his Israeli co-author were released their book advocating the bombing of Iran. It took a little while for Obama to “get it” and remove Ross from this post. Obama then gave him an even more ridiculouly important and sensitive post as White House Senior Advisor or something like that. Games that politicians play.

  3. Sin Nombre
    April 21, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Someday in the future historians will look back and ponder how in the world the U.S. could ever have put in his various positions a man such as Ross whose manifest highest if not sole interest is that of Israel.

    And while part of the answer surely will be the power of the lobby, the absolutely necessary substrate for it to have happened and to have not been howled down will be political correctness.

    “Progressives,” examine thyselves.

    • Donald
      April 21, 2011, 3:01 pm

      “the absolutely necessary substrate for it to have happened and to have not been howled down will be political correctness.”

      That’s probably true. The interesting thing is that I have never seen the term “political correctness” applied to this situation, though it’s clearly the case that people don’t criticize Israel for fear of being called “anti-semitic”. That’s a perfect example of political correctness.

      You’ve also got a point about this being a problem on the so-called progressive side–on the right I think Israel support has somewhat different motivations. Christian Zionism in some cases is a motivating factor and another is the sense that Israel is a Western country and therefore “one of us”.

  4. chet
    April 21, 2011, 12:09 pm

    Pursuing re-election vs. a deserved smackdown.

    We all know what the choice will be.

  5. Citizen
    April 21, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Obama, like all politicians, is a simple man if you really want to know what motivates him to do what he does–the same thing that motivates all American politicians. They never ask the question, “Is it good for the Americans?” They ask the question, “Will this help me or hurt me, net, in getting and keeping power, and enhancing my power?” The goal is always the front seat on the very mundane gravy train. As the cowboy, George Bush Jr put it, “There’s the doers, and those who write about them.” Obama continued upholding Dennis Ross’s star for the same reason prior presidents did. They knew if he was on their side, they had their “melitz yosher,” even if they never heard that term. Our Presidents have all followed that basic plan since Truman started it (although JFK bridled, and Bush Sr did too, much less so, and of course, Ike didn’t need to have a melitz yosher since he defeated Nazi Germany, although he was a German American). Here’s a picture of when and why Obama stuck with the not so mysterious Dennis Ross (When’s the last time you heard of the now politically influential or celebrity spawn of a mixed Jewish-Gentile marriage not end up taking the Zionist line?): link to

    But now, Obama has caught a bit of flack, and is no longer a presidential wannabe, but The Chief himself, and despite his recantation by silence of his Cairo speech and of Goldstone, he’s busy with his wet finger to the winds of change, particularly those coming from Arabia, and from BDS, and from the simple fact that Mearsheimer and Walt are still standing, and, hey, he’s likely even heard about J-Street. Both Obama and Hillary would like to see their name’s on a real peace plan, and the times, they are a changing–and Dennis Ross, basically, has not. Who will be a lighter brand of kosher that Israel, also with its wet finger to the winds of change, may accept as the new melitz yosher? The only certainty is that America First is not on any of the players’ agenda.

  6. Les
    April 21, 2011, 5:31 pm

    The following Haaretz headline makes clear that the justification to resume talks as soon as possible is to STOP recognition of Palestine’s independence by the UN in October, something not being said by Obama or Clinton.

    “European countries believe Palestinians could drop push for UN recognition if ‘parameters’ for fresh peace talks announced; Diplomats said they hope Obama might do so.”

    link to

  7. annie
    April 21, 2011, 7:48 pm

    He and Hillary favor this idea. Dennis Ross opposes it. So, the gist of the article implies, it probably won’t be done.

    should read

    “He and Hillary favor this idea. Israel opposes it. So, it probably won’t be done.”

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