Editor: MJ Rosenberg posted this news today on his site.
Eli Lake, as faithful a transcriber for AIPAC as any in the media (he has plenty of competition) reports that Dennis Ross is staying neutral in the presidential election.
This is pretty significant because nothing Dennis Ross does (including every action he took at the Obama White House) happens without AIPAC signing off.
Remember who he is. Both prior to his White House “service” and subsequent to it, he led AIPAC’s think-tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Here is my piece on the Washington Institute’s creation by AIPAC. I was there). He runs it now.
Ross says he cannot support the president for whom he (tragically for America) served as main Middle East policy guy because that would conflict with his duties at WINEP:
I am the Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,” Ross said in an email on Friday. “The Washington Institute is a non-profit organization and I cannot do political work from here. When I acted for the campaign in 2008, I had to take a leave of absence to do so. Having only recently returned to the Institute, I cannot now again take a leave of absence.
That is bull. If AIPAC told him to stick with Obama he would. WINEP IS AIPAC.
Josh Block, AIPAC’s long-time press spokesman, who is widely believed to still receive a stipend from AIPAC (AIPAC uses him as “informal” spokesman) is clearly speaking for the lobby when he says this:
Ambassador Ross was obviously the No. 1 pro-Israel surrogate for the Obama campaign in 2008,” said Josh Block, a former press aide for the Clinton administration and former top spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “The fact that after three years of working on Mideast policy side-by-side with the president, Ambassador Ross has decided to sit out this campaign, unlike other former top officials now at nonpartisan think tanks, will certainly be understood as a message of its own, intentionally or unintentionally.
It certainly does. AIPAC is going to privately pull out all the stops for Romney while publicly maintaining neutrality. It wants the U.S. to fight Israel’s war with Iran. It wants the neocons back in power. It wants to fight “Islamists” everywhere. And Romney’s top Middle East guy, Dan Senor, is related to AIPAC; his sister runs its whole operation in Israel!
Ross’s move is, as Josh Block says, a clear signal. The lobby wants Romney because the lobby wants war. (This is not about Jewish voters who the latest polls show are overwhelmingly for Obama and don’t consider Israel when they vote.) This is about the money and the few dozen billionaires and multimillionaires who take their cues from AIPAC).
Also note the quote from Aaron Miller, Ross’s long-time sidekick, equally close to AIPAC, also dissing Obama.
Dennis is about doing things,” said Aaron Miller, who was Ross’s deputy on the peace process during the Clinton years and is now a scholar at the Wilson Center, a public-policy think tank in Washington, D.C. “The peace process is stuck and is likely to remain stuck. The fact is no amount of hand-holding is going to assuage the concerns and suspicions of a pro-Israel community which has now seen some of its fears realized. It may well be that this is the other piece of this. I wouldn’t want to try to sell Obama to the Jewish community in this environment.
This is the line. The lobby is with Romney.