There was an interesting piece in HuffPo today, comparing the styles of Rahm Emanuel and the current White House chief of staff, Bill Daley. With the President on the ropes lately, Daley has been the subject of lots of criticism.
It made me say to myself, “Oh yeah, Rahm … That guy is great. I miss him.”
Jewish liberals like me got a little pushback from our conservative or heavily Zionist compatriots during the 2008 election for supporting Obama so vociferously. From about September through election day in November that year, I had a bumper sticker that said Barack Obama in Hebrew letters. Occasionally, people would stop me and tell me that Obama was going to be bad for Israel.
At the time, I would argue – at first, I would argue that Obama had no track record to support a statement like that … In fact, he’d only been on record as being pro-Israel. And then I’d say, “Come on with his main advisors being Rahm Emanuel, who is fluent in Hebrew and David Axelrod, a nice Jewish boy? I think he’s going to be okay.
And I do think he’s okay. In spite of the fact that the Jewish vote is being blamed a Republican replacing Anthony Weiner in his Congressional seat (that seat had belonged to our side since the 1920s), I think Obama will still win our demographic next year.
But maybe if Emanuel was on the job (he is currently serving as mayor of Chicago), perhaps the President would have been a little more nuanced when he called for Israel to return mostly to 1967 borders (even though this has been the American position for years).
We’re in a particularly tricky time for Israel right now, with the UN vote on Palestinian independence imminent and Turkey recalling its ambassador. For whatever reason, the President is seen as anti-Israel.
I just can’t help thinking that would be less so if Rahm was in the West Wing.