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      Op-Ed: R Emmanuel's Interim Replacement

      Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 8:10 PM
      The writer warns that Obama's interim Chief of Staff has a virulently anti-Israel mentor.


       

      When Rahm Emmanuel resigned as President Obama’s first Chief of Staff on October 1, 2010 an almost unknown Washington insider named Pete Rousewas chosen to take Emmanuel’s place. Little has been reported about Rouse. When the White House blog first mentioned him it explained “Rouse's disinclination towards the limelight” in the first sentence (see http://m.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/01/goodbye-rahm). Perhaps Rouse has wanted his 30 year relationship with Jim Abourezk, the most anti-Israel Senator in American history, to go unexamined.

      Rousehad been Tom Daschle’s Chief of Staff and worked for him as far back as 1985. It has been reported that Daschle first met Rouse when they both worked as legislative assistants for Democratic Senator Jim Abourezk. The official White House website bio on Rouse leaves Abourezk completely out of his personal history (see www.whitehouse.gov/administration/staff/pete-rouse). Nothing of Rouse’s formative, pre-1979 history in politics is mentioned at all. Yet clearly Abourezk was a primary mentor of Rouse's and a pivotal figure in his life.

      There are deep ties between Obama, Rouse, Daschle, Abourezk and George Mitchell. Even before November's Midterm elections, these men have shown that they will work together to create new pressure against Israel that will make the previous challenges in the U.S.-Israel alliance look like a love fest. The JTA wire service reported on November 2, 2010 that “President Obama's new chief of staff … Pete Rouse… spoke Oct. 28 in a conference call with an array of Jewish leaders.” Nothing of the content of the call was reported. That this call happened on the Thursday immediately before the Midterm elections cannot be understated.

      Robert Chandler in his September 2008 book Shadow World: Resurgent Russia, The Global New Left, and Radical Islam labeled Abourezk “a senior advisor for presidential candidate Barack Obama”.

      James George Abourezk has never met an anti-Israel conspiracy theory or an anti-Zionist conspiracy theory he didn’t like.

      It is easy to conclude that Abourezk and the many other notorious Israel-bashers that the Obama camp has included from the outset may have had much to do with Obama’s infamous Cairo speech, the June 2010 $400 million dollar aid package for PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, the Administration’s overall confrontational attitude towards Israel and more.

      In 1977 Congressional Quarterly described Abourezk as “a former bartender, rancher and used car salesman among other things.” (Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report , Volume 35, 1977)

      Abourezk was the first elected U.S. senator of Arab descent. His ethnic background is Lebanese Christian.  He served just one term from 1973 to 1979.

      Former Senate Leader Tom Daschle joined DLA Piper as a Senior Policy Advisor in November 2009. DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms in the world and has offices in at least 30 foreign nations and is made up of approximately 3,500 attorneys. Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell is the firm's immediate past chairman. President Obama named Mitchell as United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace just two days after taking the oath of office.

      Mitchell was no unbiased participant in the Arab-Israeli conflict. His history included chairing President Clinton’s Middle East fact-finding committee. The committee published a report on April 30, 2001 (Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee Report or Mitchell Report) calling for the Israel to cease building in Jewish Settlements. This was something that Abourezk actively championed in the Senate in the 1970s.

      Abourezk's anti-Israel extremism has only intensified since he left the Senate.

      Abourezk was a founder of the Council for the National Interest (CNI). The Anti-Defamation League calls CNI “an anti-Israel organization that opposes U.S. aid to Israel and disseminates demonizing propaganda about Israel to academics, politicians, and other audiences.” (http://www.adl.org/main_Anti_Israel/cni.htm) Today Abourezk still sits on CNI’s 11 person board of directors.

      He serves on the twelve person Board of Advisors of the Free Gaza Movement with Noam Chomsky and other hardcore anti-Israel extremists. The Free Gaza Movement was in large part responsible for the Gaza flotilla incident in May 2010. (http://www.freegaza.org/en/about-us/who-we-are/1089-advisors)

      In 1980 Abourezk founded the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). A September 21, 2010 ADC press release declared: "(ADC) is proud to announce that it will be hosting a gala in honor of the great Helen Thomas. The gala will take place Thursday, November 18, 2010, at the Washington Marriott … Washington, DC 20008. ADC invites members and friends to join in the celebration honoring Helen’s dedicated service to our country as a journalism trailblazer, and her legendary front row coverage of the White House for over sixty years".

      (http://www.adc.org/media/press-releases/2010/september-2010/helen-thomas-to-be-honored-on-november-18-2010/

       In 2008 Abourezk keynoted a protest against AIPAC led by Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine. (http://www.stopaipac.org/chicagoforum.htm)

      Here are some of Abourezk’s statements from the last several years:

      March 6, 2008:

      The candidates for president -- with exceptions like Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney -- bow and scrape to Israel and continue to support its objectives. They unfortunately back the continued funneling of billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money for Israel, allowing it to continue its brutal attacks. (http://www.accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=1663)

      December 4, 2006:
      So I believe that divestment, and especially cutting off U.S. aid to Israel would immediately result in Israel's giving up the West Bank and leaving the Gaza to the Palestinians. (http://www.bethlehemmedia.net/en/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=30)

       Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May-June 2007, pages 23-25:

      Another part of the Zionist propaganda that lingers to this day is the myth that the Jewish armed forces were able to defeat a superior combined Arab army.

       The monstrous tragedy of the European Holocaust during WWII became a bonanza for the Zionist movement and its leaders. (http://www.wrmea.com/archives/May-June_2007/0705023.html)

       January 26, 2007, Christian Science Monitor

      (T)he Israel lobby twists US foreign policy into a dangerous double standard regarding nuclear issues. The US rattles its sabers at Iran for its nuclear energy ambitions – and alleged pursuit of nuclear arms – while remaining silent about Israel's nuclear-weapons arsenal. (http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/freetrips.html)

      April 17, 2006, counterpunch.org:

      (T)he U.S. government designates resistance fighters – such as Hizbollah and Hamas – in the Middle East as terrorists if Israel asks us to do so… (http://www.counterpunch.org/zeese04172006.html)

      Just how close was Abourezk to the Obama campaign?

      The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published an editorial attributed to Dateline D.C. on Sunday, February 10, 2008 that said “It is said that the godfather of the Obama campaign is James George Abourezk” (See http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/datelinedc/s_551642.html). Moreover the Tribune-Review article even revealed that “Obama readily accepted Abourezk's naming as their mutual contact a former staff member, Tom Daschle.”

      Did Abourezk introduce Rouseto the Obama team?

      Why has the story of the Abourezk / Obama / Rouserelationship gone unreported since 2008? (reprinted from http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.8128/pub_detail.asp, with writer's permission)