US Official Blasts Dennis Ross

Unnamed official may have hinted Jewish Middle East strategist Dennis Ross has dual loyalty to Israel, the United States.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 21:24

Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross
Israel news photo: file

Tension between the United States and Israel has reportedly led to a heated internal debate within the US administration, between White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross and special Middle East envoy George Mitchell. Politico reporter Laura Rozen quoted an unnamed US official as saying that Ross “seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu's coalition politics than to US interests. And he doesn't seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this Administration.”

Rozen said that the official's words were interpreted by some as suggesting Ross had “double loyalty” to the US and Israel – a highly incendiary accusation when leveled against Jewish American officials. The fact that it seems to have been made goes to show, she said, how heated the debate has become.

'Peddling snake oil'
During Netanyahu’s latest visit and subsequent internal US government meetings, the official said, Ross “was always saying about how far Bibi [Binyamin Netanyahu] could go and not go. So by his logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi's coalition's red lines.”

The official slugged further at Ross, saying: “Dennis uses the minutiae to blur the big picture … And no one asks the question: why, since his approach in the Oslo years was such an abysmal failure, is he back, peddling the same snake oil?”

From the phrasing of the report, it appeared that the unnamed official was connected in some way to George Mitchell. 

When Dennis Ross joined the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, the move was seen by analysts as a message to Israel-supporters that Obama would not leave Israel in the lurch. Ross, who had been lead negotiator on Israeli-Palestinian issues for Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, was a member of a think tank with a hawkish pro-Israeli reputation after the Clinton years.

Ross's presence in the Obama team served to assuage the anxieties of pro-Israel voters regarding the potential hostility of an Obama administration to Israel. The present attacks on Ross may indicate that he is no longer as useful to the Obama camp as he was in 2008.