Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Helena Cobban/Just World News:-

Dennis Ross can no longer be judged to have even the minimum level of policy objectivity and neutrality that's required for this job. He served as an ambassadorial-level special coordinator for Arab-Israeli negotiations for both presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton. But since then, he has been appointed Chairman of the Board of an outfit called the Jewish People Policy Planning Instite, which has been-- as its masthead there proudly proclaims-- "Established by the Jewish Agency for Israel, Ltd." JPPPI is also headquartered in Israel.

For just some of the problems Ross's dual affiliations might cause, you can see on the current front page of its website a photo of "The Ambassador Dennis Ross presenting JPPPI's annual assessment to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert." Ross is doing this, obviously, in his capacity as Board Chair of this Israel-based body that was established by the Jewish Agency, a body that has played a key role in the leadership of the Zionist movement since well before 1948, and which enjoys very special relations with the State of Israel o this day.

For example, the Jewish Agency has been a major partner for successive Israeli governments in the building of Israel's completely illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. (As referred to quite casually in, for example, this 2005 report in the Financial Times.)

So if Dennis presents the JPPPI report to the Israeli Prime Minister today, and tomorrow he goes back to deliver a demarche from the US president on, say, Israeli settlement building-- how would that work?

More to the point, how can any of the rest of us, US citizens, have any confidence whatsoever that the "advice" Dennis Ross will be giving Secretary Clinton will be the kind of calm, objective, US-centric advice on Middle Eastern issues-- including Iran, Iraq, and quite possibly also Palestine-- that she and the rest of the administration all so desperately need?

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