It was announced this morning that President-Elect Barack Obama had selected Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. Emanuel, who served as a top adviser to President Bill Clinton and is now a member of the House, is known in the U.S. for his aggressive determination.
His service to the Israel Defense Forces and pro-Israel slant is a point of controversy for many. Some Middle Eastern and North African bloggers, perhaps already wary of Obama, expressed their views on Rahm Emanuel's appointment.
Palestinian Pundit sums up general sentiment with one brief headline:
For all those hoping that perhaps Obama was secretly pro-Palestinian, very bad news…
Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel has reportedly been approached by US presidential hopeful Barack Obama to be his chief-of-staff.
Body on the Line, a blog written by an American citizen living in Palestine, details Emanuel's history and expresses her opposition to his appointment:
emanuel served under the clinton administration (does this sound like change?). but not only is emanuel a former white house adviser, and a terrorist who served in the itf. he also is the son of a terroristâ€“by british standards as he served in irgun with menachem begin (recall begin was wanted as a terrorist by the british for bombing the british headquarters of the king david hotelâ€“wanted poster above). or just check out their own crest showing a map in the background that includes all of palestine and jordan.
Elijah Zarwan, also an American but based in Egypt, had this to say about Emanuel's new position:
I have no doubt Emanuel is an intelligent and competent man, however many passports he holds. I assume he has the respect of at least the Clinton people Obama will choose to staff the White House. And Emanuelâ€™s fatherâ€™s mistakes may not reflect his own beliefs.
Regardless, the appointment of the son of an Irgun militant to such an important office will confirm many Arabsâ€™ worst suspicions about the United States before the ink has dried on the headlines announcing Obamaâ€™s historic victory.
Raed Jarrar, writing for In the Middle, hopes that those who support Obama will take time to ask the tough questions:
I know that the confetti has not settled down yet, but I think it's time already to ask the Obama-Biden campaign some questions about their foreign policy plans, especially regarding the U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and regarding ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Egyptian Zeinobia shares her predictions for the rest of Obama's cabinet, and says this about Emanuel:
Rahm Emanuel, the Israeli origin and the son of a Zionist Israeli terrorist group is widely going to be the chief of Staff at the White House, a blow to all those who put hopes on Obama but that man was always since the rally It is not the first time for Emanuel to work in the White House because he used to be there in the Clinton's cabinet.
Strangely no one brought his father connection with the Irgun ,the infamous group that did the terrible Massacre of Deir Yassin Negatively in the rally!!
Finally, Lebanese Chess takes a deeper look at other issues going on between the U.S. and Israel, in particular Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's recent warning to Obama regarding dialogue with Iran. Of Livni's comments, the blogger said:
With still over two months until Obama is sworn in, Israel has moved quick to influence Obama's policy vis-a-vis Israel's interests in the region. It marks the beginning of the Israeli-AIPAC battle to ensure Obama toes their line.
The Israelis have set the stage for a key struggle between AIPAC and an Obama administration over Iran. If Obama continues to surround himself by staunch pro-Israelis in his administration, AIPAC and Israel won't have much difficulty twisting the president-elect to conform to Israel's goal of regional domination.