The Arab World Reacts to Rahm Emanuel's Appointment

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 terrorist–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 hotel–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 Emanuel’s father’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 Arabs’ worst suspicions about the United States before the ink has dried on the headlines announcing Obama’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.


  • Michael HALPERN


    Rahm Emanuel is the wrong man, with the wrong connections, for the vital position of US White House Chief of Staff: a serious error that will bring further damage to the incoming administration unless he is replaced now. I can only trust that President-elect Obama will not make other errors of judgement as potentially damaging as this one.

    MICHAEL HALPERN [email protected]

    Stanmore, LONDON HA7 3QR +44 7764604922

  • Manus


    I think the message is loud and clear now. The Obama administration is already looking like a Minyan. I do not think it was an error of judgement at all. These Democrats “Straussian” Bush-lite disciples do strike the fear in my heart. There is nothing new about this administration at all. The rhetoric of “Change” is starting to look slowly but surely like old politics to me.

  • Manus

    …….And the Obama administration can make comments on any subject, including his future ‘mutt’, apart from the carnage happening in Gaza. If, the Illuminati clique in Washington at the moment seems to think that the Gazeans deserve to die, the future does not baud well too. Obama’s unconditional support for Israel’s policy of “self defense,” preemptive attacks, and repressive occupations is not one iota different from that of George W. Bush, an internationally recognized war criminal.

  • JS

    In my concerted opinion the assertion that Emanuel’s father leaves him a legacy of ‘terror’ is bogus to say the least. It would be like saying ‘since Arnold (the governator) had a dad who was a Nazi then Arnold is a Nazi himself. We know this to be false, right?

    By the way, it is the Arabs that have a disproportionate amount of power in the halls of most nations, not necessarily with physical presence, but with the crush of oil as boots pressed against our necks. Despostic leaders of oil and gas rich nations (many in OPEC, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, etc… use this as leverage to attempt to bring the many countries that depend on energy to their knees… economically speaking.

    Hamas is a terrorist organization. They hide in Gaza among the masses and govern in a ruthless manner. They are Iranian/Syrian puppets as are Hezbolah and do not deserve the ear of the world. They are intent on the destruction of Israel, continued to fire missiles into Israel for over 8 years, would not heed warnings to stop, so Israel had every right to defend their citizens and their soil… period.

    Israel incarcerates Hamas and Hezbolah terrorist criminals. Hamas and Hezbolah more frequently murder their Israeli captives. They are murderers and terrorists. Why should anyone heed their word. It is twisted with the ridiculousness of slanted Iranian and Arab-world right-wing rhetoric. Let’s face it… the Arab world has yet to emerge from a culture of death and an unwarranted feeling of entitlement.

    There are 1.2 billion muslims in the world and there are 12 million Jews in the world. Who actually exerts the most influence? As anti-Israel as the world has become they still cannot stand the Muslim mentality that there is no G-d but Allah… that he is the one true
    G-d… and that all who are not of the faith are infidels. Who is intractable? Who is the problem? If the majority of the muslim world would get their heads into the 21st century, and ditch their ridiculous belief that they are the true believers, we just might make some headway in getting along.

  • Manus

    Here we go again with “The politics of Anti-Semitism” and bogus historical revisionism Neo-Zionists resort to every time they commit war crimes. This is again the rhetoric of the Neo-Zionist and again another display of the art of Demagoguery. As an Atheist and a Humanist my political convictions are totally perceived through a different lens. However, I am extremely familiar with the Neo-Zionist mantra to realise their Biblical Utopia that classical Judaism has always used to justify Israeli policies that are as racist, as totalitarian and as xenophobic, as the worst excesses of Anti-Semitism. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in Jewish attitudes to the non-Jewish peoples of Israel and the Middle East.

    These so called “refugee camps” are indeed nothing of the sort, as there is no “refuge” in Gaza and do not tally with the UN definition of “refugee camps”.

    What we have here is the Internment, the imprisonment and confinement of large groups of people, without trial. This is confinement within the limits of a country or place. We call this in English “CONCENTRATION CAMPS”. This is sadly Semitism on a level with Anti-Semitism.
    As far as the United State of Israel is concerned,the answer is simple:
    “As far as the financial subsidising of Israel’s military and expansionist undertakings and an unwavering diplomatic and military cover, the US position is sadly irremediable. Unfortunately, the Americans tax payer money will only stop flowing to Israel when the Americans gain their independence from the pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks that have made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government and literally own all mediums of media.”

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