Mitchell too fair

Josh Marshall.

George Mitchell
George Mitchell

Mitchell Doesn’t Cut It?

The ADL’s Abe Foxman thinks Mitchell may be too even-handed …

From The Jewish Week …

Some Jewish leaders say the very qualities that may appeal to the Obama administration — Mitchell’s reputation as an honest broker — could spark unhappiness, if not outright opposition, from some pro-Israel groups.

Abe Foxman
Abe Foxman

“Sen. Mitchell is fair. He’s been meticulously even-handed,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “But the fact is, American policy in the Middle East hasn’t been ‘even handed’ — it has been supportive of Israel when it felt Israel needed critical U.S. support.

“So I’m concerned,” Foxman continued. “I’m not sure the situation requires that kind of approach in the Middle East.”

Unstated here is that Mitchell is half Lebanese Christian by ancestry. And I think there’s little way that isn’t playing into this in the background. Roger Cohen had a good column a couple weeks ago in which he began …

The Obama team is tight with information, but I’ve got the scoop on the senior advisers he’s gathered to push a new Middle East policy as the Gaza war rages: Shibley Telhami, Vali Nasr, Fawaz Gerges, Fouad Moughrabi and James Zogby.

Needless to say this is not Obama’s Middle East team. And as Cohen went on to note, Obama’s team is made up of five Jewish men. Now, I’m Jewish. Got no beef with Jews. And I’m sure this post will generate a bunch of nonsensical emails claiming I’m saying that Jews can’t be trusted to deal with Middle East policy, which is too nonsensical even to discuss. But if there’s reflexive opposition to a distinguished former senator who happens to be half Arab by lineage because of the stated reason that he may be too even-handed, that’s really a problem.

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