President Obama’s new anti-Semitism czar serves on the board of a controversial Israel-lobby group accused of working against the Jewish state, while her writings suggest Israel’s policies are to blame for anti-Semitism.
Hannah Rosenthal, a former Health Department regional director under the Clinton administration, started her position earlier this week as the State Department’s new special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. She previously headed the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an umbrella U.S. Jewish organization.
Rosenthal, however, serves on the board of J Street, a lobby group that is mostly led by left-leaning Israelis and that receives funds from Arab and Muslim Americans.
J Street brands itself as pro-Israel. It states on its website it seeks to “promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.”
J Street, however, also supports talks with Hamas, a terrorist group whose charter seeks the destruction of Israel. The group opposes sanctions against Iran and is harshly critical of Israeli offensive anti-terror military actions.
Even the Israeli government has been distancing itself from J Street, with its ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, refusing to attend its annual dinner last month. Israeli Embassy spokesman Yoni Peled told the Jerusalem Post his government has some “concern over certain [J Street] policies that could impair Israel’s interests.”
The Powerline blog previously documented how far-leftist Israelis are influential in the J Street leadership, including former Knesset Speaker Avrum Burg, who generated controversy when he stated, “To define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end.”
Another key J Street member, Mideast expert Henry Siegman, has compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.
Ed Lasky opines of the appointment of Rosenthal at American Thinker, “This is just one more pick by the president that has led many (especially the Israelis) to wonder about his claim to be pro-Israel. It is also one more step forward by J Street, a group with ties to George Soros, in their reach for power in Washington, D.C.”
Rosenthal had also previously penned an opinion piece in The New York Jewish Week in which she claimed a mainstream Israel-solidarity rally in Washington, D.C., was being “dominated by narrow, ultraconservative views of what it means to be pro-Israel.”
In a letter criticizing Rosenthal’s depiction of the event, Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman noted that rally, which took place at the height of the Palestinian intifada, or terrorist war, included speakers Sen. Harry Reid, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Israeli minister Natan Sharansky. Foxman pointed out the speakers lobbied for peace:
At the rally, Reid called on “all who share our vision and hopes to continue to spread a message of peace: shalom, salaam, peace.”
Sharansky declared, “Real peace, dear friends, depends on us.”
Giuliani proclaimed, “All of us, all of you good people who have come here today, all of us wish for peace. We pray for it.”
The Weekly Standard, meanwhile, took note of quotes in which Rosenthal seemed to imply Israeli policies were to blame for anti-Semitism.
“I’ll tell you point-blank: I have two grown daughters, and I didn’t think that my kids were going to have to deal with some of the same anti-Semitism that I did as the daughter of Holocaust survivors,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a scary time, with people losing the ability to differentiate between a Jew, any Jew, and what’s going on in Israel.”