Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rahm Emanuel: The Next White House Chief of Staff

This will certainly mute some criticism and suspicions about Obama's intentions towards Israel, but I am still suspicious. Clinton and James Baker got what became known in Israel as "the Jew Boys" (in a derogatory way) to do all of the dirty work of pressuring Israel to appease Arab interests. Let us not forget that it was Daniel Kurtzer, Denise Ross and Martin Indyk (all Jews) who did more damage to Israel's security than entire Arab army's could hope for, through their promotion of Oslo and Yasser Arafat as a "legitimate negotiating partner." And who can forget that it was Henry Kissinger, also Jewish, who resisted sending large quantities of arms to Israel during the worst moments of the Yom Kippur War because he thought the Arabs would be offended. Kissinger was overruled by Nixon who literally saved Israel by giving the command to "send them everything we got."

The good news is that Rahm Emanuel was not part of that Ross, Kurtzer, Indyk click. Anyway, here is Emanuel's background:

Rahm Emanuel (Hebrew: רם עמנואל) was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father, the Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a pediatrician and former member of the Irgun, an Israeli resistance organization headed by Menachem Begin in pre-Israel 1940's and considered a "terrorist" group by the British governing authorities at the time. His mother, Martha Smulevitz, worked as an X-ray technician and was the daughter of a local union organizer. She became a civil rights activist; she was also once the owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club. The two met in Chicago in the 1950s. Emanuel's older brother, Ezekiel, is a noted oncologist and bioethicist, and his brother, Ari, is a talent agent in Los Angeles and inspired Jeremy Piven's character Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage. Emanuel himself is also the inspiration for the character Josh Lyman on The West Wing. He also has a younger sister named Shoshanna, 14 years his junior.

When his family lived in Chicago, he attended Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, a Jewish day school. After his family moved to Wilmette, he attended public school: Romona School, Wilmette Junior High School, and New Trier High School. Emanuel was encouraged by his mother to take ballet lessons as a boy and is a graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet. He won a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet but turned it down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school with a strong dance program. He graduated from college in 1981, and went on to receive a master's degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985. While still a student at Sarah Lawrence, he joined the congressional campaign of David Robinson of Chicago.

His father, a pediatrician still practicing near Chicago, immigrated to the United States from Israel and spoke Hebrew with his son, when Emanuel was a boy. Emanuel speaks Hebrew fluently. He volunteered as a civilian volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the 1991 Gulf War, serving in one of Israel's northern bases, rust-proofing brakes.

Emanuel's wife Amy Rule, a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania converted to Judaism shortly before her wedding. They are members of Anshe Shalom, a modern Orthodox congregation in Chicago. They have three children, son Zacharias and daughters Ilana and Leah. The children attend Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, Emanuel's own alma mater, where his wife, Amy, frequently volunteers. Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, is quoted as saying: "It's a very involved Jewish family"; "Amy was one of the teachers for a class for children during the High Holidays two years ago." Emanuel has said of his Judaism: "I am proud of my heritage and treasure the values it has taught me." Emanuel's family lives on the North Side of Chicago, in the North Center neighborhood.

Emanuel trains for and participates in triathlons.

From work earlier in his career, Emanuel considers Mayor Richard M. Daley, Senator Paul Simon and President Bill Clinton to be his professional mentors. He considers his personal mentors to be his father and mother.[28]

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