The rhetoric: "And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand." (from President-elect Barack Obama's victory speech at Chicago's Grant Park)
The reality: "Why is he asking Rahm Emanuel - 'Rahmbo', one of [Washington's] most in-your-face partisan actors - to be his chief of staff?... [I]n the modern White House, the chief of staff is one of the most powerful posts, the gatekeeper to the president on every issue, the person with the last word... Mr Emanuel... knows the White House, having been a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. In a brief career as an investment banker after that, he made millions and became familiar with Wall Street; in the House, he helped negotiate the government bailout of the financial system... But there's the matter of his temperament - or, as Mr Emanuel says, 'I swear a lot'. He also yells a lot, and in his sentences his favourite expletive can serve as subject, verb or adjective when he is facing down recalcitrant Democrats or Republican opponents... In the Clinton administration, Mr Emanuel raised eyebrows when, as chairman of the 1993 inaugural committee, he rode in the parade in a car emblazoned with his name... Mr Emanuel has worked at good relations with Republicans... Late last week, Mr Emanuel called Ray LaHood, a Republican from downstate Illinois, for advice about his career. 'A chief of staff is sort of the alter ego of the president', Mr LaHood said. 'Philosophically, on principles and values, they just have to be totally in sync'. He thinks Mr Emanuel would be 'a perfect fit'."* (Rahmbo the gatekeeper: he swears by his boss, Jackie Calmes, The New York Times, repub SMH, 7/11/08)
So chief of staff Emanuel is a foul-mouthed, narcissistic, investment banker turned Democrat politician, who pals around with Republicans and whose principles and values Obama shares. How reassuring. But it gets worse: "Emanuel is the son of a Jerusalem-born pediatrician who was a member of the Irgun (Etzel or IZL), a militant Zionist group that operated in Palestine between 1931 and 1948." (Sources: Rahm Emanuel accepts Obama offer to be chief of staff, Haaretz, 6/11/08) Irgun terrorists achieved notoriety with the blowing up of Jerusalem's King David Hotel in 1946 (88 dead) and the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948 (100+ dead), to cite but two of their 'achievements'. The Irgun's leader, Menachem Begin, described by the architect of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and Israel's first prime minister (1948-1963), David Ben-Gurion, as "clearly a Hitler type," went on to lead the Irgun's ideological successor, the Likud, to victory in the Israeli elections of 1977.
But maybe Rahmbo's put this legacy behind him? No such luck. Apparently, he's a real chip off the old block** - after all, Daddy didn't name him Rahm Israel Emanuel for nothing: "Emanuel continued his father's tradition of active support for Israel; during the 1991 Gulf War he volunteered to help maintain Israeli army vehicles near the Lebanon border when southern Lebanon was still occupied by Israeli forces. As White House political director in the first Clinton administration, Emanuel orchestrated the famous 1993 signing ceremony of the 'Declaration of Principles' between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin." (Obama picks pro-Israel hardliner for top post, Ali Abunimeh, The Electronic Intifada, 5/11/08) Of this sealing of the Oslo 'peace process', with its famous Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn, Edward Said lamented at the time: "The vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasir Arafat thanking everyone for what, in fact, was the suspension of most of his people's rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton's performance - like a 20th century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance - all these only temporarily obscure the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation... [L]et us call the agreement by its real name: an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles." (Peace & its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process, 1996, p 7)
Not surprisingly, Emanuel has real form as an unabashed apologist in Congress for Israeli brutality: "In June 2003... he signed a letter criticizing Bush for being insufficiently supportive of Israel. 'We were deeply dismayed to hear your criticism of Israel for fighting acts of terror', Emanuel, along with 33 other Democrats wrote to Bush. The letter said that Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian political leaders 'was clearly justified as an application of Israel's right to self-defense' (Pelosi supports Israel's attacks on Hamas group, San Francisco Chronicle, 14/6/03). In July 2006, Emanuel was one of several members who called for the cancellation of a speech to Congress by visiting Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki because al-Maliki had criticized Israel's bombing of Lebanon. Emanuel called the Lebanese and Palestinian governments 'totalitarian entities with militias and terrorists acting as democracies' in a 19 July speech supporting a House resolution backing Israel's bombing of both countries that caused thousands of civilian victims."* (Abunimeh)
Finally, "... Emanuel accompanied Obama to a meeting of AIPAC's executive board just after the Illinois senator had addressed the pro-Israel lobby's conference last June. " (Abunimeh) At that conference, Obama swore ritual fealty to Israel: "Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel, threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security."
But God help Obama if ever his "unshakeable commitment" to Israel gets the wobbles: "There's the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead!... Dead!... Dead! and plunging the knife into the table after every name. 'When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape', one campaign veteran recalls. 'It was like something out of The Godfather'."*** (Forget the Honeymoon: Getting Down to Bizness with Obama, Justin Raimondo, antiwar.com, 7/11/08)
[*Try working these clowns out: LaHood is an Illinois Republican of Lebanese origin. While Rahmbo is using his congressional seat to urge US backing for Israel's 2006 bomb-Lebanon-back-to-the-stone-age rampage (19/7/06), LaHood is "join[ing] with a small group of members of Congress in pressing the State Department to urge Israel to exercise more restraint in its bombing of Lebanon... 'I don't think it's right for [the Israelis] to close the airport, just bomb every runway, I think that's wrong. And I think it's wrong to bomb every major artery out of... Beirut and out of Lebanon. And then to go in and some of these oil refineries they've destroyed and some of the areas of Beirut that were just re-built over the last 10 years were bombed. I just think this is wrong." (LaHood on Lebanon, Mike Dorning, swamppolitics.com, 18/7/08)]
[** And here's a slice of Daddy: "Dr Benjamin Emanuel said he was convinced that his son's appointment would be good for Israel. 'Obviously, he will influence the president to be pro-Israel', he was quoted as saying. 'Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House'." (Emanuel to be Obama's chief of staff, The Jerusalem Post, 6/11/08)]
[*** This quote comes originally from a Rolling Stone article on Rahmbo by Joshua Green, The Enforcer (20/10/05). In it, Green cites Rahmbo as the guy responsible for "beating back the Republican-led impeachment" of Clinton. And who presided over the impeachment vote? Ray LaHood (wikipedia). Curiously, in Green's article, you will find absolutely no mention of Rahmbo's Zionist upbringing, merely: "The second of 3 sons born to a pediatrician father and a civil-rights-activist mother..." Nonetheless, it is well worth reading. Clinton veterans, for example, knew Rahmbo was on the prowl because "... 'he's got this big old pair of brass balls, and you can just hear 'em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress', says Paul Begala, who served with Emanuel on Clinton's staff."]