- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 14, 2010

‘PASSIONATE ABOUT ISRAEL’

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren likely helped Rahm Emanuel in his campaign for mayor of Chicago by calling the former White House chief of staff “passionate about Israel,” attempting to dispel critics who suspect the liberal Democrat holds anti-Israeli views.

Mr. Oren earlier this month praised Mr. Emanuel in a letter his campaign released this week. The ambassador met briefly with Mr. Emanuel before the diplomat addressed an audience at Chicago’s Northwestern University on Oct. 4.

In his letter, Mr. Oren told Mr. Emanuel that he applauded him for his commitment to Israel.

“Though I was sorry you couldn’t stay to hear my remarks …, here is what I said: ‘Rahm Emanuel is passionate about Israel. He deeply understands our history and is committed to ensuring our secure future. He is a friend of the people of Israel and is a personal friend of mine,’” Mr. Oren said, quoting his remarks to the university audience.

“And I mean every word of it,” he added.

“You were always there when Israel needed you, and you always give it to us straight,” Mr. Oren said.

The Chicago News Cooperative on Thursday published the letter in a report on Mr. Emanuel’s difficulty in convincing American Jewish critics that he supports Israel in its struggle against hostile Islamic governments.

The news item said that some “Jewish activists” are concerned that President Obama’s “handling of relations with Israel could potentially hurt his candidacy.”

Other American Jews believe that Mr. Emanuel represented a strong Jewish voice in the Obama administration, the News Cooperative said.

In Israel, Mr. Obama is supported by between 6 percent and 12 percent of the Jewish citizens, according to recent public opinion polls. Mr. Emanuel is often blamed for promoting anti-Israel policies.

“Emanuel is widely perceived as being a self-hating Jew who is determined to prove himself to Obama by sticking it to Israel,” Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote in August.

‘DANGEROUS’ MAN

The U.S. ambassador in Bulgaria is urging the government to keep a close watch on the suspected mastermind of an organized crime syndicate who was released on house arrest this week.

Ambassador James Warlick told the Bulgarian Television Network on Thursday that he was surprised by the Sofia Court of Appeals decision to confine Alexei Petrov to his home instead of holding him in jail until his trial on racketeering charges.

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