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January 30, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 30, 2009 PAGE 19A Mideast From page 1A countability Act through the Senate; the measure imposed tough sanctions on Syria until it stops backing terrorists and developing weapons of mass destruction. Shapiro helped draft Obama's hugely success- ful speech to the American Is- rael PublicAffairs Committee policy conference in May. Talwar, who will handle Per- sian Gulf issues--including Iran--also has a background in the Senate, working as a staffer for then Delaware Sen. Joe Biden on the Foreign Relations Committee. Talwar has a reputation for keep- ing AIPAC happy even as he tweaked the tough language it favored in ways that would not hamstring U. S. Middle East policy. His ability to "nuance," to use an overused Washington term, could stem from earlier stints at the State Department and at one of the U. N. agencies monitoring Israeli-Arab peace. George Mitchell, the former U. S. senator from Maine and a former majority leader, has been named envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Insiders have said that such an envoy will report to Clinton, leapfrog- ging Ross, but it won't be a "peace processer"---one of the many casualties, like Ross, of failed past attempts to broker a permanent peace. One would think that would count out Mitchell; his commission's recom- mendations in April 2001, on the way out of the second intifada, fell on deaf ears and the violence continued unabated for at least another year. The commission urged tougher Palestinian anti-ter- rorism measures, agreeing with Israel that the Palestin- ian Authority's efforts were inadequate. He also urged a settlement freeze. Mitchell, of Irish and Lebanese descent, was more successful in help- ing to broker the Northern Ireland accords. He also led investigations into steroid abuse in baseball. Eric Lynn, like Shapiro, was a senior Jewish outreach official for Obama during the campaign; he is said to be headed for a White House Middle East policy job. Lynn started his policy life as an AIPAC intern in 1998. He subsequently worked for U. S. Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) until Deutsch, one of the most committed pro-Israel figures in Congress, retired in 2004 after an unsuccessful Senate bid. Lynn spent a year studying in Israel and speaks Hebrew. James Steinberg and Jack Lew have been named as Clinton's deputies at State. Steinberg, as a national se- curity council staffer under President Clinton, had a strong relationship with the pro-Israel community. In 2002, as a senior Brookings Institution scholar, he told CNN that the onus was on then-Palestinian leader Yas- ser Arafat to end violence and on Arab nations to nudge him back toward peace talks--key talking points for the pro- Israel community. Lew, an Office of Management and Budget director under Presi- dent Clinton, will direct eco- nomic stimulus overseas. He is a Sabbath observer. Samantha Power, a geno- cide scholar, quit the Obama campaign in March after calling Clinton, then his ri- val, a "monster." Pro-Israel activists had been agitating for her removal in any case; in 2002, she had rushed to accuse Israel of war crimes during its Jenin operation and recommended an inter- national force to police the region. In recent weeks, Power has made reappear- ances as a member of Clinton's transition team--reportedly after an abject apology--and then among 50 or so Obama acolytes appearing in a New York Times Magazine photo- graphic portfolio. Before her departure last March, Obama aides insisted that Power's advicewas limited to genocide prevention--an area that had earned her deep Jewish friendships before her 2002 outbursts. She is married to Cass Sunstein, Obama' s top rule keeper as the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein is Jewish. * Rand Beers, a coun- terterrorism official from Presidents Reagan through George W. Bush, quit in 2003 just before the Iraq invasion, saying Bush's counterterror- ism strategy was misdirected. He became the lead national security adviser to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) during Ker- ry's presidential run in 2004, and built close relations with the pro-Israel community. Beers also advised Obama on counterterrorism, and will serve as a counselor to Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary designee. Beers is likely to be a linchpin as Israel and the United States forge a closer alliance in the area; Israel after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has trained U. S. security and first-responder officials, and the countries are sharing technology. Lee Feinstein and Mara Rudman are Jewish veterans of the Clinton administra- tion--Feinstein as a senior planning official at the State Department, Rudman as a Na- tional Security Council staffer involved in the Oslo process. Feinstein, a Council on For- eign Relations scholar, was a lead adviser to Hillary Clinton during her presidential bid and accompanied Clinton to her Senate confirmation hearings earlier this month. Rudman became a private consultant and helped bro- ker the Holocaust insurance compensation deal under the International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims. With the Center for American Progress, she also established Middle East Prog- ress, an e-mail bulletin that compiles an array think pieces on the area and aims to bal- ance the conservative slant of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Daily Alert. Rudman appeared on stage with Obama just before the election as one of his senior foreign policy advisers. Even as pro-Israel organi- zations and activists attempt to make sense of the rumors regarding the midlevel picks, they have a high level of familiarity with the people at the top: Gen. James Jones, the for- mer NATO commander who is Obama's pick for national security adviser, is the "it makes sense" guy. When he commanded NATO, it made sense to intensify the regional relationship with Israel, and the Israelis loved it. More recently, when he oversaw compliance with Israeli-Pal- estinian peace agreements, it made sense to train Palestin- ian security forces and it didn't make sense for the Israelis to get in the way--making him rather less enamored by the Israelis. * Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, has been one of Israel's fastest friends in her eight years in the Senate, taking the lead in bringing to light anti-Jewish and anti-Is- rael incitement by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and threatened to obliterate Iran if it launched a nuclear weapon at Israel. As first lady, she was a stalking horse for Palestinian statehood, angering some in the pro-Israel establishment at the time. Since then, how- ever, it's become a non-issue, as virtually everyone is for a Palestinian state. * Vice President Joe Biden, expected to take a leading foreign policy role, has a history of arguing with Is- rael and its U. S. friends--of course, he has a history of arguing with everyone, including himself. When it comes to bottom-line sup- port, pro-Israel insiders say he is solid, with a deep un- derstanding of the issue. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a carry-over from the Bush administration. Gates is the "realist" brought in to cor- rect the sharp ideological tilt warfare had taken under his predecessor, Donald Rums- feld. Gates' refusal to count out engagementwith Iran--if only as a practical matter, in terms of allowing Iraq's neighbors a stake in how it fits into the region--dovetails with Obama's own pledge to reach out more to the Islamic Republic. Susan Rice, U.N. ambas- sador, at the Cabinet level. Rice signed onto a Washing- ton Institute for Near East Policy paper last summer calling for greater Israel-U. S. coordination on Iran policy. More recently, in Senate tes- timony, she accused the world body of singling out Israel for blame. Segal From page IA religion. Doing good without expecting anything in return is something that guides me." When he speaks to non-Jewish audiences, he refers to one of his favorite Bible verses: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days." (Ecclesiastes 11:1) For Segal, this well-known phrase provides the perfect way to illustrate tzedakah. "I am not a lifetime politi- cian," said Segal. "I had a business career, I grew up here, saw the city expand, and feel I have some unique talents that I could bring to the endeavor of mayor." He served for eight years on the St. Johns RiverWater Manage- ment District. "I understand water, which is going to be a big issue," along with growth management and jobs. Hewants Orange County to "remain a more compact area" with "less sprawl." In 2013, he said, Orange County would be "limited by the water man- agement district about how much water we can withdraw from the ground." He said he'd make up the difference through conservation and the use of desalinization. He wants to keep high-wage employers in the area, such as the new medical school at the University of Central Florida, the burgeoning and little-known modeling and simulation industry, and other technology-driven busi- nesses that contract with military purchasing offices. One.thing he'd like to do as mayor is to hold more workshops for the commis- sioners to facilitate long-range planning, "to talk about big ideas." Segal is a founding direc- tor of the Coalition for the Homeless, and has served on a variety of other charitable and business boards. He's a "big believer in social justice" and "kind of a political moderate type" who takes "progressive" or "conservative" positions depending on the issues. He believes that "government has to provide for those unable to do for themselves." "A lot of people think that because I'm a businessman, they figure you're a Republi- can, and I tell my Republican friends that if you don't have a vibrant middle class, it's not going to do anybody any good." He believes in higher wages for workers, but also calls himself "a law and order guy." "There are some people that you can't redeem." He doesn't want to take young people arrested for violent crimes and "stick them in 25 different programs." "I don't want to turn them loose on society again." "The number one job for government is the protection of its citizenry." The Sentinel reported that Segal raised $158,845 in De- cember 2008, and he says that makes him the frontrunner among the candidates."I have an uncanny ability to raise funds, and I think it comes from having deep roots in the community." And he connects it with tzedakah: "Cast your bread... If you do good in your early years in the community, when you get to your 50s it pays off." "I raise my own funds almost exclusively through personal contacts." But "it's not just money." He's been meeting with various com- munity groups, such as Indian Americans, Hispanic Ameri- cans and Iranian Americans. "These aren't new people to me. They're people I'veworked with for decades. I have not been isolated." Segal has been married to his wife Sara for 30 years. She takes an active role in the local arts scene. They're proud of their sons: Zach, 26, works with a high-tech flight simulation company, and 24-year-01dJoe is finishing a master's thesis in mathemat- ics at UCF. Asked to leave readers with some closing advice, Segal said, "Citizens really need to pay attention to their [personal] finances and be better donors when it comes to charities, giving to the ones where the dollars go the furthest." He also urges people to "take part more in their government. We have loads of meetings and very few people attend." He wants his constituents to "stay in touch." Rabbi From page 8A "Had I pulled out it would have been something of an in- sult from the Orthodox com- munity, which was at least the way I felt," Lookstein said. He also said that he heav- ily weighed the halachic implications of his move, and though he would not ordinar- ily participate in an interfaith prayer service, especially one in a church, in this case he felt "there were other concerns." "If I reached a decision to do it, since I am very careful about shmirat mitzvot, you should conclude that I felt AIPAC From page 10A "Some of it is verbiage, how to go about supporting Israel," he said, but AIPAC also taught him about the issue of divest- ment from Iran, which he then spoke about with voters in his district. "I've always been a good halachically this was the right thing to do," Lookstein said. "I am not going around and making a decision for the world." Lookstein, who read a re- ligiously neutral statement scripted by National Prayer Service organizers, called the experience very moving. He also met Obama after the reading and recited to the new president the blessing Jews say when they come into the presence of a king--only after Obama gave him per- mission. "I thanked him for his sup- port of Israel, and I urged him to remember the unforget- table statement he made in Sderot, where he said, 'If any- body would shoot rockets into my house while my daughters were sleeping, I would do anything in my power to make sure they wouldn't do it again,' " Lookstein said. "He responded with a clear assent." The other four religious representatives to read part of the prayer were Ingrid Matt- son, president of the Islamic Society of North America; the Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners; Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple arguer," said Miccarelli, but "they do such a good job at teaching people how to more effectively get their thoughts across." "They're not just building Israel advocates," he said, "they're building future lead- ers on a variety of issues." Sellers said he is still learning about the Middle East but credits AIPAC with helping develop his foreign policy. "One day, if I ever do any- thing else," said Sellers, "the start I got in understanding issues outside Denmark, S.C., began with my experiences with AIPAC." Society of NorthAmerica; the Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, senior pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship in New York City; the Rev. Carol Wade Attacks From page 11A logue group, the French Judeo-Muslim Friendship organization. The mosque issued a statement last week complaining of the "total absence of condemnations" of Israel's operation in Gaza from the group's Jewish contingent, according to AFP. The Jewish representative to the group, Rabbi Michel Serfaty, insisted he would not slow his efforts with the remaining Muslims in the group, which was assembled five years ago. "Prejudice can'tbe changed -overnight," Serfaty said. "It's possible thatwhat hap- pens thousands of kilometers away can undo all our work," of the Washington National Cathedral; and Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor of the Windsor Village United Meth- odist Church in Houston. Earlier in the program Rabbi David Saperstein, the Reform movement's top repre- sentative in Washington, was to recite Psalm 121. acknowledged a member of the Council of Jewish Com- munities, Andre Benayoun, at a synagogue in southern Paris on Jan. 16, where a back door was set ablaze by arsonists the day before. Among other things, the council urges local politicians to prevent anti-Semitism through security measures and dialogue with Muslim leaders. "We can never let our arms down, never resign," Benay- oun said of efforts to reach out to Muslims. We must "just start over systematically." 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