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11 February 2009


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I have one question I'd like an answer too.

The United States of America has never insisted to any Government in the Middle East ( Far as can tell) that it accepts a Zionist Jew as America's official representative.

Not even in the case of Israel ( No Jew has ever been appointed as the US Ambassador to Israel).

Why is Iran being singled out for treatment it's obvious it will reject?

Either Aaron David Miller has been singled out for failure by those hostile to his aims and hopes.

Or he is co-operating in an effort to bring down any chance of a peaceable Iran-US understanding.


Patrick Lang


You are mistaken. There have been any number of people appointed to be the official representatives of the United States to various Muslim countries and entities who could only be described as Zionist Jews. Someone will give you a list. pl


Are you sure you want to send the villain from No Country For Old Men on a diplomatic mission to Iran?


DaveGood, Marc Grossman was the US Ambassador to Turkey under Clinton.

I believe Morocco was another country which had a Jewish ambassador at some point.


For what it's worth, here is a list of Jewish-Americans who served as United States Ambassador to Israel:

Samuel W. Lewis Foreign Service Officer 1977-05-25 1985-05-31
William C. Harrop Foreign Service Officer 1991-01-21 1993-05-07
Martin S. Indyk Non-career appointee 1995-04-10 1997-09-27
Martin S. Indyk Non-career appointee 2000-01-25 2001-07-13
Daniel C. Kurtzer Foreign Service Officer 2001-07-18 2005-07-17

It's more meaningful, if I may, to ask why the question of whether the aforementioned individuals are Zionists would be any different than whether an Iranian-born US ambassador to Teheran had a personal belief in the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic...

... and the only important question, of course, is whether said individual would represent and defend the interests of the United States professionally and independently of personal motivations (and perhaps even in contradiction with them, if necessary... and when possible, where in the absence of such adaptability an honorable resignation would follow naturally).

In fact, the only question that remains and that applies to us all is whether someone can be a Zionist (though that can mean many things all by itself) while also endorsing the legitimate claims of the Palestinian people...

... though the answer to that question is far easier to formulate than is a resolution to the conundrum reflected by an honest consideration of the conflicting implications of either premise both internally and relative to each other.



So far I have found only two occasions where the USA decided to appoint a Jew as it's representative to a Middle East Muslim country, both Clinton appointments, one to Egypt, the second to Morocco.

If the purpose of sending an Envoy to Iran is to bring about a lowering of tension between America and Iran....

Then this "effort" will fail before it gets off the blocks.

Whatever Aaron David Miller's merits....

Hardliners in Tehran will have no difficulty at all selling the idea that America sends a Zionist Jew as it's mouthpiece is a direct intentional insult.

The people who selected Aaron David Miller know this.



Thanks Eakens and Batondor.

I was not aware that for the last 40 years till the present day ( With some interruptions) America's relationship with Israel was steered by appointees who were Jews.

ever heard the term "Gone Native"?




Over here in the UK we had a superb drama-comedy serial, written by people on the inside, that examined the Culture of Governmental Bureaucracy.

It was called "Yes Minister"... later series were called "Yes Prime Minister"... If you get the chance watch them, not just for the pleasure, but also for the insights.

The last paragraph of your post is a prime example of a "Sir Humphrey" moment.

A portentous statement with no discernible meaning or content.



I was soooo relieved that the kerfuffle Ross didn't get the position. [Sigh of relief]


A few of these have already been mentioned but here are a few more 20th Century Jewish-American Ambasadors:

Martin Indyk
Daniel Kurtzer

Daniel Kurtzer
Frank G. Wisner
Simon Wolf

Matthew Takash

Ottoman Empire
Henry Morgenthau Sr.
Abram Elkus
Oscar Strauss

Eric Edelman
Marc Grossman
Laurence Steinhardt

Marc Charles Ginsburg

Edward Hurwitz

Sengal & Mauritania
Philip Kaiser

David Satterfield

I guess there are technically more Christians than Muslims in Lebanon, I don't know if Mr. Satterfield's name belongs on the list of 'ambasadors to Muslim countries'.

Patrick Lang


So far as I know, he hss not been appointed to anything, but, I disagree with you in your opinion that his appointment would necessarily be seen as an insult in Tehran. They are smarter than that.


I don't think that Satterfield is Jewish, but Feltmann or Feldman the recent ambassador in Lebanon certainly is. pl


Christians make about 30% of Lebanon's population.


Pat, I won't take credit for the exhaustive and illuminating list offered by Keith - I frankly didn't have the energy or curiosity to look that deeply into it...

... but I think the implications of potentially insulting a foreign power with a provocative appointment are obvious:

1) as far as I know, they are not obliged to accept the credentials of a new ambassador, so if truly insulted they can act accordingly...

2) sending an extremist ideologue or transparent provocateur would surely be a basis for your critique, but that does not seem to be the case here at all and it would apply in general and to both parties...

3) nor should a country send someone who would not be received automatically as a friend of the nation to which he or she was posted...

At the end of the day, I guess DaveGood would suggest that only people who reject the legitimacy of Zionism in any form would be qualified to represent the US in Iran... or perhaps in the entire the Middle East...


One last point, Pat: you're correct to indicate that Miller is not being postulated for the post of ambassador but rather as 'special envoy' and so maybe the notion of 'credentials' is not in play... but then again, we don't have full diplomatic relations with Iran at this time, so I suppose the contrast is not meaningful...


Interesting developments.

What's Schroeder doing in Tehran? This is a surprise. (Germany-Iran economic tie defrosting? Bush really killed german economy 2 yrs ago asking for dropping Iran export.)


Reporting from Washington -- Veteran Mideast peace negotiator Dennis B. Ross, who was widely expected to be named special envoy to Iran, has been given a less ambitious mission as the Obama administration continues to weigh how best to deal with the Islamic Republic.

President Obama named prominent negotiators to represent the administration in the Middle East and South Asia, and Ross was expected to be given a corresponding assignment for Iran.


Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is under fire for meeting Iran's president but his visit to Tehran may help Western nations in their efforts to negotiate with Iran on its nuclear programme.


ark your calendar, the show plot has been written.


In his lecture last week to senior IDF officers, Barak sketched the outlines of the Israeli approach in the coming months. Israel hopes that potential U.S.-Iranian talks will be relatively short-term, and harbors few illusions about a positive outcome.

When and if talks fail, Israel would expect the U.S. to head an international move for immediate and harsher sanctions, this time effectively involving Russia, China and India. The assumption is that Obama will find it easier than Bush to urge the world to pressure Iran, especially after he shows he has taken dialogue as far as it can go.

Israel would prefer for the Americans to condition their talks with Iran on freezing uranium enrichment during the talks.

The oversight system now allows reasonable follow-up on whether Tehran is meeting this condition. In the 15 years of Tehran's contacts with the international community, it has proven itself a master of deception and delay and Israel is concerned that the Iranians will use the dialogue as a feint, while steadily moving closer to a bomb.

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