The Jewish Chronicle, 15th December, 2000:
Jews to the fore in likely Bush cabinet
By Martin Sieff, Washington
It is yet another paradox in a presidential campaign year that has abounded with them: Texas Governor George W. Bush won less than 20 per cent of the Jewish American vote, and far more Arab-American votes than his opponent, Vice-President Al Gore. Yet in the end, Bush may be surrounded by even more pro-Israel advisers than Gore would have been.
His top two foreign-policy officials are expected to be African-Americans - General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as Secretary of State; and Condoleeza Rice, former head of the Soviet desk at the National Security Council, as National Security Adviser. Both have strong Jewish connections.
Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, speaks Yiddish, which he learned as a boy while working for a Jewish grocer in New York City.
He has won the hearts of American Jewish audiences, including those at the annual policy conferences of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, with a fluency few of them could have matched.
General Powell was an advocate of sending Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries to defend Israel from Iraqi Scud attacks during the 1991 Gulf War.
He has always shown strong sympathy with the Jewish state.
Ms Rice numbers among her own close advisers Richard Haas, director of foreign policy and security studies at Washington's prestigious Brookings Institution, and Dov Zakheim, former deputy under-secretary of defence under President Reagan. Both are Jewish. Zakheim, in fact, has semichah.
He and another prominent Jewish Republican, Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy-secretary of defence under President George Bush, have been in Governor Bush and Ms Rice's inner circle of advisers - nicknamed "The Magnificent Seven."
If the younger Bush is confirmed as president by the Electoral College on December 18, Wolfowitz can look forward to cabinet rank, and Zakheim a high sub-cabinet posting - probably as a deputy to the Secretary of Defence. Bush is seeking to recruit a Democratic senator for that post.
Mr Wolfowitz, who had his eyes set on becoming Secretary of Defence, looks like being moved sideways - possible as director of the CIA, still a powerful post.
Colin Powell has always been close to Governor Bush's vice-presidential nominee, Dick Cheney. Cheney, as President Bush's Secretary of Defence, was broadly sympathetic to Israel - if strongly opposed to releasing convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who has served 15 years of a life sentence.
If Bush is confirmed, one familiar face from Middle East policy-making will finally be missing after more than a decade in that role. Wolfowitz, Zakheim and other key Bush advisers are said to want to replace US peace negotiator Dennis Ross, who has already announced he did not wish to stay on in the post. Mr Ross, however, may be replaced by another Jewish policy expert, with Mr Haas seen as a front-runner.
Former US Secretary of State James Baker - bete noire to pro-Israel activists during George Bush Sr's administration - has been key in the younger Bush's transition team. But Neither General Powell nor Ms Rice is said to favour his having a major foreign-policy role.
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