A swathe of Jewish organizations in the US has rebuked Biden’s latest pick for press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, a Haitian American, who has had a track record of taking anti-Israel stances.
Some Jewish organizations are pushing back at the president’s choice, concerned over Jean-Pierre’s previous positions on Israel and pro-Israel organizations, such as AIPAC, and what that would mean for how the Biden administration communicates its policies towards Israel.
Most of what’s known about Jean-Pierre’s perspective on the U.S.-Israel relationship comes from a period when she served as national spokesperson and senior adviser for the left-wing political group MoveOn.org from April 2016 to August 2020, a group that supported the boycott of AIPAC and challenged anti-BDS laws. Little is known about her previous thoughts on the topic.
In an op-ed in 2020, she suggested that supporting pro-Israel organizations such as AIPAC was not in keeping with progressive values and said that presidential candidates who skipped speaking at its annual policy conference, the last in-person conference since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March of that year, made the “right call”.
“The views expressed by Ms. Jean-Pierre are not consistent with the pro-Israel position of President Biden and his administration,” said AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann. “For that reason, the administration needs to give assurances that her hostile views on Israel will not shape policy or communications in any way.”
The American Jewish Committee also weighed in saying, “We are confident that the president’s half-century record on Israel and the importance of the U.S.-Israel alliance will continue to be reflected in administration policy,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC’s chief policy and political affairs officer.
The Zionist Organization of America’s national president, Mort Klein wrote, “As a child of Holocaust survivors and as an American Jew, I am appalled and frightened that Biden has chosen Ms. Jean-Pierre, who has shown essentially anti-Semitic hostility towards Israel, and is willing to lie about and vilify Israel and Jews to promote her Israelophobic agenda. Americans should be deeply concerned that this outrageous, incomprehensible anti-Israel, pro-terrorist and pro-Iran appointment indicates the dangerous direction the Biden administration is going to take against America’s greatest ally Israel and U.S.-Israel relations.”