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Dennis Ross Back at State? Has He Been Vetted for Conflicts of Interest?
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 3 February 2009 - 1:03pm
NBC's Andrea Mitchell is reporting that Dennis Ross "will be coming back to the State Department as a 'strategic advisor' on the Near East and Gulf region":
He will not be described as an envoy negotiating agreements and will not be involved in Middle East talks. That job will be up to former Sen. George Mitchell, who returns tonight from his first "listening tour" of the region.
But before the papers are signed for Ross' new employment with the US government, he should be asked a few questions about his relationship with the "Jewish People Policy Planning Institute," that group's relationship to the Government of Israel, and whether he has had any relationships which he should have disclosed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In particular: is he still chair of the board of the Jerusalem-based "Jewish People Policy Planning Institute," as indicated by that organization's website? Is he planning to resign this position? Does JPPPI receive funds from the Jewish Agency, or any other arm of the Israeli government, or has it received such funds during any of the time Dennis Ross has been affiliated with it? If so, should he have filed as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? If he should have and did not, why did he fail to do so?
Some may complain that the allegation of "dual loyalty" is being raised against Dennis Ross, pointing to the racist history of that charge. But surely most Americans would agree that there should be one standard for all. It would be the height of hypocrisy and absurdity to rake Hillary Clinton over the coals because her husband's humanitarian foundation has received donations from Arab governments, while not even bothering to ask if Dennis Ross has been serving in a leadership capacity for an organization that may have received funding from the Israeli government.