Posted on 3/14/2017 1:40:30 PM
Recent Trump Appointments in Israel's Interest?

There are reports in the news of two questionable Trump administration appointments to important foreign policy positions that cause us to question President Trump's intentions vis a vis Israel and the Middle East.


The first is Michael Ratney, former U.S. consul to Jerusalem. He is one of John Kerry's closest confidantes, and is now in charge of the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio at the State Department.


If someone like Martin Indyk approves of this appointment, then it must be problematic. Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, has been described as the Obama administration's "anti-Israel apologist".


As reported (link above), while Ratney served as Jerusalem consul, he oversaw grants to OneVoice, a leftist non-profit that President Obama allegedly used to try to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's 2015 election.


About $350,000 was dumped into OneVoice to "build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama's campaign." The group hired a former top Obama campaign official, Jeremy Bird - described by The New York Times as "the architect" of the former president's grassroots campaign - in efforts to oust Netanyahu.


The article above continues that as U.S. consul to Jerusalem, Ratney was in charge of overseeing a controversial Palestinian arms training program that violated a 2011 agreement with the Israeli government, and then poses this fundamental question: Why has the Department of State, under Sec. Rex Tillerson, decided to designate John Kerry's deputy as the man in charge of Israeli-Palestinian peace?


So, why Ratney and what role will he play in the Trump administration?


The second troubling appointment is another former Obama administration official, Anne Patterson. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis selected her for undersecretary of defense for policy. If nominated and confirmed, Patterson would hold the third or fourth most powerful position at the Pentagon, and would be the top civilian in the Defense Department, since both Mattis and his deputy, Robert Work, were military officers.


According to reports, Patterson lobbied in favor of engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood. She was a prominent supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and led efforts to criticize Israeli counter-terrorism efforts. She was the U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2011 to 2013, and during that time was known in Egypt as the "Brotherhood's Stooge". She was considered one of the most hated individuals by the millions of Egyptians who took to the streets against Morsi and the Brotherhood in the months preceding Morsi's overthrow.


Detailed reporting on Patterson's appointment can be read in the Washington Free Beacon, Opposition Builds Against Mattis Pick Who Met With Muslim Brotherhood, and in PJMedia, Why Is General Mattis Nominating the 'Muslim Brotherhood's Stooge'?



While President Trump formulates his policy toward Israel, the "peace process", and Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, his special envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas on a fact-finding mission during the past two days. Trump, who has always bragged that he is the "master of the deal", might believe he can pull off the "deal of the century", a peace agreement between Israel and the "Palestinians". With appointments like Ratney and Patterson, he might want to think again.