New US Mideast director takes the helm at White House
(Jerusalem Post) -- by HILARY LEILA KRIEGER --
WASHINGTON – When Steven Simon, the new US National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, kicked off his introductory phone call with leaders of the Jewish community recently, he touched on a lengthy résumé including stints at the NSC in the Clinton White House and as a Middle East expert at the RAND Corporation and the Council on Foreign Relations.
But Simon also mentioned having traveled to Israel several times, not only professionally but personally as well.
“Clearly he did that to establish some kind of Jewish rapport,” said one Washington Jewish official on the off-record call, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “People didn’t really know” about his experience with Israel.
The official said making such a connection was important because as opposed to the figures who preceded him in the role – Dan Shapiro, who was recently appointed US ambassador to Israel, and Elliott Abrams, who served in the Bush White House – who were familiar to the Jewish community, Simon is a relative unknown.
“Their being Jewish and Jewishly active and known commodities within the Jewish community played a role in their selection,” he said of Shapiro and Abrams. “Steven Simon is Jewish and has some Jewish contacts, but it’s on a very different level.”...MORE...LINK
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