POLITICS

Clinton Surrogates Question Obama's Commitment To Israel

03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The comment seemed like a casual aside. Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, was touting the New York senator's strong support for Israel during a conference call in January with leaders of major American Jewish organizations. During the call, Lewis energetically contrasted Clinton's pro-Israel credentials with those of Barack Obama. To make her point, she said that Obama's "chief foreign-policy adviser" is Zbigniew Brzezinski, says one participant who would talk about the call only if he were not identified.

Brzezinski--the former national-security adviser to Jimmy Carter--is not Obama's "chief foreign-policy adviser." That is the job of a triumvirate who once worked for Bill Clinton: Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Greg Craig. But Brzezinski, who tells NEWSWEEK he has advised Obama "only on occasion," has a reputation that is close to toxic in the American Jewish community. "When Brzezinski's name appears on an advisory list, that's a red flag right away," says an influential American Jewish leader who did not want to sour relations with the Obama campaign. Many American Jews mistrust Brzezinski because he endorsed a 2006 article, later a book, called "The Israel Lobby," which blames many U.S. foreign-policy problems on Washington's ties to Israel.

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