January 2, 2013
Two weeks back, Forbes and CNBC reported that President Obama plans to nominate Stanley Fischer to be the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve if the current vice chair, Janet Yellen, is confirmed by the Senate as Fed chairwoman in the new year.
This would be a giant sop for the Israel lobby: Fischer is the former head of the Bank of Israel.
Fischer, a dual-citizen of the U.S. and Israel, served as the head of Israel’s central bank for eight-years before stepping down on June 30 of this year.
Fischer is disliked on the left because of his ruthless neoliberalism, as shown in this documentary about the International Monetary Fund, where he was once an exec. But the dual nationality question is also in play. Matthew Yglesias deemed Fischer extraordinarily well-qualified, but did arch an eyebrow:
This is a bit of a surprising development if only because Fischer didn’t seem to be seriously considered as a contender for the top Fed job. I figured that was either because Fischer wasn’t interested in a government job or because the White House deemed him insufficiently American. If either of those were the case, it would seem to disqualify him for the vice chairmanship too.
Grant Smith pushes the issue, writing at antiwar.com that American and Israeli people have different interests:
Appointing an openly dual Israeli-American citizen into the most important central bank in the world could be a watershed moment. While the doors of federal government have long swung open for Israel-lobby appointees focusing most—if not all—their energies on advancing the interests of a foreign state, any who were actually Israeli dual citizens have traditionally kept that a closely-guarded secret. Fischer’s long-term boosters, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), likely want to accustom Americans to openly dual citizens circulating between top roles in the U.S. and Israeli governments. A closer examination of Fischer reveals that average Americans have good reason to oppose his appointment, because his lifelong achievements for Israel have imposed high costs and few benefits to the United States while making peace more difficult to achieve.
You’d never learn this in the New York Times; but in what may have been a preemptive strike, Smith says that after the appointment was rumored, Fischer made it clear that he can be critical of the Israelis. The event was a forum on Israel at NYU Law School where Leon Wieseltier and Fischer and friends talked about the “miracle” of Israeli democracy. From the Jewish Week:
The highly respected former governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, told a New York audience the Netanyahu government is not doing enough to make peace with the Palestinians.
Israel is not seeking peace “to the extent that it should” and that it is “divided between those who want to settle the West Bank and those who seek peace,” Fischer told the forum on “Israel: the View from the Inside Out,” at NYU Law School’s Center on Law and Security, Chemi Shalev reported in Haaretz .
Again, not in the American press, neoconservative Seth Lipsky quips in Haaretz that the Yellen/Fischer double-play combination would put two socialist Zionists (formerly anyway) at the top of the Federal Reserve. Yellen is Jewish. I don’t know about her Zionist bona fides, Lipsky fails to establish them.