Bush Packs the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council

In a rush of appointments prior to leaving office, President Bush is naming key supporters to a number of presidential commissions. Today Bush left his stamp on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial, which I wrote about a few weeks back. Here is the list of appointments:

 

Elliot Abrams, of Virginia, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Joshua B. Bolten, of the District of Columbia, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Alan I. Casden, of California, for the remainder of a five-year term expiring 01/15/11;

 

Michael Chertoff, of New Jersey, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

William Danhof, of Michigan, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Sanford Gottesman, of Texas, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Cheryl Feldman Halpern, of New Jersey, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

J. David Heller, of Ohio, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Amy Kaslow, of Maryland, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

M. Ronald Krongold, of Florida, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Michael B. Mukasey, of New York, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09;

 

Daniel Silva, of the District of Columbia, for a five-year term beginning 01/16/09.

 

The list includes many of Bush’s biggest allies in the Jewish community. Notice Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

What makes Bush’s appointments here interesting is the degree to which the Holocaust Memorial has become an object of bipartisan support — to the point where appointment to its council is considered a political plum with which to reward diehard backers.

There was a time during the Clinton Administration, when conservatives, particularly neocons viewed the Holocaust Memorial with suspicion.  In 1993, Philip Gourevitch (not really a neocon, but writing for the Forward in its conservative incarnation) wrote a groundbreaking piece critical of the memorial in Harpers. Jonathan Rosen critqued it in the New York Times the same year. And my friend Ira Stoll described the museum as a “a playpen for Clinton loyalists” in the Wall Street Journal in 2001.

Now the Bushies will have the Memorial with which to play.

 

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One Response to “Bush Packs the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council”

  1. Andrew Kaslow Says:

    I’m glad that you don’t count my sister, Amy Kaslow, among the
    rogue’s gallery of neocons, Bush loyalists, and right-wing contributors
    who are named in Bush’s last flurry of appointments. She is NONE of those things. She came Very highly recommended, and as far as I can
    tell, was the ONLY merit appointment. George Bush never even HEARD
    of her prior to her appointment. Needless to say, I’m very proud of her AND the other great work she does. Why don’t you ‘google’ her ?

    Thanks,
    Ak

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