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Dennis RossBy BERNIE BELLAN
Organizers of this year’s Tarbut (Festival of Culture) have really outdone themselves in landing Dennis Ross as one of the headline speakers.


A veteran diplomat, author, and educator, Ross has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Ross is perhaps best known for having served as Middle East Enovy during Bill Clinton’s term as President. It was during those years that, according to Wikipedia, Ross helped the “ Israelis and Palestinians reach the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, brokered the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron in 1997, facilitated the Israel–Jordan peace treaty and also worked on talks between Israel and Syria.”
In a new book,  titled “Doomed to Succeed” Ross looks back on his years of service in various American administrations and compares the frosty relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and American President Obama with other relationships between Israeli and Ameridcan leaders.
In an interview with Ynet, an online Israeli magazine, Ross suggested that no matter how bad things may seem between Netanyahu and Obama,  as far as he is concerned, “there is no other option for the special relationship between the two countries other than success.”
“Can one president and one prime minister destroy the relations?” asks the interview.
“Absolutely not, Ross says. After all the affairs, the relations improved. But the key, he believes is that the relations must not be taken for granted. They have to maintained, and both sides are responsible to work on that.
“In the administrations Ross has served in, he witnessed battles around the presidents between those who see Israel as a partner and those who see it as a burden. Incumbent National Security Advisor Susan Rice sees Netanyahu as an obstacle to the nuclear agreement and ordered Secretary of State John Kerry not to get him involved in the interim agreement reached with Iran two years ago.
" ‘When people read the book, it's a very straightforward description. Susan in many ways embody the mindset that exists in any administration. The book highlight the fact that if you go from Truman to Obama Administration, there are always those in the national security apparatus that look at Israel in lens of more as a competitor and less as a partner.
 
Criticized by both Palestinians and Israelis, Ross was still one of the most effective brokers in the long history of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Yet, Ross was also one of the founders of the American Jewish Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has grown into one of the most powerful lobby groups in Washington.
In 2009 Ross was appointed Special Advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Later that same year, again according to Wikipedia, “the White House announced that Ross was leaving the State Department to join the National Security Council staff as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, with overall responsibility for the region. The Central Region includes the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia.”
“On November 10, 2011, Ross stepped down from his post in the Obama administration. He currently serves on the advisory board for DC-based non-profit America Abroad Media. He also teaches at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service as the Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy.
Ross will be speaking Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 pm.

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