The day after the Biden administration launched its long-awaited nationwide technique to counter antisemitism final week, the plan’s architect — Home Coverage Council Director Susan Rice — departed the White Home.
The implementation of the technique will now fall to Rice’s substitute, Neera Tanden, a longtime Democratic operative who’s succeeding Rice as President Joe Biden’s prime home coverage advisor.
“If persons are considering they’re going to cellphone it in now that the technique is out, that isn’t going to occur on her watch,” mentioned Jarrod Bernstein, who served because the White Home liaison to the Jewish group through the Obama administration. “She’s a coverage particular person. She’s additionally a particulars particular person. So if companies have particular commitments and particular tasks that they’re answerable for, they’re going to be answerable for them, and he or she’s going to examine.” (Bernstein additionally serves as a co-host of Jewish Insider’s “Restricted Legal responsibility Podcast.”)
In a Could assertion saying Tanden’s appointment, Biden praised her “25 years of expertise in public coverage” and known as her “a key architect of the Inexpensive Care Act.” Early in his presidency, Biden had tapped Tanden to guide the Workplace of Administration and Finances, however she withdrew her identify from consideration amid considerations she didn’t have the votes for the Senate-confirmed place. She has spent the final two years as a senior advisor and White Home workers secretary.
A White Home spokesperson instructed JI on Wednesday that Tanden “will take a lead position in implementing” the antisemitism technique, and that she “appears ahead to vigorously and expeditiously implementing the technique by means of an ongoing interagency course of.”
Tanden, 52, has been a prime Democratic social gathering operative for the reason that Clinton administration. Throughout the 2016 presidential marketing campaign, whereas she served because the president of the influential liberal assume tank Middle for American Progress (CAP), Tanden grew to become a fierce defender of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and a lightning rod for criticism from far-left supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), whose marketing campaign she opposed. A prolific tweeter, Tanden has additionally garnered widespread opposition from Republicans, who attacked her throughout her OMB nomination course of for a historical past of tweeting scathing insults at Republicans.
“She is a realistic progressive, proper subsequent to Hillary [Clinton], by way of in case your objective — in case your definition of progressive is somebody who believes that authorities ought to work to make lives higher, now and sooner or later, how will we greatest get that executed?” mentioned Ann Lewis, who served as White Home communications director underneath former President Invoice Clinton and is now the co-chair of Democratic Majority for Israel.
Tanden engendered some enemies on the left, who nonetheless have vivid recollections of the 2016 marketing campaign. The Intercept wrote in April that Tanden “would carry an uncommon quantity of intra-party polarization, to place it gently, to a task that requires broad coalition constructing.”
“Joe Biden is a mainstream centrist Democrat, and so his workers goes to mirror that,” mentioned Bernstein. “When you had been on the lookout for one thing apart from that, there are going to be moments the place that distinction annoys you.”
When requested about Tanden’s conflicts with some segments of the Democratic Social gathering, former Obama administration deputy press secretary Eric Schultz mentioned he trusts Biden’s decisions: “The president has confidence in her, and that’s all the remainder of us have to know,” Schultz mentioned.
At CAP, Tanden additionally presided over an early intra-Democratic Social gathering feud round Israel, when pro-Israel advocates put stress on the group after one in all its staffers had tweeted utilizing language seen by many within the Jewish group to be antisemitic.
“It was one of many first cases wherein a mainstream Democratic establishment was actually contaminated with this type of tremendous anti-Zionist, actually hostile, fairly nasty stuff,” mentioned Josh Block, the previous CEO of The Israel Mission and a former AIPAC spokesperson, who had urged folks in his community to publicly go after CAP through the 2012 incident. The staffer quickly left CAP.
“When this was known as to her consideration, she mounted it, type of firmly, quietly, and moved CAP again to the place it needs to be, which is de facto one of many main locations wherein Democrats out and in of workplace can speak about good coverage and learn how to make it occur,” mentioned Lewis, who has been near Tanden since they labored collectively on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate marketing campaign.
Tanden finally got here out on the aspect of Israel’s backers within the Democratic Social gathering, incomes her reward from pro-Israel stalwarts. On Wednesday, AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr instructed JI that “the pro-Israel group and Jewish leaders loved a really optimistic working relationship with Neera throughout her profession in Washington.”
In 2015, CAP once more sparked controversy amongst some on the left when the assume tank hosted a dialog with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The occasion was eight months after a number of Democrats boycotted Netanyahu’s deal with to Congress, when he had been invited by Republican leaders who had not knowledgeable President Barack Obama, and plenty of within the social gathering had been nonetheless livid on the Israeli chief for circumventing the president. A number of former CAP staffers criticized the transfer, with one saying it was a ploy for Netanyahu to achieve “progressive validation.” (Netanyahu was additionally criticized by some on the correct for talking on the left-wing group.)
“By moderating a dialog with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2015, she affirmed that we will and may have constructive conversations with our allies, maybe particularly once we don’t agree with them,” mentioned Rachel Rosen, who labored at CAP for 5 years underneath Tanden and who’s now the communications director at Democratic Majority For Israel. “She made positive CAP was the place to advance huge coverage concepts, permitting for respectful disagreements, and made clear there was no place for antisemitism at CAP or inside the Democratic Social gathering.”
Now that the antisemitism technique has been launched, it’s not clear what’s subsequent for the White Home efforts to combat antisemitism. The plan included greater than 100 coverage actions that government companies pledged to take inside the 12 months however didn’t lay out how they’d see these priorities by means of.
“If [Tanden] is answerable for the implementation of that plan, I feel we will rely on her to be ally,” mentioned Block.