Pro-Israel groups concerned about anti-Israel past of new Biden press secretary

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on July 30, 2021. Credit: Official White House Photo by Erin Scott.

(JNS) — The new press secretary at the White House—appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden this week and set to take over for current press secretary Jen Psaki on May 13 — is raising concerns with some in the pro-Israel community for her previous work with anti-Israel organizations.

Karine Jean-Pierre, who currently serves as principal deputy press secretary, will be the first black and LGBTQ person to hold the position.

After the president’s announcement on May 5, Jean-Pierre, a Haitian American, was brought to the White House’s daily briefing by Psaki. Jean-Pierre will assume the role after Psaki’s exit.

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people,” the president said in a statement.

News of her appointment also came with criticism about her role as national spokesperson and senior adviser with the left-wing political group from April 2016 to August 2020, a group that supported the boycott of AIPAC and challenged anti-BDS laws.

In a 2019 op-ed in Newsweek, Jean-Pierre said that candidates cannot call themselves a progressive if they supported AIPAC.

“Unfortunately, AIPAC’s policy and conference speaker choices aren’t its only problems. Its severely racist, Islamophobic rhetoric has proven just as alarming,” Jean-Pierre wrote. “The organization has become known for trafficking in anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while lifting up Islamophobic voices and attitudes.”

“As a child of Holocaust survivors and as an American Jew, I am appalled and frightened that Biden has chosen Ms. Jean-Pierre, who has shown essentially anti-Semitic hostility towards Israel, and is willing to lie about and vilify Israel and Jews to promote her Israelophobic agenda,” Mort Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, said in a statement. “Americans should be deeply concerned that this outrageous, incomprehensible anti-Israel, pro-terrorist and pro-Iran appointment indicates the dangerous direction the Biden administration is going to take against America’s greatest ally Israel and U.S.-Israel relations.”

Others have raised questions of conflict of interest due to Jean-Pierre being married to CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.

A CNN spokesman told The Washington Free Beacon that Malveaux “will continue her role as CNN national correspondent covering national/international news and cultural events but will not cover politics, Capitol Hill or the White House while Karine Jean-Pierre is serving as White House press secretary.”