Chicago re-elects Jewish mayor and former White House official Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office when Emanuel served as Obama's of staff in 2009. Credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

( Chicago's Jewish mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was re-elected Tuesday in the city’s first mayoral runoff since changing its election procedures 20 years ago. Emanual defeated his opponent, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, 56-44 percent.

Emanuel was first elected mayor of Chicago in 2011. He previously served as White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama.

Though Emanuel was born in Chicago, his Israeli father, Benjamin Emanuel, was involved with the Zionist militia organization Irgun, which fought for Israeli independence prior to the Jewish state’s establishment in 1948. Emanuel was a dual American-Israeli citizen until the age of 18, and he volunteered for a civilian program run by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the Gulf War.

Emanuel’s views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, however, have come under scrutiny in the pro-Israel community. In a recent interview with The New Republic, he said, “Hamas is as weak as it’s going to be. [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas is ready to work with Israel. Israel has a security concern involving geography. But geography does not have the same value it did in 1967. And I want to say that there is nothing I just said that major figures in the national security apparatus of the IDF and Israel haven’t said publicly. Nothing!”

Additionally, Emanuel lamented that American politicians are “not allowed” to express the same criticism of Israel that is being expressed by Israeli politicians.

Posted on April 8, 2015 .