(JNS.org) President-elect Donald Trump announced the selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the next attorney general.
Sessions, 69, a former Alabama attorney general and U.S. attorney, will serve as Trump’s top law enforcement officer as the president-elect seeks to tackle divisive issues such as immigration.
This selection, however, is not without controversy, as Sessions has been dogged by past allegations of racism. In 1986, Sessions became only the second nominee in a half century to be denied confirmation as a federal judge, largely due to allegations that he made racist statements to an African-American prosecutor. He also called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union “un-American.”
As such, Sessions is likely to face stiff opposition from liberal and minority groups in his confirmation bid over his past as well as his tough stances on immigration where he enthusiastically supports Trump’s proposal of building a wall along the Mexican border.
Nevertheless, as a firm conservative Republican, Sessions has largely been a reliable supporter of Israel during his two decades in the Senate, where he has served on the Armed Services and Judiciary committees.
In recent years, Sessions has staunchly opposed the Iranian nuclear deal, has urged President Barack Obama to veto measures targeting Israel at the United Nations, and has supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rockets.
Sessions was also honored last year by the Alabama Jewish community for his efforts as a “friend of Israel.”
"Your hometown Jewish community appreciates your steadfast support for Israel in the Senate," said Larry Voit, past president of Mobile, Alabama's Jewish Federation. "It's important to us that you've been a leader in Congress for the principle that it's in the national interest of the U.S. to ally itself with Israel because of shared values and a commitment to democratic freedom and the protection of religious practices and holy sites of all religious groups."