WASHINGTON (JTA) — Dennis Ross emphatically denied any indication that he no longer supported President Obama.
“The idea of trying to get a sense that there is a split with the president is completely untrue,” Ross, Obama’s former top Iran adviser, told JTA on Tuesday.
Ross repeated comments he made to the Daily Beast/Newsweek over the weekend, in which he said that his position as a counselor to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy — an educational nonprofit subject to tax exemptions — keeps him from directly advising campaigns.
Additionally, Ross said, he has not accumulated enough leave since returning to the Washington Institute after he left government last December to take an absence and work for the Obama campaign, as he did in 2008, when he was a leading outreach official to the pro-Israel community.
The Daily Beast story in its headline cast Ross’ statement as a “split” between the Obama administration and a “key ally.”
Dismissing that notion, Ross said he was still advising the White House on policy.
“I’m asked to give my advice from time to time, and I give it,” he said, adding that when he speaks in public, “I’m supportive of the president.”
Ross blasted pro-Israel analysts who cast his position as a “split” as an attempt to make Israel a partisan issue.
“The one thing Israel cannot be or should not be is a partisan issue,” he said. “Anyone who wants to turn it into a partisan issue is not helping Israel.”