One often does not know the “real reasons” for someone’s departure, but most administration-watchers thought Ross was the top aide to Obama on Iran and the Middle East generally. So the announcement that he will be out next month is certainly significant.
The New York Times reported the story with a photo of Ross with Arafat, but the reporting focused on his ties with Jews and the Government of Israel. And Ross himself made the announcement in a meeting with American Jewish leaders.
Is he leaving because he’s finally had enough of trying to advance a “peace process” that was, from the beginning, doomed? Or was he encouraged to leave by those who disagreed with his well-known methods of slowly, patiently, trying to reach consensus in a part of the world that is on the brink of war? Or does he have personal reasons? I don’t know, although I do believe that the key person in the White House on these matters has always been Obama’s closest aide, Valerie Jarrett.
It’s an important event, whatever his motives, and I’m sure there will be more. Surely it will not reassure American Jews that Obama isn’t viscerally negative on Israel, a view significantly reinforced by the president’s snarky remarks about Netanyahu in a brief exchange with Sarkozy.