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The Times Discovers Dan Senor

But not before Allison Hoffman did

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Dan Senor with Paul Bremer in Iraq(Getty)

Romney adviser Dan Senor is having quite a week. He made headlines in Jerusalem when he got “a little ahead” of his candidate in declaring that Romney would “understand” if Israel unilaterally attacked Iran. And now he is getting the profile treatment in The Times:

Moments after making remarks in Jerusalem about Middle East culture that enraged Palestinians and undermined the public relations value of his trip to Israel, Mitt Romney looked around the room for Dan Senor, one of his campaign’s top foreign policy advisers.

It was Mr. Senor’s book about entrepreneurs in Israel that informed his comments, Mr. Romney explained to the group of Jewish-American donors he had assembled at the King David hotel. The book, “Start-up Nation,” is among Mr. Senor’s writings that Mr. Romney frequently cites in public.

But before Senor was all fancy, he was the subject of a Tablet profile by our own Allison Hoffman, who actually got to sit down with Senor. Here are some of the highlights you won’t get from the Grey Lady:

On Senor’s mentors:

Senor has a remarkable talent for cultivating mentors. Beginning with Kristol, who is almost two decades his elder, Senor has flourished under the watch of a succession of father figures, including former Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan, a founder of the conservative Federalist Society, and David Rubenstein, the head of the Carlyle Group (and aDemocrat). And, now, Mitt Romney. “I’ve never met anyone who successful, older men want to mentor or sponsor more,” Chris Heinz told me.

On “Start-Up Nation,” the book Senor co-authored about Israel’s tech industry:

The notion of looking at Israel through a business lens was new to most people, but natural to Senor, whose father had moved on to run the Canadian affiliate of the Weizmann Institute of Science after his stint with Israel Bonds. (He also opened the Tehran office of the Joint Distribution Committee in the late 1950s.)

Rights to the book have been sold in 26 countries, most recently Croatia, and a film crew has already begun shooting a documentary based on the book in Israel. Senor is also developing a feature film version along the lines of The Social Network.

The Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad keeps a copy of “Start-Up Nation” on his desk.

On Senor’s post as spokesman in Iraq:

Senor was an unlikely person to deploy to a war zone. For one thing, he keeps kosher. “He had more cans of tuna than anyone I knew,” said Mark Kimmitt, the general who served alongside Senor as military spokesman in Baghdad. “Any time any of us thought we had a fever we’d grab him, because he had so much mercury in his blood.” (He’s also a picky eater; when we met, he ordered a hamburger with no onions and mustard and mayonnaise on the side, in the precise manner of Meg Ryan’s When Harry Met Sally character.)

Of course, read the whole thing.

Related: Romney’s Jewish Connector

Senor Draws Attention to Romney Middle East Policy [NYT]

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Truthfairy1 says:

The difference between the two profiles of Dan Senor?

The Times was NO WAY as flattering and starry-eyed as Ms. Hoffman’s lengthy piece. In fact, The Times appeared to impugn Mr. Senor, an “advocate of neoconservative thinking”, for the negative fallout from Romney’s Israel trip, and for advice which “foreshadows a Romney foreign policy…and move away from being the honest broker in the conflict with Palestinians.”

Gov Romney found himself under attack for his Jerusalem speech: “Mr. Romney’s assertion that cultural factors helped account for the wide
Israeli economic edge over the Palestinians drew condemnation from
Palestinian leaders”. According to The Times, Mr. Romney wasted no time in implicating Mr. Senor:

“It was Mr. Senor’s book about entrepreneurs in Israel that informed his comments, Mr. Romney explained to the group of Jewish-American donors he had assembled at the King David hotel.”

And the entire speech references to “Israeli entrepreneurship” and the point-of-view of two books that had influenced Romney’s thinking about foreign affairs — “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond and “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David Landes – indeed originated from Mr. Senor. The Tablet may have missed it, but elsewhere in The Times, Jared Diamond penned a damning rebuttal of Romney’s misrepresentation of his work:

“It is not true that my book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” as Mr. Romney described it
in a speech in Jerusalem, “basically says the physical characteristics
of the land account for the differences in the success of the people
that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth.That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.”

“Even scholars who emphasize social rather than geographic explanations —
like the Harvard economist David S. Landes, whose book “The Wealth and
Poverty of Nations” was mentioned favorably by Mr. Romney — would find
Mr. Romney’s statement that “culture makes all the difference”
dangerously out of date”.

Finally, frustrated with the ignorance and poverty of Mr. Romney’s simplistic world view, Mr. Diamond concluded:

“Mitt Romney may become our next president. Will he continue to espouse
one-factor explanations for multicausal problems, and fail to understand
history and the modern world? If so, he will preside over a declining
nation squandering its advantages of location and history.”

We now know that the “culture argument” was Mr. Senor’s theory, not Gov Romney’s, and the erroneous comments re what Jared Diamond said in his book also probably originated from Mr. Senor’s, since Mr. Diamond suggested Romney had never read his book.

Dan Senor declined to comment for the New York Times article; evidence he suspected it wasn’t in his best interest, since Mr. Senor normally loves to sound off in media interviews!

Somebody tell Senor that Mitt by creed in no Zionist. In-fact, Mitt Romney is conducting a violation of Mormon creed by advocating a pre-emptive strike against anybody on behalf of a fictitious Zion, or insisting an exclusively ‘Jewish state’ to be the case.
The Mormon church’s most used phrase for the Israeli/non-Israeli conflict is, ‘…we don’t take sides’.
If Mitt’s not a cafeteria Mormon when his church baptizes departed souls does he have an option to be a cafeteria Mormon on the subject of Israel?


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The Times Discovers Dan Senor

But not before Allison Hoffman did

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