Jewish and Zionist Influence at the Council on Foreign Relations

Karl Radl
Semitic Controversies
June 12, 2016


The Council on Foreign Relations (hereafter CFR) has often been argued to be one of the most important forums for the determination of the foreign policy of the United States. This simplistic view has come in for some judicious and well-deserved criticism from scholars of the subject. (1)

While I don’t hold to the view that the CFR has relatively little influence other than as talking shop as suggested by Schulzinger. (2) I also think it is important not to overstate it, but rather to see the CFR as one of an interlocking sequence of complementary and competing foreign policy think tanks jockeying for prominence and influence in the North American political landscape.

I think we can reasonably suggest however that the CFR is one of the more important and successful of these organizations given the prominence of its senior membership and sheer staying power in the arena of intellectual debate on the subject.

Therefore it is of great interest to us to ascertain the extent of jewish and Zionist influence within the CFR.

Looking at the CFR’s Board of Directors of 36 members we find the following jewish individuals: (3)

David Dalin (4)
David Rubenstein (5)
Richard Haass (6)
Zoe Baird (7)
Alan Blinder (8)
Blair Effron (9)
Laurence Douglas Fink (10)
Stephen Friedman (11)
Thomas Glocer (12)
John Paulson (13)
Ruth Porat (14)
Richard Salomon (15)

Despite claims to the contrary I can find no evidence that the following individuals are jewish:

Donna Hrinak (16)
Richard Pepler (17)
Timothy Geithner (18)

Therefore we can see some 12 out of the 36 members of the Board of Directors of the CFR are jewish. This is 33 percent of the total membership of the Board of Directors.

If we include the doubtful claim of jewish ancestry to CFR Board Member Colin Powell then we have 13 out of the 36 members being jewish. This is 36 percent of the total membership of the Board of Directors.

This is significant as jews are circa 2 percentage of the population of the United States of America, (19) which means they are 16.5 times over-represented in the Board of Directors of the CFR than in the general population (18 times if you include Colin Powell).

This is scary enough, but when we note other the views of other Board Members then it gets positively alarming.

Let’s look at them shall we?

Nicholas Burns is a Zionist who in 2008 was honoured for his championing of Israel’s cause and advocating the bombing of Iran in the United States by the American Jewish Committee. (20)

Stephen Hadley is a Zionist who in 2004 gave a speech before the American Jewish Committee advocating the bomb of Iran and stressing the need to combat ‘anti-Semitism’ globally. (21) Incidentally Hadley also frequently appears with Israeli generals and leaders on political platforms. (22)

Richard Pepler is a Zionist who regularly dines with jewish actors and actresses as well as (then) high-ranking Israeli politicians like Shimon Peres. (23) He also spoke at the Israeli Presidential Conference in 2013. (24)

James Stavridis’ political views are unclear, but when he was honored in 2011 by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA): he spoke of his deep commitment to security of Israel and his love for the country. (25)

Vin Weber, the disgraced former Republican Congressman and lobbyist, has written for national newspapers arguing for an Israel-centric foreign policy in the Middle East and replying to criticisms of said state. (26) Further demonstrating his Israel First credentials Weber uses ‘friendship to Israel’ as central part of his criteria for why Egypt’s President Sisi (basically the head of a military junta) should be supported and lauded. (27)

Weber also happens to be a fairly prominent neo-Conservative as demonstrated by the fact that he is one of the founding members of ‘The Project for a New American Century’. (28)

Christine Todd Whitman is another individual who pushes Israel’s agenda in the United States with her avid promotion of what Finkelstein has termed ‘The Holocaust Industry’. (29) She is also heavily en hoc to jewish interests since, as former AIPAC apparatchik Mitchell Bard has pointed out, jews were primarily responsible for getting her elected as Republican governor of New Jersey. (30)

That is an additional six documented supporters of Zionism on the Board of Directors of the CFR. This brings supporters of ipso facto jewish interests and Zionism to 18 out of 36 members (or 50 percent). If we include Colin Powell in that we go up to 19 out of 36 members (or 53 percent).

Yet there is only one person, Margaret Warner, on the Board of Directors of the CFR who has ever been accused of anti-Zionism and even then that accusation was made by Israel’s hard line right-wingers: the Likudniks. (31)

One possible anti-Zionist versus eighteen/nineteen confirmed Zionists on the Board of Directors of the CFR: who do you think has more influence?

Moving on to the Officers of the CFR (who are employees of the Board of Directors):

Carla Hills (Co-Chairman)
Robert Rubin (Co-Chairman)
David Rubenstein (Vice Chairman)
Richard Haas (President)
Keith Olson (Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer)

The jews, who are also members of the Board of Directors, are Robert Rubin, David Rubenstein and Richard Haass.

Now while there are a plethora of Vice Presidents (all of whom are non-jewish) I would note that the Board of Directors sets the tone and the Vice Presidents are merely senior employees not decision-makers in the ideological biases behind the scenes at the CFR.

The Vice Presidents aren’t likely to substantially disagree with their bosses who after all pay their wages and control their bonus awards. Therefore we can see that the key is that out of the five officers with influence (since four are members of the Board of Directors, while the other is the Chief Financial Officer) that three (i.e. 60 percent) are jewish.

However when we pan back to look at the members of the Board of Directors who are Emeritus or Honorary (who may or may not have influence) who number six people in total. We note a similar preponderance of jewish and pro-Zionist individuals.

To wit:

Madeline Albright (Director Emerita) (32)
Martin Feldstein (Director Emeritus) (33)
Maurice Greenberg (Honorary Vice Chairman) (34)

In addition to these three jewish individuals we have Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus, who is a strong partisan of Israel and one of those who have tried to deny the existence of an Israel Lobby in the United States. (35)

This equates some 66 percent of Honorary and Emeritus Directors being jewish or Zionists, which confirms the conclusion that we must draw from the foregoing analysis.

This is that the Council on Foreign Relations is an organization where circa half of its Board of Directors are either jewish (who are only circa two percent of the American population) or non-jewish Zionists (the clear majority being the former not the latter), which is clearly disproportionate and potentially dangerous in terms of influence United States foreign policy in the interests of Israel not America.


(1) For example Robert McMahon, 1985, ‘A Question of Influence: The Council on Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy’, Reviews in American History, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 445-447
(2) Cf. Robert Schulzinger, 1984, ‘The Wise Men of Foreign Affairs: The History of the Council on Foreign Relations’, 1st Edition, Columbia University Press: New York
(4) David Dalin, 2001, ‘At The Summit’, p. 45 in Louis Sandy Maisel, Ira Forman, Doanld Altschiller, (Eds), 2001, ‘Jews in American Politics’, 1st Edition, Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham
(6) Richard Haass, 1997, ‘The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States After the Cold War’, 1st Edition, Council of Foreign Relations Press: New York, p. 142
(7) David Dalin, 2008, ‘Jews and the American Presidency’, p. 149 in Gaston Espinosa (Ed.), 2008, ‘Religion, Race, and the American Presidency’, Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham
(8) Stephen Harlan Norwood (Ed.), 2008, ‘Encyclopedia of American Jewish History’, Vol. 1, 1st Edition, ABC-Clio: Santa Barbara, p. 721
(16) As claimed by:
(17) As claimed by:

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