New U.S. Ambassador to Australia is Jewish

September 13, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Jeff Bleich has been appointed the new U.S. Ambassador to Australia.

Jeff Bleich

Jeff Bleich

The new Ambassador is a 48-yr-old lawyer from San Francisco who will fill the diplomatic position, vacant since January.

Bleich qualified in Law from Harvard University with the highest possible honors.

This is what U.S.-based website Jweekly had to say in January: “Attorney Jeffrey Bleich of Piedmont has known the president-elect a bit longer. The two first became acquainted in 1991, long before a then-30-year-old Obama started pondering a run for the Oval Office. Bleich most recently served as California co-chair for the Obama campaign. He is also active with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.

“I helped him out in his U.S. Senate race,” says Bleich, 47, who will attend the inauguration. “We stayed in touch. I’ve been to his house. Obviously I’m a little biased, but he is even better in person than all the public hype.”

Backing that up, Bleich recalls a book-signing event he organized for Obama several years ago, held in his law offices. He says Obama took time to chat with everyone, from the senior partners to the receptionists. “He wasn’t looking for the most important person,” Bleich says. “He was looking for real people. No pecking order.”

Anita Shroot heads the small Canberra Jewish community. She told J-Wire: “I was at the Embassy on 9/11 representing our community and asked about a new ambassador. They told me it would be announced soon and I heard the very next day through the media. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Bleich to Canberra.”

Mel Sembler, U.S. Ambassador to Australia 1989-1993, was also Jewish.

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