Frank Lowenstein, a longtime left-wing operative who was handpicked by former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations (SEIPN), remains in the State Department in the same role, Conservative Review has confirmed.
Lowenstein was Kerry’s “point man” for the Israeli-Palestinian talks directed under the Obama administration, which had disastrous results. Kerry attempted to harass and blackmail the Israelis into making painful conciliations to the Palestinian entities, which are led by a terrorist regime (Hamas) in Gaza and a terrorist-supporting outfit (Fatah) in Ramallah. At the end of his tenure, Kerry demanded that Israel strip itself of its Jewish identity if it wanted to be considered a democracy. Even Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., thought that Kerry may have “emboldened extremists” with his work. Lowenstein stood by Kerry through it all, shuttling back and forth with the former secretary of state as the two bombarded Israeli leaders with demands.
Additionally, Lowenstein previously served as a representative in the State Department for the Middle East Quartet, a body that insisted on Israel immediately dissolving building projects in disputed territories but made no such requests upon the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the Quartet initiatives, explaining that it is a “myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace.”
Kerry and Lowenstein have worked together for decades and maintain a “close personal bond,” according to reports.
In a March 13 State Department press briefing, acting Spokesman Mark Toner confirmed that Lowenstein would not be replaced in his role as Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.
Lowenstein’s role in the Trump era remains unclear, and he has rarely surfaced in media reports. Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s adviser for international negotiations, reportedly reached out to Lowenstein before heading to Israel and the Palestinian Authority for several meetings with prominent officials there.
A liberal partisan, Lowenstein served as the director of national security policy on the Kerry-Edwards 2004 presidential campaign. He continued serving under Kerry when he represented Massachusetts in the Senate, working as a senior advisor from 2005 to 2008.
Lowenstein later worked for the Podesta Group, a far-left lobbying shop co-founded by John Podesta, who was once White House counselor to President Obama. More recently, Podesta was the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
As a political appointee, Lowenstein can be removed from his position immediately, and does not have the protections afforded to career civil service employees.
Why current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided to retain Lowenstein and several other Obama holdovers remains a mystery.
The State Department did not return a request for information on this matter.