Jewish ambassador to Morocco named

October 23, 1993|By Mark Matthews | Mark Matthews,Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Marc C. Ginsberg, a Washington lawyer who served as a campaign spokesman for President Clinton, has been nominated as ambassador to Morocco in what is believed to be the first appointment of a Jewish envoy to an Arab state.

Mr. Ginsberg, 43, who lives in Bethesda, was born in New York but spent 1960 to 1968 in Israel, where his mother and two brothers still live. They hold dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship; he elected to hold only his U.S. citizenship.

He was involved in the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt while working at the State Department and the White House under President Jimmy Carter.

During the campaign and post-election transition period, he was a foreign-policy spokesman for the Clinton team and also served as deputy campaign director for Maryland. He is a former staffer for Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Morocco is officially Muslim, but its Jewish community of about 7,000 is allowed to practice its faith, as are Christians. It also has been the most public of Arab states in establishing informal ties with Israel, although it has no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was welcomed by King Hassan II on a visit as Mr. Rabin flew home after the White House signing of Israel's peace accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

During that visit, Mr. Rabin laid a wreath on the grave of King

Hassan's father, who protected Moroccan Jewry when the country, still a French colony, fell under the control of France's Vichy regime.

The U.S. government does not ask prospective ambassadorial appointees about their religion, so it is impossible to know for certain if Mr. Ginsberg would be the first Jewish envoy from the United States to an Arab state. People knowledgeable about Middle East diplomacy, however, can't recall another.

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