The Washington Post examined the roots of Obama's hard line on settlements, and concluded that it reflects the influence of Jewish friends on the left prior to entering the White House. "Several senior White House officials described the president's views on Israeli settlements as years old and not the product of recent events or discussions....'It would be a mistake to suggest that anyone led him to this position,' a senior adviser said. 'It's one that he generated himself.' In Chicago, long before becoming president, Obama's closest confidants included staunch supporters of Israel whose tough views on the need to stop settlements mirror his current public position. Abner Mikva, an Obama mentor and former law professor, was one of them. ...White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel worked in the Clinton White House when Netanyahu reneged on an understanding to stop the growth of settlements. As a member of Congress, Emanuel was one of only two Jewish lawmakers to co-sponsor a resolution supporting a peace plan that would have abandoned to the Palestinians one of the West Bank's largest settlements -- Ariel, with about 40,000 settlers. ..One of the president's close friends in Chicago, the late Rabbi Arnold Wolf, wrote last year of his disappointment that Obama had often publicly softened his private positions. 'For my part, I've sometimes found Obama too cautious on Israel,' said Wolf, who in 1973 co-founded an organization that advocated creating a Palestinian state. 'He, like all our politicians, knows he mustn't stray too far from the conventional line, and that can be disappointing. But unlike anyone else on the stump, Obama has also made it clear that he'll broaden the dialogue.'" The Post also cited David Axelrod as among the influecnes pushing Obama in this direction.