Top American Jewish leaders had harsh words Sunday for U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the Obama administration. Their comments came after recent remarks made by Kerry on Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace talks, and after the U.S. came within a hair’s breadth of signing a deal with Iran that would relieve sanctions on the country while allowing it to maintain its nuclear capability.
Kerry’s controversial comments were made in a joint interview with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Israel’s Channel 2 news and Palestine TV. He predicted a nightmare scenario in the event that the current talks break down.Visibly agitated, Kerry berated Netanyahu, saying, “The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos.”
“Does Israel want a third intifada?” he asked. “I believe that if we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of the de-legitimization of Israel that has been taking place on an international basis.”
“When a Secretary of State talks about starting a third Intifada, especially amid rising violence, it could have the effect, directly or indirectly of lighting the fuse,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, responding to Kerry’s remarks, in an interview with The Algemeiner.
“The danger here is that you legitimate an escalation by saying that ‘because there is no progress it can start an Intifada.’ There are elements there that will use this to legitimize what they are doing,” Hoenlein said. “We had a situation in the past where comments by American leaders and others set the standard for what Palestinian leaders say and do.”
While extending the benefit of the doubt to Kerry’s intentions, famed attorney Alan Dershowitz was terse. “Secretary of State John Kerry is trying his hardest to bring the parties together, but I am sure he regrets having mentioned the third Intifada. The secretary of state should not be saying anything that could be misconstrued as a prediction or a legitimization of terrorist violence,” he said.
In an interview with Israeli radio, Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman described Kerry’s comments as “outrageous” and said that the Secretary of State’s “chutzpah” would unite the American Jewish community.
“It is chutzpah to lecture Israel about the risks of peace and war,” Foxman said.
Besides finding the comments offensive and possibly dangerous, the leaders agreed that they would most likely be counterproductive as well.
“The Secretary introduced views that can only complicate the process. It would be more productive to exhort the parties to work toward compromise, rather than speculating on worst-case scenarios,” said Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International executive vice president.
Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, asked: “Why would the Palestinians negotiate on anything when the secretary of state calls settlements ‘illegal’, when he says Israeli troops have to leave West Bank, when he increases aid to the PA when their corruption infuriates the Palestinian street, …read more
Source: The Algemeiner