Thursday’s claim by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that lack of “progress” in the Israel-Palestinian peace process is helping fuel the rise of ISIS continues to reverberate both in Israel and the Middle East.
Kerry’s remarks, which appeared to lay the blame for the rise of the ISIS terrorist army in Iraq and Syria squarely on Israel, are but the latest in a series of controversial comments made by America’s top diplomat that seem to highlight the Obama administration’s growing hostility toward the Jewish state.
Speaking at a ceremonial State Department dinner commemorating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry implied that Israel’s refusal to concede to Palestinian demands were helping ISIS recruit new fighters.
“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions,” Kerry told his Muslim audience, “there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt” Kerry averred.
Israel’s reaction to Kerry’s remarks came quickly and harshly. Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said global terrorism would be fueled far more by Kerry’s foolish remarks than by a strong Israel.
“Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian”, said Bennett, “there will always be someone who blames the Jews,” “The assertion that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is helping the Islamic State group provides a tail wind to support global terrorism.”
Handlers for the famously thin-skinned Kerry were quickly dispatched to attack the motives of his critics while denying the Secretary of State even said what he was recorded as saying.
The State Department’s assistant spokesperson Marie Harf lashed out at Bennett, claiming Kerry’s “comments were taken out of context for political reasons,” by the Israeli minister she said, or they were “distorted” by him “for political reasons.”
The secretary general of the PLO quickly seized on Kerry’s comments by by announcing that the Palestinian Authority was “ready to work with the American administration to implement different levels of the strategic direction announced by Kerry,” Yasser Abed Rabbo told the AFP. “Linking the fight against terrorism and the end of the Israeli occupation is a strategic position that we support.”
Just this past April, Kerry created a major controversy with his risible claim that Israel risked “becoming an apartheid state” if the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did quickly concede to President Obama’s insistence, that in accordance with Palestinian demands, Israel withdraw its borders to the 1949 armistice lines.
Kerry’s usage of the tactic long deployed by Israel’s enemies to delegitimize the Jewish state by equating it with the former racist all white government of South Africa was so roundly condemned that Kerry, despite being outraged that the media quoted his “off the record remarks,” nonetheless apologized.
Kerry’s ISIS comments further expose the Obama administration’s growing desperation to do anything to detract attention away from the world’s descent into geopolitical chaos.
Guileless though he may be, even John Kerry is not naive enough to think he can bludgeon Hamas into making even the cosmetic concessions needed to stage an ersatz signing ceremony at the White House.
All that seems left of the rather empty Obama-Kerry world-view, is all there ever was to begin with. Doing what must be done to keep bad news out of the news by appeasing whoever needs to be appeased, and capitulating to whoever can’t be pressured. Since groups like Hamas are always making demands and can never be pressured, the Obama-Kerry default position has been to appease Israel’s enemies by threatening to punish Israel.
Alas, appeasing terrorist groups like Hamas not only validates their terrorist tactics; it accelerates them. Since firing rockets at innocents got Hamas much of what it demanded, then surely, firing more rockets at more innocents will get Hamas still more of what it demands– which is to rule all of Israel’s land without any of its Jews.