A recently resurfaced video depicts a confident John Kerry lecturing on the impossibilities of achieving that which the Trump administration did this past week in yet another blow to Kerry and the Democratic establishment’s long-held foreign policy doctrines.
In the clip, President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry was seen bashing the notion that peace between Israel and Arab states could ever be achieved without first solving the Palestinian conflict.
Yet, this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined leaders from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in an epic ceremony, signing peace agreements and effectively normalizing relations between the nations, as the Trump administration brokered two major Middle East agreements in a matter of weeks.
Contrary to Kerry’s declarations, the peace agreements were achieved without the need for any Israeli concessions or on the conditioning of Palestinian statehood.
Neither President Trump nor Prime Minister Netanyahu even mentioned the Palestinians during the accords ceremony, which President Trump hailed as the “dawn of a new Middle East.”
After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. Congratulations to the people of Israel, the people of the United Arab Emirates, and the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain. God Bless You All! pic.twitter.com/gpeqFDtr0S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2020
Trump has also said repeatedly in recent days that several additional Arab countries are moving towards normalizing ties with Israel.
During his last weeks as President Obama’s secretary of state, Kerry made a categorical prediction about the Middle East: Arabs will not pursue a “separate peace” with Israel in the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
On the heels of Tuesday’s signing ceremony of normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as well as Bahrain, Kerry’s confident statements are memorable for how utterly wrong they were.
A recently resurfaced clip of Kerry from 2016 has him vehemently rejecting the possibility of any peace between Israel and the Arab world without the involvement of the Palestinians, as he lectures an audience at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, only six weeks before President Trump’s inauguration.
"לא יהיה שלום נפרד בין ישראל לעולם הערבי. אני רוצה שזה יהיה ברור מאוד לכולכם… לא, לא, לא ולא… לא יהיה בלי תהליך עם הפלסטינים". עוד אחד שטעה… ג'והן קרי בפורום סבן ב-2016. מרתק. pic.twitter.com/ZNQt2e0mTv
— Udi Evental (@UEvental) September 16, 2020
Kerry’s speech at the 13th annual Saban Forum at the Willard Hotel in December 2016 at the end of the Obama administration’s term included the claim that “I’ve heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, well, the Arab world is in a different place now, we just have to reach out to them, and we can work some things with the Arab world, and we’ll deal with the Palestinians. No, no, no, and no.”
“There will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that,” Kerry continued as he indicated what U.S. policy must be. “That is a hard reality.”
The clip, shared by Institute for Policy & Strategy senior fellow Udi Evental, went viral shortly after, with critics slamming the former Obama official’s debunked pronouncement.
“Man… Has anyone been more abjectly wrong about something?” National Review contributor Pradheep Shanker asked.
“It’s tough to choose what is the most embarrassing quality of this Kerry declaration from four years ago on the impossibility of what Trump has achieved,” wrote Ed Morrissey, covering the news at Hot Air.
Others noted how Kerry had not posted a single tweet praising the historic peace deals.
This was not the first time that Kerry had been dead wrong about Middle East policy.
WRONG ABOUT THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL:
Kerry was a key architect of the failed Iran nuclear deal struck in 2015, which aimed at capping Tehran’s nuclear activities in return for lifting sanctions.
Relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government became quite strained as a result of the deal.
Kerry later warned against the consequences of pulling out of the deal.
In 2015, Kerry said, “I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn it, our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed.”
However, President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and his recent Middle East peace agreements showed that Kerry was completely wrong when predicting that Israel would be more isolated without the deal.
“I remember Secretary Kerry saying that if the nuclear deal was abandoned that Israel would become more isolated when in fact just the opposite has now happened,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday on The Story with Martha MacCallum.
“They’ve joined hands and now they have many more partners across the region — each of those countries, those gulf states recognize that the shared threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran is very, very real and now they are working together, building out security and economic relationships and real ties between these countries,” he said.
WRONG ABOUT U.S. EMBASSY MOVE:
In 2017, Kerry, two weeks prior to his leaving office, warned of “an absolute explosion” in the Middle East should President-elect Donald Trump decide to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump moved the embassy, but no such explosion ever occurred.
A year after the controversial move, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, wrote in Israel Hayom that “Contrary to all the negative predictions, the Jerusalem embassy has been an extraordinary success, advancing peaceful coexistence, bilateral cooperation and cultural exchange between and among Israelis, Palestinians and Americans.”
Kerry himself hardly contributed to any peaceful coexistence or cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians during his tenure as Secretary of State.
In 2013, Kerry attempted to kick start talks between Israel and the Palestinians but failed as the initiative collapsed after nine months.
With Obama-era policies and predictions crumbling as the Trump administration continues to develop new avenues to advance peace, some have expressed fears that a Biden administration would return the U.S. to those same age-old failed policies.
“The only thing more amazing than this clip of John Kerry is that the Democrats are currently running on putting all the same people from this clueless administration back into the WH,” Washington Free Beacon executive editor Brent Scher concluded.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.