A fitting conclusion to a disastrous tenure as secretary of state.
On December 28th, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a rambling truth-challenged defense of the Obama administration’s scandalous decision allowing the United Nations Security Council to pass its most egregious anti-Israel resolution yet. Security Council Resolution 2334, which was adopted last Friday, denounced Israel’s settlements activities as illegal and destructive to the prospects of a two-state solution. Kerry concluded his 73 minute speech by outlining six principles to guide direct negotiations of a final status agreement on all outstanding issues, giving some indication that the Obama administration does not intend to use the Security Council to impose complete parameters for a final agreement or to unilaterally recognize a state of Palestine before a final agreement between the parties is reached. However, given President Obama’s animus toward Israel, and particularly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama may still have something up his sleeve to further hurt Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said in reaction to Kerry’s speech that it was “as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed [at the United Nations] last week.” Indeed, the Obama administration destroyed all prospects for good faith negotiations directly between the Israelis and Palestinians by facilitating the Palestinians’ lawfare strategy executed through the United Nations. The anti-Israel Security Council resolution Kerry called “balanced” prejudges all the major issues against Israel under the patina of international law.
Kerry began his speech by declaring, in response to Israeli criticisms of the Obama administration’s abstention on Security Council Resolution 2334, “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” Kerry would not know the truth if it hit him in the face. Kerry omitted and misrepresented key facts about the resolution itself and the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He recited Palestinian talking points in lecturing Israel for expanding settlements where he said they do not belong, including in so-called “East Jerusalem.” He went so far as to accuse Israeli leaders, whom he called “the most right-wing in Israeli history,” of deliberately setting about to systematically take over the West Bank, with policies leading toward one state under Israeli rule.
Kerry claimed that the final text of Security Council Resolution 2334 was “balanced” and that it was consistent with long-standing U.S. policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The resolution was virtually all about condemning Israeli settlements and declaring them to be illegal under international law.
Kerry said in his speech, “We have called for the Palestinians to do everything in their power to stop violence and incitement, including publicly and consistently condemning acts of terrorism and stopping the glorification of violence.” However, all of Kerry’s references in his speech to such wrongdoing, which he claimed he had raised with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to no avail, failed to make it into the resolution itself. A truly balanced resolution would have cited Hamas and the Palestinian Authority by name for incitement to genocide against Jews and committing or condoning random attacks on civilians, in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and international humanitarian law.
The anti-Israel settlements resolution did not limit its condemnation of Israeli settlements to the far-flung outposts in the middle of the West Bank that Kerry focused attention on in his speech. To the contrary, the resolution, which Kerry tried to defend, declared that the “establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” (Emphasis added.)
In consenting to wording declaring that all Israeli settlements since 1967 have “no legal validity” from their inception, the Obama administration sharply departed from the position of past administrations, as well as its own position when it vetoed a similar resolution in 2011.
Kerry, just like UN Ambassador Samantha Power in her remarks to the Security Council following the vote on Resolution 2334, invoked Ronald Reagan’s name to justify the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel. True, Ronald Reagan did criticize Israel’s expansion of its settlements on policy grounds. However, neither he nor any other U.S. president did what President Obama decided to do – effectively use the United Nations Security Council as an instrument to outlaw retroactively all Israeli settlements built since 1967, including apartment dwellings in the Old City of Jerusalem. Indeed, to the contrary, President Reagan had said in 1981 that Israel’s settlements were “not illegal.”
Kerry also attempted to justify the Obama administration’s abstention on Resolution 2334 by citing the Reagan administration decision to abstain on UN Security Council Resolution 605,passed on December 22, 1987 by a 14-0 vote, as a precedent. Resolution 605 had criticized Israel for its actions in what was referred to as “occupied” territories, including in Jerusalem. There are some superficial similarities. Both resolutions did refer to the Geneva Convention as being applicable to the Palestinian and other Arab territories said to be occupied by Israel since 1967, including in Jerusalem. Like Resolution 2334, Resolution 605 deemed Israel as the “occupier” of the artificially divided portion of Jerusalem that Jordan had illegally invaded and attempted to ethnically cleanse until Israel re-unified all of Jerusalem after winning a defensive war against Jordan in 1967. However, there is a big difference between the two resolutions that Kerry chose to gloss over. The resolution on which the Reagan administration abstained did not question the legality of the settlements, in Jerusalem or anywhere else. It said simply that Israel was obliged under the Geneva Convention as the “occupying power” to limit its use of force against “defenceless Palestinian civilians.” The resolution on which the Obama administration abstained, on the other hand, effectively declared any Israeli residences or building activities in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is in the eastern portion of Jerusalem and includes the Western Wall, as illegal per se under international law.
Kerry doubled down on prejudging that Jerusalem needs to be artificially re-divided and the eastern portion handed over to the Palestinians as the capital of their new state. This would effectively ratify Jordan’s original illegal aggressive occupation and de-Judaizing of the Old City, which would certainly resume if the Palestinians were to assume control.
Kerry made a couple of pronouncements in his speech recognizing Israeli concerns about terrorism and its concerns about preserving its legitimacy as a Jewish state. However, the Security Council resolution he defended worsens Israel’s situation in both of these areas.
Kerry said “we all understand that Israel faces very serious threats in a very tough neighborhood. Israelis are rightfully concerned about making sure that there is not a new terrorist haven right next door to them, often referencing what’s happened with Gaza.” Yet what the resolution has done in declaring all Israeli settlements established since 1967 to be illegal is to provide Palestinians with justification for couching their acts of terrorism in the garb of “legitimate” resistance against “illegal” occupation and settlements.
Kerry also said “Israelis are fully justified in decrying attempts to…question the right of a Jewish state to exist.” He cited the intent of General Assembly Resolution 181, the 1947 partition resolution accepted by the Jewish residents but rejected by the Palestinians and their Arab supporters, “to create two states for two peoples, one Jewish, one Arab; to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians.” He referenced the PLO’s self-proclaimed “Declaration of Independence,” which stated that Resolution 181 “provides those conditions of international legitimacy that ensure the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty.” Yet Abbas has repeatedly rejected the very idea of a Jewishstate existing in peace alongside a Palestinian state, for which Resolution 181 also provided the “conditions of international legitimacy.” If Resolution 2334 was intended to preserve the goal of “two states for two peoples, one Jewish, one Arab,” as Kerry claimed, why did he not insist that the words “Jewish state of Israel” appear at least once in the resolution? At least the resolution that Abbas is now demanding be followed as the basis for any future negotiations would give one point to Israel.
John Kerry’s speech defending the Obama administration’s decision to allow the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements and declare them to be illegal has been described as his farewell speech. The best advice to give to Kerry after his disastrous tenure as Secretary of State is “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.