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February 20, 2014 2:00 pm

The John Kerry Anti-Semitism Parade

avatar by Dovid Efune

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An issue of Israeli daily Ma'ariv reporting on a new poll on Israel-PA talks.

In recent days, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has seized on relatively obscure accusations of anti-Semitism made by hardly significant Israeli actors to delegitimize and distract from valid criticism of his approach to Middle East peacemaking.

This tactic was previously used effectively by Democrats in the 2012 U.S. general election when party activists seized on offensive statements about women made by extreme Republican figures, most notably Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, and thrust them into center stage. Made to look guilty by association, the GOP was forced to address the comments, and was immediately put on the defensive. The real issues were effectively sidelined for large segments of the election season.

Here is what happened.

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Earlier this month in Munich, Kerry said, and not for the first time, that if the current framework peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority fail, Israel would inevitably face, among other things, violence, boycotts, de-legitimization and isolation.

Being that Kerry is by no means an impartial observer and is, in fact, a very active and significant player, his comments drew heavy backlash from Israelis who, for the most part, criticized his tacit legitimization of the threats against Israel and the actors behind them.

In all the reports on the extensive and varied criticism leveled against Kerry, I was able to identify only three individuals who referred to anti-Semitism at all.

The most senior of them was Economy Minister Naftali Bennett who said, “We expect of our friends in the world to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, and not to be their mouthpiece.” He did not accuse Kerry of being an anti-Semite himself, but said that his words may have boosted an anti-Semitic initiative.

The second was Knesset Member Motti Yogev, a member of Bennett’s party who said, “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is acting under Kerry’s obsessive pressure, which may have anti-Semitic undertones.” Yogev is certainly closer to a direct accusation of anti-Semitism, although his comment is speculative and his use of the word “undertones” softens the charge.

The final comment was the most direct and was made by a Yesha Council official named Adi Mintz.

“Until now, I thought that Kerry just didn’t understand the Middle East,” he said at the time. However, he added, “Tonight I realized that he is motivated by anti-Semitism, too. ‘Hit the Jew in his pocket’ – that has always been an anti-Semitic slogan.”

“Anti-Semites think that Jews are motivated by just one thing: money. And if you want to hurt them, hit them in the pocket,” he explained.

Mintz directly accused Kerry of anti-Semitism, fair and square.

But Adi Mintz is a super marginal and hardly relevant figure and Yogev is a low ranking freshman in Israel’s parliament. Putting the accusations in their correct place, a Reddit user, in a highly rated comment, compared them to “the TEA Party calling Obama a socialist.”

So for a U.S. Secretary of State to pay attention to Mintz’s comments would be unheard of, unless of course there was another play in motion.

And some play it was.

A day later, none other than United States National Security Adviser Susan Rice, took to Twitter to defend Kerry from “personal attacks” that some took to be a reference to the anti-Semitism accusation.

“Personal attacks in Israel directed at Sec Kerry totally unfounded and unacceptable,” she tweeted.

A full ten days after that, extending the furor far beyond its sell-by-date, John Kerry’s Jewish brother (he converted) penned a dramatic ode to John Kerry’s love of the Jews, replete with oodles of Holocaust imagery and stories about Israel, for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

“…some have recently suggested that my brother, John Kerry, had expressed ‘anti-Semitic undertones’ in his pursuit of a framework for negotiations,” he wrote. “Such charges would be ridiculous if they were not so vile.”

His article made international news.

Of course there is no way Cameron Kerry would have published something like this without specific permission from his brother, John. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv actively promoted it on Facebook, translating it in full from the original Hebrew to English.

Even as I write these words, almost three full weeks since Kerry made his comments, Israeli leaders are still on the defensive, reasserting that John Kerry is not, in fact, an anti-Semite.

Like the Democrats in 2012, Kerry is free from addressing the real issue, which, as I wrote last month, is that he insists on talking to the Israelis like he is a mafia kingpin.

Israeli cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen put it well in his Dry Bones comic strip. “I aint threatening youse guys with boycotts and stuff, I’m just sayin’ that these things can ‘happen,'” he depicts Kerry as saying. “And without our ‘protection’ you Israelis could get hurt. Real bad.”

The point is that Kerry should never refer to anti-Israel boycotts, violence or de-legitimization as an inevitable outcome of anything, never mind a failure of peace talks, the success of which will likely not ever be in Israel’s hands anyway.

Kerry may not be an anti-Semite, but talking like he does surely enables anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate whether deliberate or not.

By inflating the anti-Semitism charge, he is walking away scott free.

The author is the Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

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  • I WILL STATE THIS LOUD AND CLEAR but first the disclaimer:
    I am a JEW a zionist owning the world JEWS FOR JEWS BY JEWS AND ONLY JEWS IN ISRAEL.
    Now that you know where I stand I can say this…
    You jews voted for obama twice and will vote for either Jew hater hillary clinton or kerry or any other JEW HATER THEN COMES ON BOARdD as long as he is a democrate.
    Until YOU JEWS learn to think and not follow, YOU JEWS will continue to get hatred thrown on you again and again.

    JEWS ARE SUPPOSED TO THINK AND ANALYZE.

    WHEN HAVE YOU LAST PROCESSED A THOUGHT IN YOUR MIND APART FROM SUPPORTING AND BEING LOYAL TO A PARTY THAT HAS CONSISTANTLY BEEN AGAINST ISRAEL AND JEWS IN AMERICA.

    THE UNIONS THAT YOU JEWS SUPPORT HAS PUT YOUR BUSINESS ‘OUT OF BUSINESS’.
    YOUR DEMOCRATES ARE WEALTHIER THEN THE REPUBLICANS.

    YOU *JEWS ARE LIVING MENTALLY IN THE GHETTOS OF EUROPE THAT HASNT DONT MUCH GOOD FOR YOU EITHER.

    ITEM ONE: START TO LEARN WHO THE ONE CREATOR ‘HASHEM ‘IS.
    START TO PRAY EVEN IN A SIMPLE WAY ONCE AGAIN.

    IF YOU SURVIVED THE HOLOCAUST THEN YOU DONT HAVE AN EXCUSE ANYMORE. YOU ARE ALIVE TO MAKE A CHANGE, AND IMPACT.

    YOU ARE MAKING AN INTERNAL HOLOCAUST INTERMARRIGE INTERFAITH TOLERANT FOR WHAEVERYTHING THAT IS AGAINST TORAH….

    I AM FED UP WITH YOUR MENTALITY.
    YOU ARE KILLING JEWS AND TORAH
    TAKE RESPONSIBILTY FOR BEING A ZOMBIE
    WAKE UP ! LOOK UP TO THE HEAVENS AND CRY TO HASHEM !

    ARROGANT RABBIS CHANGING TRADITIONS
    AND FEARFUL RABBIS TO SPEAK AGAINST THEM
    IGNORANT JEWS THINKING THEY ARE IN EUROPE GHETTOS
    JEWS WHO CANT SPEAK ENGLICH AND ONLY LEARN IN YIDDISH NOT EVEN HEBREW…

    ITS ENOUGH ALREADY….WAKE UP !!!

  • H. Givon

    It is time for well-meaning people to stop forcing peace by getting signatures on a meaningless piece of paper. No doctor would dare prescribe a cure without a correct diagnosis! Israel is a democracy in a region ruled by radicalism and it is in the best interests of the West to keep her strong. The Kerry concept of equivalency between Israel and those who threaten her and Western civilization is the wrong diagnosis and is doomed to failure. Mr. Kerry’s friendliness to those who publicize their goal of destroying Israel is not helpful. His talk of a renewed intifada and European boycotts should Israel not accede to his plans are certainly threats. It is time for other nations to understand that Israel is a sovereign nation with legal historic rights that were established close to one hundred years ago by a unanimous declaration of the 51 members of the League of Nations that is still valid to this day. Unfortunately, today’s enemies collaborated with Hitler and have the same ideology – under a different name. It would be in the interest of freedom seeking nations for Mr. Kerry to attend to the threats to democracy posed by the Iran, Syria, and al Qaeda proxy groups. That is where the threat to civilization lies.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    Kerry reached his “level of incompetence” in Vietnam.

  • HaroldT

    Many threats and much criticism of Israel by Obama/Kerry, but, not a word against Palestinian glorification of suicide bombers and PA TV demonizing Jews.
    If this is not anti-Semitism, What is ?

  • Yale

    Dovid missed a key point in Cameron’s mstatement: He stated that John isn’t anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, but he isn’t very smart either.

    That should be obvious to anyone who thinks through the whole notion of offering a new set of parameters replacing those Bill Clinton offered back in 2000. Any new set must do one of three things: 1) reiterate what Clinton offered, 2) move toward Israel’s positions, or 3) move toward Palestinian positions.

    Unless there is a reason to believe the Palestinians are inclined to accept today what they rejected when presented by Clinton, these options demonstrate why Kerry’s initiative was a mistake. If they still reject option one, then, fortiori, they will reject option two. But the real kicker is that if Kerry goes with option three, the Palestinians will pocket the concessions Kerry makes on behalf of Israel and then reject his proposal. By rewarding them for their intransigence in 2000, Kerry will be telling them that further intransigence now will pay off.

    Anyone who seeks to settle the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians needs to identify a mechanism that will bring home to the Palestinians that further intransigence will cost them. Given their values, the only mechanism available appears to be further settlement activity. Maybe that’s why the anti-Israel crowd is so obsessed with them.

  • Steve Wenick

    Kerry, who just doesn’t get it, need not be an antisemite to unwittingly do and say things which make antisemites rejoice.

  • Howard Wohl

    I am sorry but Mr Efune is reaching pretty far to cast aspersions against the Secretary of State. So, too, the amen corner of right wingers who continually accuse the President of being a Muslim, a Marxist and an Anti-Semite, among other false accusations, seriously compromises their crocodile tears. So, too, Mr Efune does a disservice to the truth by casting the Democrats as playing the female card by linking Tea Party Senate candidates to the GOP. Gee, having distinguished Republicans such as Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee make statements that make excuses for rape and blame the rape victims for being assaulted and characterize women as obsessed by sex and Rush Limbaugh accusing Sandra Fluke of being a prostitute for taking birth control pills and the like are not to be dismissed. Suddenly, it is only a few minor Jewish figures who say nasty things about American politicians, eh. Please do not cater to a class of individuals for whom facts are too difficult. Your mischaracterizations and cheap shots do not bring honor to your newspaper and detracts from any notion that this paper describes the news honestly. Give us facts not right wing pap.

  • Secretary Kerry’s ill-advised comments in Munich proved he is ignorant about the Arab-Israeli conflict. As Bernard Baruch said, “Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”

    • Ignorance or malice?

      Someone once said that, if the consequences are the same, it is safer to assume malice. (or words to that effect).

    • Steve Butman

      Agreed

  • BH in Iowa

    One does not become unofficial Lead PLO Negotiator by being good for the Jews.

  • This Kerry is sooooooooooooooo repulsively ugly on soooooooooooooooooo many levels…. pfui !

  • esther noodelman

    And keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison for 29 years so far,for passing classified info withheld from a good ally,Israel…for a crime that usually gets 2-4 years.
    THE only person singled out for special treatment and since he is a Jew..it is Antisemitism..Therefore,as long as Jonathan sits in jail.as sick as he is, WE ARE ALL VICTIMS OF ANTI-SEMITISM.
    THE ONLY REMEDY TO THIS SITUATION IS FOR PERES(OBAMA`S BEST FRIEND) and NETANYAHU TO ARRANGE TO CLOSE THIS ANTI-SEMITIC CHAPTER AND HAVE JONATHAN WHO IS VERY ILL TO BE TRANSFERRED TO AN ISRAELI HOSPITAL WHERE HE WILL FINALLY GET THE EXCELLENT CARE HE SO DESERVES,AND HE SHOULD BE BROUGHT BACK TO ISRAEL ON THE SAME PLANE AS NETANYAHU (FOR SECURITY REASONS) AFTER BIBI FINISHES HIS 5 DAY VISIT WITH OBAMA, STARTING MARCH 3RD.ALL ISRAEL WEEPS UNTIL JONATHAN RETURNS.ARE WE WAITING FOR HIM TO DIE G D FORBID..

    • Steve Butman

      You are 100% correct, Ms. Noodleman. Baruch Hashem.

    • george

      Let’s hope Pollard serves his full sentence in prison for betraying the security of the United States

      • i heisler

        SUPPORTERS OF BDS!! DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK BCAUSE OF LYING TO YOU PALESTINIANS/ARABS GLORIFY MURDER BY TERROR GROUPS AND SUCICIDE BOMBERS BLOWING UP SCHOOL BUSES WITH CHILDREN PASSENGERS IN HIGHJACKED PLANES ETC.THIS IS WHAT YOUR MONEY IS USED FOR THE LATEST MAYLAYSIA 370 230+ PEOPLE MURDERED THIS IS BDS YOUR MONEY DEMAND YOUR REFUND IMMIDIATELY

  • Wallace Edward Brand, JD Harvard, 1957

    Kerry’s remarks are not the first extortion of the Jews. Ever since 1920 the Arabs have used threats of violence and actual violence to try to obtain the political rights to Palestine from the Jews that the Jews acquired in the 1920 San Remo Resolution.
    In addition to being defined as the crime of extortion in the US, it is against International Law for one state to threaten another state or to use violence against another state except in self defense..

    • Emanuel

      Thank you for pointing out that legal implication.

  • Dov

    Why is it so hard to accept that both Kerry and his boss the President are anti-Semites? Why do we need to say he isn’t. The fact is that it is only Kerry who threatened Israel with boycotts and isolation. What would you call that? Love or hate?

    • Steve Klein

      I could not agree more.

  • Steve Klein

    I cannot say Secretary of State John Kerry is ‘walking away scott free’. The jury is still out as they say.

  • M.A. Kinamohn

    Kerry is a loser and a liar!

  • Arie

    Let us not forget that Kerry sent a letter of support and promotion to IHH in their push to force thru the LEGITIMATE Gaza blockade. Ate every turn, kerry, echoing his master, has pushed an Anti-Israel agenda from threats on the economy to global isolation. In the US, he has attacked those in the Jewish community that have refused to sheepishly and slavishly follow the commandments as handed by obama.

    ANOTHER FACT: The more the obama capitulation foreign policy agenda fails globally – Syria; Egypt; North Africa; Russia; Chona; Turkey, N Korea; and now his NEWEST “red line” in the Ukraine, the more pressure on and venom against the Jewish State is displayed by the now admittedly Anti-Jew administration

    • Avrumeleh

      It’s a terrible thing to call someone an anti-Semite if he weren’t one…a terrible thing. And we should be very careful before we use such a term. Most people would look at you like you were crazy if you use it to describe a liberal Democrat like Kerry. After all, he’s from the more liberal party in the USA and his brother is a Jew. But, when you look at the facts, it’s really hard to avoid the sad conclusion that he is an anti-Semite. When he castigates Karzi of Afghanistan for releasing terrorists that murdered American servicemen even when he’s pushing and pushing and pushing Israel to release the Palestinian murderers of Jewish civilians, is it inappropriate to raise your eyebrows? Publicly holding the threat of violence if Israel doesn’t do what he want Israel to do is only for the Jews? Why not for the Chinese, or the Russians? And threatening the Israeli economy if it doesn’t follow his lead? I don’t see him being so stern with anyone else. But, even if Kerry isn’t an anti-Semite, could he be less harmful than one to Israel? The truth is, if he isn’t an anti-Semite, he sure is going out of his way to look like one.

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