Leading US Jewish Groups Slam Kerry’s Speech; AIPAC Calls It ‘Failed Attempt to Defend the Indefensible’
Secretary of State John Kerry’s Wednesday speech on the Israel-Palestinian peace process was “a failed attempt to defend the indefensible,” a leading US pro-Israel group said.
Contrary to Kerry’s claims, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said, the anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution that “the administration unconscionably failed to block [last week] was unfair, unbalanced and represented a profound departure from the policies of previous Democratic and Republican administrations for nearly the past forty years.”
Furthemore, AIPAC noted, “Secretary Kerry placed overwhelming, disproportionate blame for the failure to advance peace on our ally, Israel, while neglecting numerous Israeli peace offers and Palestinian refusal to resume direct talks.”
AIPAC went on to urge Congress and the incoming Trump administration to “renounce the recent action taken by this administration and to begin the work of repairing the damage done to the cause of peace and the US-Israel relationship.”
Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper — the dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center – stated, “It is unprecedented for an outgoing administration to make such a draconian foreign policy shift — while simultaneously packing their boxes to leave Washington. Secretary Kerry makes it sound like it’s the apartments and kindergartens built in Jewish communities on the West Bank that are the main impediment to a two-state solution, when he and those diplomats who voted for UNSC 2334 know that it is Palestinian terrorism, and the continued control of Gaza and the largest portion of the Palestinian population by terrorist Hamas that is the main roadblock to a true peace.”
“Get rid of Hamas, its terror tunnels, tens of thousands of rockets aimed at the Israeli heartland, get rid of the genocidal hate brainwashing Palestinian children and the world will see a two state solution rapidly become a reality,” Hier and Cooper continued.
Morton A. Klein — national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) — said in a statement that Kerry’s address was “filled with anti-Israel vitriol and falsehoods” and “essentially was a proposal for a Hamas-Fatah-Iranian-Palestinian-Arab terrorist state, which divides Jerusalem in two, forcibly evicts Jews from their homeland, and requires Israel’s retreat to indefensible borders.”
Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks stated, “By claiming this speech is a framework for peace in the Middle East, President [Barack] Obama and John Kerry are playing the Jewish community for fools. Their recent actions at the United Nations did nothing more than allow President Obama to take a parting shot at Israel and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, while at the same time creating new roadblocks to peace. True peace in the region cannot be achieved by isolating Israel in the international community, but rather can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
In a statement, B’nai B’rith International said, “Kerry’s speech, at times suggesting equivalence between the Israelis and Palestinians, neglected to describe all the ways in which the US-Israel alliance is deeply in America’s national interest. We regret that the final weeks of the current administration have been overshadowed by unnecessary strain in this relationship, and urge that no further action be taken to weaken it, whether at an upcoming political conference in Paris or at the UN in New York.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement, “While we appreciate Secretary Kerry’s concern about policies and dynamics that may jeopardize the path to a two-state solution, we are deeply disappointed by elements of his speech and cannot separate it from the US abstention at the UN Security Council. Despite Secretary Kerry’s explanation, the US abstention has the potential to set in motion many initiatives that delegitimize and demonize Israel, rather than advancing the peace process.”
J Street, on the other hand, said in a statement it “applauds Secretary of State Kerry’s speech today, which powerfully made the case that the two-state solution is not only in Israeli and Palestinian interests, but in the American national interest as well…We thank the secretary for delivering that message so powerfully and calling urgent attention to the deteriorating reality on the ground that is challenging the viability of the two-state solution.”