web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Pro-Israel Community Warms To Prospect Of John Kerry As Secretary Of State


Senator John Kerry, nominated by President Obama to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, accompanied then-Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni on a visit to a police station in Sderot in 2009. They viewed the remains of rockets launched at Israel from Gaza.

Senator John Kerry, nominated by President Obama to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, accompanied then-Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni on a visit to a police station in Sderot in 2009. They viewed the remains of rockets launched at Israel from Gaza.

WASHINGTON – On a wintry day at a small Iowa shul in November of 2003, John Kerry got all verklempt.

The man whose opponents had taken to depicting as aloof and patrician, whose campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination had been all but written off by that point, leapt onto the dais at Tifereth Israel synagogue in Des Moines. Kerry delivered an emotional account of his then-recent discovery that his grandfather was Jewish and recalled how, on a visit to Israel standing atop Masada, he had cried out, “Am Yisrael Chai!”

The bond Kerry has forged with the Jewish community because of his roots and because of his interest in the Middle East has helped smooth over rough patches when he has criticized Israel.

“We’ve had disagreements in the past, but on the whole he’s a staunch advocate and defender of the U.S.-Israel relationship and Israeli security,” the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, told JTA in a telephone interview from Israel, where he was meeting with Israeli leaders.

Kerry rallied to win the 2004 nomination but lost the presidency, felled in part by images of him windsurfing and tales of high-society living with his heiress wife, Teresa Heinz.

He won big among Jews, however – 75 percent of their vote, in large part because of a connection based on shared liberalism.

Staff close to Kerry’s campaign at the time said the discovery by the Boston Globe of his Jewish antecedents – and the knowledge that relatives had perished in the Holocaust – deeply affected him.

Jay Footlik, who ran the Kerry campaign’s Jewish outreach, recalled that Kerry would take time out to be briefed on every new wrinkle in matters affecting Israel.

“He took a deep interest in the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Footlik said. “The community ought to be thrilled.”

These connections are helping Kerry win Jewish support for his nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as U.S. secretary of state. President Obama made the announcement that Kerry was his new choice on Dec. 21, after the candidacy of Susan Rice, currently the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was derailed by opponents.

In welcoming the nomination, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested an emotional bond with Kerry.

“John Kerry and I have been friends for many years,” Netanyahu said. “I very much appreciated the fact that six months ago, after my father passed away, he came to visit me during the week of mourning.”

As chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry often has acted as an advance man for Obama’s foreign policy, touting ideas the administration might not be ready to fully embrace. In March 2009, he called for a settlement freeze months before it became the centerpiece of tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu governments.

“Over these many years, John has earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world,” Obama said last week at a White House appearance alongside Kerry. “He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training.”

In a statement, the ADL noted, “Kerry has consistently been an effective advocate for Israel’s security in a dangerous region and demonstrated his commitment to fighting against anti-Semitism and bigotry all over the world.”

The statement said that Kerry’s first visit to Israel was in an ADL congressional mission in May 1986.

Kerry’s nomination also earned kudos from J Street, the liberal Jewish group that advocates for more U.S. involvement in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and encourages U.S. pressure on Israel to stop West Bank settlement expansion.

“Kerry would be well positioned to play a leading role should President Obama move to revive peace efforts aimed at achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” J Street said in a statement. “Kerry understands that peace is not only essential for Israel’s survival, but also a fundamental U.S. interest.”

Such agreement in the Jewish community on Kerry’s nomination stands in contrast to another rumored Obama nomination: former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for defense secretary.

Little of substance distinguishes Kerry and Hagel, insiders say. Each has advocated outreach to pariah nations like Iran and Syria, and each has issued sharp criticism of Israel – Hagel in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War and Kerry in 2010, against what he saw as the gratuitous excesses of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

What differentiates Kerry from Hagel, pro-Israel officials say, is his willingness to engage even when he disagrees, and his familiarity with the issues.

“Will we always agree? No,” Foxman said. “But we’re going to have in place someone who is knowledgeable, and that always works well for us.”

Daniel Mariaschin, who directs B’nai B’rith International, said he hoped that as secretary of state Kerry would show awareness of the uncertainties roiling the region, particularly in Egypt, where the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood has asserted control, and in Syria, which is mired in civil war.

Even before Obama’s announcement, Kerry had the backing of Senate colleagues, Republicans as well as Democrats. He has a longstanding friendship with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz); both men are Vietnam veterans and in the 1980s paved the way to reconciliation between the United States and Vietnam.

The pick earned quick plaudits from a leading pro-Israel stalwart in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.

“As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has worked to marshal support for tough sanctions against Iran and defend our ally Israel, and played a critical role as an envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Lowey said in a statement.

Kerry has a solid voting record on issues favored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but rarely has taken the lead on legislation AIPAC favors.

Kerry was a leader in the 1980s on Soviet Jewry issues in Congress, and he has maintained close ties with the successors to the Soviet Jewry advocacy movement, said Mark Levin, who directs NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eurasia.

“For the last 20 years he’s been intimately involved in every issue impacting the U.S.-Russia relationship,” Levin said. “He’s had an open door on Russia when it comes to xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Pro-Israel Community Warms To Prospect Of John Kerry As Secretary Of State”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists often misfire their rockets that explode in Gaza civilians areas.
‘Hamas Fired from UN School Area and Prevented Evacuation’ Says IDF
Latest News Stories
Eastern Jerusalem  Arabs clash with Israeli police.

Friday, the end of Ramadan, will show whether the Palestinian Authority wants to renew the intifada.

IDC APC covered with letters of support from children of Israel.

If you get the pun, let me know.

Hamas terrorists often misfire their rockets that explode in Gaza civilians areas.

Hamas committed two war crimes at once – firing from the area of the school and preventing civilians to evacuate.

Egyptian soldiers shot and killed a suicide bomber and blew up a vehicle loaded with Grad missiles, its military reported Wednesday. The suicide bomber was wearing a vest loaded with explosives while approaching the Kerem Shalom crossing. The truck with missiles and launchers was on the Egyptian side of border near Gaza. Since the fall […]

The number of rockets and missiles fired on Israel is decreasing, but the war is far from over.

Israel threatened to go disproportional on Gaza, if the FAA ban on US flights to Israel wasn’t rescinded.

Two people were injured in a mortar strike in the Eshkol region. One was hurt seriously, and the other was lightly injured. They were taken to Soroka hospital for treatment.

Hamas rockets exploded in the area, and there was heavy combat going on. UNRWA admits rockets hidden in their other schools have “gone missing.”

Chairman Avner Shalev: Countries must combat “expressions of anti-Semitism”

Israeli leaders say London has special responsibility to stand by Israel at this hour of need; Hammond: Israel right to defend self.

Finance, Economy ministries team up to support Israeli businesses struggling under weight of non-stop rocket fire.

New president to take office this evening; was elected June 10 following bitter campaign

Mrs. Beck took personal interest and was hands-on, sharing with her children, grandchildren, and others the wonderful values that she stood for.

Overnight clash leads dozens of Islamic heroes to surrender; many brought to Shin Bet for debriefing

Jewish communities from around the world have stepped up to support children from southern Israel who have lived their entire lives under the threat of missile attacks from Hamas freedom fighters in Gaza. (To quote the late comedian George Carlin: If firefighters fight fire, and crime fighters fight crime… what do freedom fighters fight? But […]

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Secretary of State Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

“As we have since the beginning of the process, we continue to support Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said in a statement to JTA.

WASHINGTON – Until recently, the rule of thumb in the pro-Israel community was that the bigger the academic group, the less likely it was to consider a boycott of Israeli colleagues.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/pro-israel-community-warms-to-prospect-of-john-kerry-as-secretary-of-state/2012/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: