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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777
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Kerry Briefs Jewish ‘Leaders’ (Cheerleaders?) on MidEast Talks


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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Jewish "leaders" to promote talks between Israel and Arab Palestinians

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Jewish "leaders" to promote talks between Israel and Arab Palestinians
Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus



Secretary of State John Kerry met with what the Jewish Telegraph Agency described as “Jewish leaders” to “brief” them on the resumption of Israeli-Arab Palestinian talks on Thursday evening, August 8.

Although the briefing was off the record, the JTA quoted unnamed attendants who said several things.

First, that the meeting was dominated by Kerry’s “enthusiam for the resumed talks, and the serious commitment he said [sic] saw from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”

And second, that Kerry “repeated his appeal to American Jews to endorse and support the peace process, first made in early June”.

Invited participants at the briefing were: leaders from the Conservative movement, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Conservative movement, the Orthodox Union, American Friends of Lubavitch, B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Federations of North America, Hadassah, the National Jewish Democratic Council, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Clearly, for this State Department, as well as the JTA, Jewish “leaders” is synonymous with the entire spectrum from center to center left.  Where was the Zionist Organization of America? Where was the Republican Jewish Coalition? Where was Aish HaTorah? Where were any Jewish organizations that might point out the folly of the current talks, or the demand for horrifyingly painful concessions from one side just to start the talks at all, and none from the other side?

Oh, right, those present were the American Jewish CheerLeaders for this Administration and its Middle East efforts all of whom prove an airtight theory usually wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein: the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In fact, almost exactly four years ago, during Obama’s first term he had his first major sitdown with roughly the same set of Jewish “leaders.” The meeting was called at a time when American Jews who very uneasy about Obama’s interest in being supportive of Israel. At that meeting, one man actually did square his shoulders and dared to make a sideways suggestion to the president.

According to an account in the Washington Post, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein said to the president, “If you want Israel to take risks, then its leaders must know that the United States is right next to them.”

The president’s response did not give Jews or Israelis the assurance they had been seeking.  Obama said to Hoenlein, ““Look at the past eight years,” he said, referring to the George W. Bush administration’s relationship with Israel. “During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.”

In other words – being such good friends with Israel did nothing for President Bush’s ability to make progress on the peace process.  It looks like Obama’s Middle East team holds the same view the president expressed right to the faces of the American “Jewish leaders” back in 2009.   And now no one in that group is going to challenge him or his surrogates.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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Imported and Older Comments:

  1. SientjeSeinen935 says:

    Obama cannot be trusted, He is a muslim at heart.

  2. Obama cannot be trusted, He is a muslim at heart.

  3. YisraelMedad says:

    J St. is in there (at least now).

    Present at the meeting, which was off the record, were leaders from the Conservative movement, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, J Street, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Conservative movement, the Orthodox Union, American Friends of Lubavitch, B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Federations of North America, Hadassah, the National Jewish Democratic Council, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

    Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/08/08/news-opinion/united-states/kerry-briefs-jewish-leaders-on-peace-talks#ixzz2bTKFCOfT.

  4. ShiraLouisYashin says:

    Was there anybody there who actually lives in Israel?

  5. YisraelMedad says:

    it was a meeting with American Jewish leaders.

  6. J St. is in there (at least now).

    Present at the meeting, which was off the record, were leaders from the Conservative movement, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, J Street, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Conservative movement, the Orthodox Union, American Friends of Lubavitch, B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Federations of North America, Hadassah, the National Jewish Democratic Council, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

    Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/08/08/news-opinion/united-states/kerry-briefs-jewish-leaders-on-peace-talks#ixzz2bTKFCOfT.

  7. Shira Louis Yashin says:

    Was there anybody there who actually lives in Israel?

  8. it was a meeting with American Jewish leaders.

  9. HelenFreedman says:

    Obama’s worried about losing ‘credibility with the Arab states’. How does he account for the rabid anti-Americanism in Egypt today? What is America’s ‘credibility’ rating in Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Tunisia, and the rest of the Arab world where 19 American embassies have had to be shut down?

  10. Get back on your meds before your parole is revoked

  11. MartinKochberg says:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like, no not Christmas, but Munich.

  12. Obama's worried about losing 'credibility with the Arab states'. How does he account for the rabid anti-Americanism in Egypt today? What is America's 'credibility' rating in Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Tunisia, and the rest of the Arab world where 19 American embassies have had to be shut down?

  13. EvaFeld says:

    Kerry knows not what he is doing. He doesn’t see, doesn’t listen and above all doesn’t hear.

  14. It's beginning to look a lot like, no not Christmas, but Munich.

  15. BenjaminFox says:

    Tell the coward of Nam to go pound dirt, a real piece of dog dung.

  16. OdetteJones says:

    Kerry should speak to the Born Again Believers . That would be jaw dropping

  17. openid422 says:

    And too bad there was no one there from Agudath Israel, the Orthodox conservative political advocacy group, as well as no one from the RJC!

  18. Nanette CohenRayman says:

    Isn't the ZOA in America? Why were they not there?

  19. Eva Feld says:

    Kerry knows not what he is doing. He doesn't see, doesn't listen and above all doesn't hear.

  20. Benjamin Fox says:

    Tell the coward of Nam to go pound dirt, a real piece of dog dung.

  21. Odette Jones says:

    Kerry should speak to the Born Again Believers . That would be jaw dropping

  22. Anonymous says:

    And too bad there was no one there from Agudath Israel, the Orthodox conservative political advocacy group, as well as no one from the RJC!

  23. Ltc Howard says:

    THIS WAS MY RESPONSE TO JTA:

    JTA: KERRY IS PLANNING ON HOLDING A SIMILAR MEETING ON FRIDAY WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF ARAB-AMERICAN GROUPS.

    I believe that American Jews and American Arabs should demand a joint meeting to prevent this administration from whispering “understandings” into each of their ears that are meant only to seduce support. Having been at these meetings, I can testify that they are said only to "sell damaged goods".

    JTA: NERVOUS ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR FAILURE, WARNING OF CIRCUMSTANCES — FOR INSTANCE, PRESSURES ON NETANYAHU — THAT COULD UNDERMINE THEM.

    HE REPEATED HIS APPEAL TO AMERICAN JEWS TO ENDORSE AND SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESS, FIRST MADE IN EARLY JUNE WHEN HE ADDRESSED THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE.

    KERRY SAID THERE WAS A “STRATEGIC IMPERATIVE” TO ARRIVE AT A DEAL SOON, AND SAID HE UNDERSTOOD THE DIFFICULTIES NETANYAHU FACED IN DEALING WITH A COALITION THAT INCLUDED RIGHT-WING PARTIES.

    Rightfully, Prime Minister Netanyahu should represent the complete spectrum in Israel.

    This is an appeal to American Jews to undercut the decisions made by the Israeli government. American Jews should not fall for this trap. Israeli security is the responsibility of the government of Israel. It is extreme arrogance for American Jewish leaders to intervene in the decisions that Israel will live or die by. As a military advisor I give my advice and explain my thinking. Neither Gen. Dempsey, Gen. Allen nor I are truly qualified to supersede the responsible military and government officials in Israel. (And I have a lot more on the ground experience than does Dempsey and Allen. If you don't believe me, check out their military assignments on Wikipedia.)

    JTA: KERRY EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION’S NEW POLICY OF NOT GIVING GRANTS AND PRIZES TO ISRAELI ENTERPRISES IN OCCUPIED AREAS, SAYING IT WAS THE SORT OF MOVE THAT COULD NUDGE AWAY NETANYAHU.

    This should nudge away all of Israel. This was orchestrated by the United States as a threat to Israel. The US is not powerless. The US was aware of this move and their silence was taken has affirmative endorsement. The US let it happen and pretended to be a shocked and dismayed bystander. Make no mistake this was a threat.

  24. Ltc Howard says:

    Rightfully, Prime Minister Netanyahu should represent the complete spectrum in Israel.

    This is an appeal to American Jews to undercut the decisions made by the Israeli government. American Jews should not fall for this trap. Israeli security is the responsibility of the government of Israel. It is extreme arrogance for American Jewish leaders to intervene in the decisions that Israel will live or die by. As a military advisor I give my advice and explain my thinking. Neither Gen. Dempsey, Gen. Allen nor I are truly qualified to supersede the responsible military and government officials in Israel. (And I have a lot more on the ground experience than does Dempsey and Allen. If you don't believe me, check out their military assignments on Wikipedia.)

    JTA: KERRY EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION’S NEW POLICY OF NOT GIVING GRANTS AND PRIZES TO ISRAELI ENTERPRISES IN OCCUPIED AREAS, SAYING IT WAS THE SORT OF MOVE THAT COULD NUDGE AWAY NETANYAHU.

    This should nudge away all of Israel. This was orchestrated by the United States as a threat to Israel. The US is not powerless. The US was aware of this move and their silence was taken has affirmative endorsement. The US let it happen and pretended to be a shocked and dismayed bystander. Make no mistake this was a threat.


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