Month after awarding Kerry, Haim Saban repudiates him over Israel actions

Saban's condemnation of Kerry comes shortly after he hosted the secretary at his annual forum held by the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Haim Saban (photo credit: REUTERS)
Haim Saban
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – One month to the day since awarding John Kerry a plaque for his “noble and unflagging pursuit of peace,” Saban is now condemning the outgoing secretary of state for his “one-sided” speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Saban, an Israeli-American billionaire and Democratic mega-donor, said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “deeply disturbed” by the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from a UN Security Council vote condemning Israel for its settlement enterprise last month, allowing the resolution to pass.
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That move, coupled with a speech delivered by Kerry days later that characterized Israeli settlements as a death knell to the two-state solution, “undermine our country’s long-standing support for Israel and harm any long-term prospects for peace, which is in our national interest,” Saban said.
“I urge the Obama administration to stay true to our decades-old policy by vetoing any additional biased UNSC resolutions that may be introduced at the Paris summit later this month, and refrain from issuing any other policy statements that would only make things worse,” he continued.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fears the Obama administration has planned additional action at the UN in its final weeks at the White House.
In his speech, Kerry said that a two-state solution has been imperiled by a hard-right Israeli government “with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements,” intent on “cementing an irreversible one-state reality.”
Saban was one of the largest donors to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. He is currently lobbying Democratic Party leadership against choosing Keith Ellison, a congressman from Michigan who has come under scrutiny for past comments on Zionism and Israel, as chairman.
“In the months and years ahead, it is essential that the US – in its role as the only superpower today – take the necessary steps to maintain its credibility as an intermediary between the parties and work to advance a sustainable two-state solution, in which a Jewish, democratic State of Israel lives in peace and security alongside its neighbors or, until the conditions are ripe for peace, promote a separation between the two peoples,” Saban continued.
Just a month ago, Saban hosted the secretary at his annual forum held by the Brookings Institution in Washington.
“Thank you so much for all you’ve done,” Saban said, presenting Kerry with a large inscribed award.