PM Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry seems to have an “acrid and obsessive” place in his heart for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel, MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) said on Wednesday.
Oren’s comments came in response to remarks Kerry made on Tuesday at a forum in Washington, saying that Israel and Egypt urged the US to “bomb Iran” before the ranian nuclear deal that he brokered was signed in 2015.
Kerry, who was defending the deal, said Netanyahu was “genuinely agitating towards action.” He said that when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a period spanning from 2009 to 2013, he met with Saudi King Abdullah, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Netanyahu, and they all pushed for military steps.
“Each of them said to me, you have to bomb Iran, it’s the only thing they are going to understand,” he said.
Kerry said that it was “a trap,” since the Arab countries would have publicly condemned and US action.
According to Oren, who was Jerusalem's ambassador to the US from 2009-2013, “Israel, along with other like-minded governments in the Middle East, understood that a credible American military option was the only way to resolve the Iranian nuclear threat, whether militarily or diplomatically.”
Oren said that while the Obama administration, including Kerry, framed the options as binary, insisting that the only alternative to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat was war, “nobody in the Middle East believed it, above all the Iranians.”
The alternative to the Iranian deal was not war, Oren argued, “but a better deal and one of the ways you could get a better deal was to have a credible military threat. The irony was that the more credible the military threat, the less likely you would have to use it.”
According to Oren, Kerry “has a particularly acrimonious and sometimes obsessive place for us [Israel], and for the prime minister. He also thinks that the Iran nuclear deal was a historic diplomatic achievement. I personally feel that it was the collapse of American credibility in the Middle East and a significant danger to our future and the future of our children. That is a huge difference.”
Oren said that Kerry revealed his mindset toward Israel in the speech he gave in December 2016
defending the US non-veto of an anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council that placed the onus for the stalemate in the Middle East diplomatic process on Israel’s shoulders because of the settlements.
“Kerry gave an hour-and-a-half speech about the settlements, talking about how American ideals drove him to go against the settlements,” Oren said, noting that those same ideals did not drive him to do much about the half million people being killed in Syria.
Oren said that speech – which he noted omitted any mention of the peace offers Israel made the Palestinians, the disengagement from Gaza, the thousands of rockets fired at the country, the 1,000 Israelis killed by suicide bombers, and the fact that the Palestinians walked away from the negotiating table – “is indicative of a certain mindset toward Israel.”