Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Is John Kerry's Record of Support of Israel As Good As He Claims?

In apologizing for claiming Israel could become an Apartheid state, John Kerry claims 30 years of support for Israel:
For more than thirty years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel, I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight.

...I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.
It's great that he wanted to be crystal clear on Israel -- especially considering Kerry's history of flip-flopping on his stand on Israel. Let's take a look at what Kerry's record on Israel actually was.

photo
By all means, let's question John Kerry's record on Israel



During Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, his changing support for Israel came under scrutiny. In The New Republic in May 2004, Lawrence F. Kaplan noted criticism of Kerry from pro-Israel groups:
Kerry's troubles with the pro-Israel community began in 2002, when he assailed Ariel Sharon for his approach to the peace process. Before long, Kerry was assailing the Bush team, too--for having failed to act as an "honest broker" and for having "restrained the State Department" from intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian maelstrom, especially when the "Arab leaders, I think, are prepared to move." In June 2002, Kerry even proposed inserting American troops into the mix, an idea Israel has long rejected, and, last year, he condemned Israel's security fence as "another barrier to peace," adding that he witnessed how "Palestinian women, traveling on foot, were forced to stand in long lines at checkpoints with their children tugging at their sleeves and their arms loaded with groceries."

...Kerry's rhetoric has also undergone a profound revision--it now sounds a lot more like Holbrooke's. Gone are references to Taba and Carter. Gone too, in fact, is any trace of the Kerry of earlier this year. Hence, whereas in October, he criticized the fence as "a barrier to peace," today he insists that the "fence only exists in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israel." In his "Meet the Press" appearance last week, the candidate seemed prepared to climb into a tank with Sharon, echoing, among other things, Bush's insistence that Israel has a right to maintain some territory it captured in 1967.
Lawrence reminds of how Kerry tone-deaf was in suggesting the appointment of Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, or former Secretary of State James Baker to Israel as special envoys -- until it was pointed out that Carter and Baker were not viewed as anti-Israel and Kerry dubiously blamed his aides for inserting the idea in his speech.

It was not for nothing that Martin Peretz, then-editor of The New Republic labeled him Kerry The Clueless:
I’ve searched to find one time when Kerry — even candidate Kerry — criticized a U.N. action or statement against Israel. I’ve come up empty-handed. Nor has he defended Israel against the European Union’s continuous hectoring.

Another thing that bothers me about Kerry is the deus ex machina he has up his sleeve: the appointment of a presidential envoy. It’s hard to count how many special emissaries have been dispatched from Washington to the Middle East to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s easy to see is that none of them has gotten to “yes.”
Hat tip to David Gerstman for sources.

Back in 2004, using the Kerry's Legislative Record on the Middle East compiled by the Jewish Virtual Library, Rick Richman found that John Kerry's voting record on Israel was not exactly stellar:
I decided the best indicator of the depth of Kerry`s support would be the instances where the pro-Israel position got 60 votes or less -- by definition the most controversial situations, the ones where Kerry`s vote mattered most.

There were 10 of those votes in the JVL list, and Kerry`s record there was . . . envelope please . . . six pro-Israel votes out of 10. So in the close-call category, Kerry was basically a 60-40 guy.

The JVL list notes that, in connection with the FY 2000 Foreign Aid Conference Report, Kerry opposed the pro-Israel position. In 2000, he failed to join 60 co-sponsors of the "Middle East Peace Process Support Act" — a bill calling on the president not to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state. He also failed to co-sponsor the pro-Israel "Peace Through Negotiations Act," which attracted 60 co-sponsors.

In 1993, Kerry failed to join 55 senators signing the Grassley/Lautenberg letter to the State Department, which demanded that it include Hamas in its annual report on terrorism.

Earlier this year, after the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin, Kerry exasperated even the Forward -- the paper that, two weeks before the New York primary, had dutifully reported to the Jewish community Kerry`s assertion that the reason he had named Jimmy Carter as his prospective Middle East envoy was a "staff mistake."

The Forward repeatedly sought Kerry`s reaction to the assassination, but could not get a response. On March 30, 2004, it reported that “John Kerry`s campaign last week used the excuse that the senator was on vacation in Idaho to dodge repeated requests from the Forward for a statement from him on Israel`s assassination of Hamas head Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. It is still dodging the matter.”
Speaking of dodging issues, keep in mind that Kerry also flip-flopped on Arafat: In his 1997 book The New Way, Kerry described "Arafat's transformation from outlaw to statesman" and then in March 2004 backpedaled, saying that "obviously, Yasser Arafat has been an impediment to the peace process."

On Kerry's intended Israel policy as president, William Kristol, pointed out that Kerry Will "Put More Pressure on Israel"According to his own foreign policy adviser.
Pro-Israel Kerry supporters protested vigorously. Kerry is pro-Israel, they said...

Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the man who is perhaps Kerry's top foreign policy adviser and surrogate, Richard Holbrooke. Appearing on The O'Reilly Factor Friday night, Holbrooke warned of a possible "Iran-type clerical dictatorship" in Iraq: This would be "very dangerous for Israel, the U.S. and the world." Then Holbrooke segued into an account of how Kerry would improve the situation in the Middle East: "He [Kerry] has said already he would start intense talks with the allies . . . and he would reach out to the moderate Arab states. He'd put more pressure on Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia above all."
So, bottom line, as a senator and presidential candidate:
  • Kerry refused to sign the Grassley/Lautenberg letter demanding that Hamas be listed as a terrorist organization

  • Kerry refused to sign a bill calling on the president not to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state

  • When the Israel issue was controversial with less than 60% support in the Senate (such as the Hamas bill), Kerry voted in favor 60% of the time.

  • Kerry did not criticize UN actions or statements against Israel, nor defended Israel against EU continuous hectoring.

  • Kerry did not expresss support for the assassination of Hamas terrorist head Sheikh Ahmed Yassin nor Hamas leader Rantisi.

  • Kerry in 1995 called Arafat a "statesman" despite the terrorist attacks on Israelis.

  • Kerry told an Arab group that he condemned Israel's security fence.

  • Kerry suggested Clinton, Carter and Baker as envoys to the Middle East.

  • Among Kerry's presidential advisors were Martin Indyk, who recommended Israel split up Jerusalem with the Palestinians, and Richard Holbrooke, who revealed that Kerry would put more pressure on Israel
And now as Secretary of State, we see Kerry's lopsided application of pressure on Israel:
Secretary Kerry's musings on the Jewish state's dire future have become a regular feature of his public remarks. His latest prediction follows other statements in recent months that have in effect threatened Israel -- never the Palestinians -- with a list of disasters should his diplomatic efforts fail: violence, isolation, delegitimization, boycotts -- and now "apartheid."
And on the basis of his record on Israel, Kerry stood there and lectured
For more than thirty years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel, I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight.

...I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.
Kerry is hardly the one who should talk about commitment and partisan, political purposes.

-----
If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!


Technorati Tag: and .
Post a Comment