US Secretary of State John Kerry last week engaged in a disgraceful piece of Jew-baiting when he expressed “concern” – which was in fact a not-so-veiled threat – that Israel could be blamed if Congress rejects the Iran deal”:
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Friday that should Congress vote against the Iranian nuclear deal signed last week in Vienna, Israel could find itself more isolated in the international arena and “more blamed.”
“I fear that what could happen is that, if Congress were to overturn it, our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated. And more blamed. And we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take. Because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over the next few years,” Kerry told an audience at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.
Not only was this a threat, it folded within it the charge of dual loyalty for Congress members who might vote against the deal; and also implied that most sinister of plots – the Jewish control or influence of Congress. Isn’t it amazing how much Jew-hatred can be expressed in two short paragraphs? As Kay Wilson remarked:
Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren roundly rejected and condemned Kerry’s words:
Israel’s former ambassador to the United States Michael Oren hit back sharply at US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday evening, warning that his earlier comments suggesting Israel could be blamed if Congress rejects the agreement with Iran on its nuclear activity would not deter Israel.
“If American legislators reject the nuclear deal, they will do so exclusively on the basis of US interests. The threat of the secretary of state who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of becoming an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal,” Oren, now a member of the centrist Kulanu party, said in a statement Friday.
Oren wasn’t the only Israeli politician to condemn Kerry’s words, as another Israeli official said that Kerry’s intimidation will not silence Israel on the Iran deal:
An Israeli official told The New York Times on Saturday that Israel will not capitulate to American pressure and will continue to criticize the nuclear deal that was reached earlier this month between Iran and six world powers. The remarks were made in response to comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who suggested over the weekend that if the deal was rejected by Congress, Israel would be blamed.
The Israeli official, who opted to remain unnamed citing “diplomatic sensitivities,” was quoted as saying, “We reject the threats directed at Israel in recent days.
“The U.S. Congress will make its decision based on American interests, which include consideration of U.S. allies. The regrettable attempt to intimidate Israel will not prevent us from voicing our concerns about this deal, which poses direct threats to Israel’s security.”
Kerry is evidently trying to “sell” the Iran deal to Jewish organizations but after “frank” talks with Kerry (read: contentious) the Jewish leaders still felt that their concerns had not been resolved. However, typically for American Jewish politics, the leaders are less liberal than their own constituents:
A poll by the Los Angeles Jewish Journal released Thursday, however, showed American Jews are far likelier than non-Jews to back the deal.
According to the survey, 49 percent of American Jews support the deal and 31 percent oppose it. Among all Americans, 28 percent support the deal and 24 percent oppose it.
This might have prompted Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky to call on US Jews to stand up to the White House over the Iran deal:
“Those of us who believe that the nuclear agreement just signed between world powers and Iran is dangerously misguided are now compelled to criticize Israel’s best friend and ally, the government of the United States,” Sharansky said.
Sharansky acknowledged that standing up against the White House in support of “what we think is right” for both Jews and the world, puts American Jewry at odds with the “power best able to protect us and promote stability.” Nevertheless, he said Jews must even risk giving the impression “that we somehow prefer war” rather than join those who believe “peace is on the horizon.”
The human rights activist noted that the U.S. Jewish community similarly stood up to the White House 40 years ago in a historic move that helped secure freedom for Soviet Jews at the time.
Sharansky called on Jews once again to actively oppose the White House like they did 40 years ago.
“Today, an American president has once again sought to achieve stability by removing sanctions against a brutal dictatorship without demanding that the latter change its behavior,” he said. “Of course, we are reluctant to criticize our ally and to so vigorously oppose an agreement that purports to promote peace. But we know that we are again at a historic crossroads, and that the United States can either appease a criminal regime… or stand firm in demanding change in its behavior.”
“A critical question is,” he concluded, “who, if anyone, will have the vision and courage to be the next Sens. Jackson and Javits.”
Pollard is dangled as bait:
Against this background we were suddenly greeted with the strangely-timed announcement that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard might be released this November.
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to release Jonathan Pollard, a US Navy intelligence officer convicted of spying for Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing US officials.
The release would end a decades-long fight between Israel and the United States over Pollard, 60, who was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced in 1987 to life in prison.
The Journal said some US officials hope the move will smooth relations with Israel following the Iran nuclear deal, which Israel opposes.
Some US officials are pushing for Pollard’s release in a matter of weeks, while others expect it could take months, possibly until his parole consideration date in November, the Journal reported.
But are the Americans are playing with our minds? Or is this just a matter of bureaucratic hurdles? Or a bit of both? US officials deny the reports of Pollard’s release:
U.S. officials on Friday denied a Wall Street Journal report that the Obama administration was considering early release for Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer convicted of spying for Israel.
The Justice Department said Pollard must serve his full 30-year sentence. It stressed that he has long been eligible for consideration for parole in November but insisted that the administration has no say in how that process unfolds.
The timing of the announcement leaves a bad taste in the mouth since it appears that Pollard’s release could be a quid pro quo for Israel agreeing to the Iran deal. In other words, Pollard would be kept as a hostage and “if you continue objecting to the deal, Pollard won’t be released”.
Israeli officials strongly objected to any linkage and asserted that Pollard should be released without any linkage or political considerations:
On Saturday, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) told Channel 2, “Pollard is supposed to be released after serving his sentence. There is no [Israeli] political or diplomatic involvement in this matter. It’s an American legal process. The parole board must approve his release from jail after 30 years.”
Kulanu MK Michael Oren, who during his stint as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. visited Pollard in prison, said, “While we will be delighted that Jonathan Pollard will be a free man again, this will not change in any way our position on the [Iran] nuclear issue. The Pollard case is about justice and clemency and the nuclear deal about security and survival.”
Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, who heads the Knesset’s Pollard lobby, told Channel 10, “The notion that the release of Pollard is some sort of compensation for the nuclear deal with Iran is demeaning and insulting. This is a man who has served 30 years in American prison, and he must be released.”
Dr. Haim Shine in Israel Hayom correctly asserts that it is a moral duty to free Pollard and that any linkage to the Iran deal (which appears to be evident despite all the denials) should be rejected:
merica’s intransigence on the Pollard issue has been incomprehensible. Over the decades, numerous senior U.S. officials vetoed the release of Pollard and even threatened to quit were he to be set free. Heads of U.S. intelligence bodies exerted tremendous pressure on presidents, Republicans and Democrats alike, to prevent Pollard’s release. Despite their goodwill toward Israel, neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush were able to stand up to the steamroller of pressure applied on them to keep Pollard in prison.
The impression created by the Pollard story has been that his lengthy imprisonment was intended to deter dual loyalty among American Jews. Given the nuclear deal recently reached between world powers and Iran, it is important, ironically, to remember that Pollard gave Israel information that helped it deal with the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. So, in my view, it makes sense that Pollard’s potential upcoming release is being tied to the Iran deal.
Make no mistake, the release of Pollard at this time is not a gesture to Israel. Pollard is nearing the end of a long and torturous three-decade punishment. If the Americans truly want to placate Israel, they should think about how to change the ridiculous deal with Iran and ensure the future security of Israel and Western civilization as a whole.
The only thing that shocks and surprises me is how the US Administration can misjudge Israel so much, and how much they misunderstand us by trying to play us for a fool when their behaviour is so transparent.