Will John Kerry Once Again Blame The Jews If He Fails?
Last week came the wholly unsurprising news that Secretary of State Kerry has announced that Israel, and by implication, Israel’s Jewish supporters in the US, will be blamed if Congress fails to approve of his disastrous deal with Iran.
It’s unsurprising because Jews did not need John Kerry to tell us that if he fails to persuade only a third of Congress to support him, we will be blamed for whatever happens next. We knew this already. We knew this in part because Jews have been, and still are, blamed for everything in history from the death of Jesus to passing French military secrets to the Germans. Mostly, however, we knew this because we have seen this administration scapegoat Israel for the failings of others time and time again.
We knew that Kerry would blame Israel again, just as he did in April of 2014, when his so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed, eventually creating an opening for war. Then, Kerry sat before Congress and blamed Israel’s building of houses in Jerusalem, despite the fact that he himself knew from the outset that such building would occur during the pendency of the talks.
We knew, because in October of last year, Kerry blamed Israel for the rise of ISIS, saying,
As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that.
Although then-Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf attempted to walk back the comments, this absurd allegation was – and still is – there on the State Department website for all to see.
We knew that Kerry would blame the Jews again because in November, he blamed Israeli Jews who want to pray at Judaism’s holiest sight for Muslim violence on the Temple Mount. He said at the time that he and Palestinian Authority President Abbas “particularly talked about the urgent need to address the greatest tension between Israelis and Palestinians beginning with the imperative, the absolute need to uphold the status quo [i.e., no Jewish prayer] regarding the administration of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and to take affirmative steps to prevent provocations and incitement.” (emphasis added)
President Obama has certainly played the Jewish blame game as well. Last fall he blamed Israel’s Prime Minister for failing to enact and apply discriminatory housing regulations that would be plainly unconstitutional in the US, in order to ban Jews from legally purchasing homes in certain parts of Israel’s capital city. In the spring, the President blamed Netanyahu for having the gall to accept an invitation from the US Speaker of the House to address Congress, a coequal branch of government.
Jews have even been blamed by this administration for European anti-Semitism, as Michael Oren wrote in Ally. “Several American Jewish leaders,” he wrote, “told [him] that, in closed briefings, administration officials had cited Israel’s actions in Gaza as the reason for sharply rising anti-Semitism in Europe.”
Yes, Jews knew that this administration would blame us for its own failure this time, just as it has in the past.
The principal finally enunciated by Kerry, but known all along, that Jews would be blamed if the deal is not approved, may partly explain some puzzling polls. The LA Jewish Journal reported survey results last week that did seem to surprise many. In that poll, Jews favored the administration’s proposed agreement with Iran by a far wider margin than did non-Jewish Americans. The Journal’s poll showed 49% of American Jews supporting the deal, compared to only 28% of national respondents. (Other, more recent polls, however, have reached different results.)
Of course, Jewish support for the proposed agreement is partly explained by Jewish support for the Democratic party. That alone, however, doesn’t seem sufficient.
Another part of the picture, very likely, lies in Kerry’s comments. Scapegoating and dual loyalty charges, both traditional anti-Semitic canards, in this case go hand in hand. Jewish dual loyalty, it is implied, is causing Jews to act against American interests and to try to sabotage a deal that is good for this country. For many assimilated US Jews, the knee-jerk reaction to such insinuations is “Not me!” The self-preservation instinct is to try to blend in, to make ourselves the not-Netanyahus.
Suddenly putting Jonathan Pollard back in the headlines now, although his release is not scheduled until November, is not, as many have claimed, intended to soothe Israeli anger over the Iran deal. The Pollard issue pales in comparison to the threat of a nuclear Iran; no one in the administration could possibly think that this would be an effective olive branch. Rather, it seems, putting Pollard back in the news now serves as another reminder of what happens to the dual loyalists; another subtle warning to Jews to get in line, to go along to get along.
The fear of scapegoating and dual loyalty accusations may also explain why the visible Democratic opposition to the deal so far has come from Representatives Grace Meng and Juan Vargas, and Senator Bob Menendez, while Senator Schumer’s silence has become increasingly conspicuous.
There is no question that this deal is disastrous for Israel, but that’s not the only, or even main reason that American Jews should oppose it. American Jews, like all Americans, must oppose this deal because it is bad for America. As has been amply demonstrated elsewhere, this deal will funnel billions of dollars to a regime that, less than a month ago, held a rally at which participants chanted “Death to America.” Secretary Kerry has admitted before Congress that conventional weapons that the regime will soon be allowed to legally purchase “may” be used to kill Americans. This deal will also compromise American morality by funding terrorism.
American Jews must not allow ourselves to be cowed into submission by Kerry’s bigoted insinuations, and should join the majority of Americans who want Congress to reject this deal.