Unfortunately, we seem to have reached a new low in U.S.-Israeli relations.
With less than a month to go before the end of the Obama administration, Secretary of State John Kerry defended our nation’s deeply troubling decision to not veto–and instead abstain from voting on–United Nations Resolution 2443. The resolution, which passed 14-0 two days before Christmas, calls Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal.
In a speech delivered December 28, Secretary Kerry spoke with a rancor rarely heard in diplomatic discussions, especially those concerning our longtime ally Israel. He said the Israeli government was thwarting any hope of a two-state solution to the decades-long Palestinian conflict.
Kerry’s words were widely criticized as serving only to heighten tensions between our two nations. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) called the speech a “pointless tirade.” Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Kerry had “emboldened extremists on both sides.”
Kerry defended the U.S. commitment to Israel, arguing that “no American administration has done more for Israel’s security.”
With just three weeks to go in President Obama’s term, many people speculated on the need for and timing of Kerry’s speech. White House sources told CNN the administration wanted to be clear about where it stands on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Responding just hours after Kerry’s speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the remarks as “skewed against Israel.” He said the Secretary “obsessively dealt with settlements and barely touched upon the root of the conflict–Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries.”
“The entire Middle East is going up in flames, entire countries are toppling, terrorism is raging, and for an entire hour the Secretary of State attacks the only democracy in the Middle East,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Maybe Kerry did not notice that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christmas can be celebrated in peace and security.”
CNN called the back-and-forth “dueling speeches” that gave the U.S. and Israel “the opportunity to unleash nearly eight years of tension that has built up under the Obama administration.”
It’s clear that Netanyahu’s administration is counting the days until President-Elect Donald Trump takes office with a pledge to work more closely with, and to be more supportive of, the Jewish state.
It is the Israeli position, and I agree, that our failure to veto the UN resolution will hurt Israel AND undermine Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Nations that hate Israel will use Kerry’s speech to argue that the world, including the U.S., is against Israel. The Secretary’s position bolsters those who oppose a fair and rational solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that preserves Israel’s right to not only exist, but determine its own future.
A new year, a new attitude toward Israel . . . and maybe a reason to hope
Although Donald Trump appears to be more sympathetic toward Israel, we don’t know what the future holds. But in the meantime, we can take three very practical steps:
- Make our views about Israel, the UN vote, and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process known to our nation’s leaders. They need to hear from us.
- Pray for God’s protection on His chosen people. He has promised to bless the nation of Israel AND hear our prayers.
- Please give generously now and stand with the Jewish people during these very difficult times when even the U.S. has walked back its friendship and support. Your gift will reach Jewish people with humanitarian aid as well as present the Gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) to those who are waiting to hear of His love. We are ever grateful that you have chosen to partner with us in this work.
To thank you for your gift of $30 or more today, we’ll send you an important book. “Israel Matters” sheds critical light on a dangerous trend in the Church today and reveals a God who is faithful to His promises and covenant with Israel.
Thank you for reading along with me today and keeping up on important developments in the Middle East that impact both the outreach of Jewish Voice Ministries AND our shared commitment to the Jewish people.