In his new memoir titled “Every Day Is Extra,” coming out on Tuesday, former secretary of state John Kerry recalls that his great nemesis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called Middle East leaders habitual liars. Describing a meeting with the PM in 2013, Kerry writes:
“I met with Bibi at the King David Hotel. He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘John, I’m willing to give this effort a try, but there are two things you should know: first, everyone in this region lies all the time and you Americans have a hard time understanding that; second, the most I can do may be less than the least Abbas could ever accept.’”
But Kerry accuses Netanyahu of changing his mind at the last minute, after having agreed to pull the IDF out of Judea and Samaria and replacing them with American soldiers (the notorious Gen. John Allen’s security plan):
“It was now clear to all of us that Bibi was not interested in actually addressing the security questions in a way that could allow for the eventual withdrawal of the IDF. I concluded that this wasn’t about security,” Kerry writes.
Kerry did not like Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March of 2015: “As an unwavering supporter of Israel who always viewed my differences with Bibi through a political, not personal lens, I was disappointed in him… I thought we deserved better than a speech that hit below the belt.”
Kerry did not understand Netanyahu’s going over President Obama’s head this way, especially since, as Kerry puts it: “We always maintained our ability to bomb Iran if they didn’t comply.”
The above is a stunning line not because it was unrealistic back in 2015, but because Kerry appears to believe it even today.
Incidentally, Kerry recalls how Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at one point was close to blowing up the entire nuclear deal, when he cried out: “This is insulting. You’re trying to threaten me! Never threaten an Iranian.” Following which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov joked: “Or a Russian!” and broke the tension in the room.
Finally, it turns out that President Obama’s decision to betray Israel at the UN Security Council just before the end of his term, was in response, among other things, to then President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement of appointing David Friedman his ambassador to Israel.
“President-elect Trump had announced he was going to appoint an ambassador to Israel who was a hard-core proponent of the settlements and an avowed opponent of the two-state solution. At the same time, the Israelis had shown themselves to be completely disdainful of our policy by starting a process of formally legalizing outposts… We could not defend in the UN Israeli actions that amounted to a massive and unprecedented acceleration of the settlement enterprise,” Kerry recalls.
“We all understood the political firestorm we would face if we didn’t veto the resolution… There were some who argued for sucking it up because it wasn’t worth the political price. President Obama wasn’t willing to make a decision that he thought was counter to U.S. interests simply because of the politics,” he writes.
To remind you, in his farewell/rebuke speech to Israelis, on December 28, 2016, Kerry had a different explanation as to why Obama left Israel out to dry at the Security Council:
“In literally hundreds of conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I have made clear that continued settlement activity would only increase pressure for an international response.
“…Yet the settlement activity only increased – including advancing the unprecedented legislation to legalize settler outposts that the Prime Minister himself reportedly warned could expose Israel to action at the Security Council and even international prosecution, before deciding to support it. In the end, we could not in good conscience protect the most extreme elements of the settler movement as it tries to destroy the two-state solution.
“… That is why we decided not to block the UN resolution that makes clear both sides have to take steps to save the two-state solution while there is still time. We did not take this decision lightly. The Obama administration has always defended Israel against any efforts at the UN and any international fora, or biased and one-sided resolutions that seek to undermine its legitimacy or security. And that has not changed. But it’s important to remember that every U.S. administration – Republican and Democratic – has opposed settlements as contrary to the prospects for peace.”
He said nothing about David Friedman…