This article originally appeared in the Times of Israel here.
John Kerry has been heavily criticized recently; however, I am not a critic of his motives. I do not think that he is an anti-Semite. When he says that Israel must reach a settlement with the Palestinians or we will have difficulty coping with the boycotts of the international community, I do not think that his intent is to harm Israel or justify the BDS campaign against us, a campaign certainly initiated and promoted by anti-Semites. In my opinion, he is making statements out of ignorance and naivety, his most distinctive traits in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There is no doubt that John Kerry’s statements, as well as the way he is currently brokering the peace talks, are harming Israel’s vital interests. Even though Israel does not have a peace-loving partner on the other side of the table, Kerry is presenting an image of the Israeli government as being unwilling to make concessions for peace. Nevertheless, it would be misguided to direct our anger towards Kerry, as if he actually understands what he is doing. His motives are not sophisticated, they are simply ignorant.
The negotiations with the Palestinians will fail once again, and the results of such failure will likely be catastrophic. An economic boycott towards us will not be the highest price that we will pay. Presuming that history always repeats itself, blood will be spilled once again in our streets when the failure of the talks ignites a new intifada. If and when this happens, G-d forbid, everybody will be looking for someone to blame.
The opposition parties will blame the government and try to replace it. Some of the coalition parties will blame Tzippi Livni and try to replace her. Binyamin Netanyahu will blame the Palestinians. The Palestinians will blame the occupation, and John Kerry will become a persona non grata in the Middle East. He will be remembered in the annals of history as one of the worst Secretaries of State who ever served the United States of America. One individual who understands the encroaching blame game is Mahmoud Abbas, who wrote an article last weekend in the New York Times, in which, he presents himself as a dove with an olive branch in its beak.
Avoiding the Blame-Game
None of the aforementioned individuals is the primary party responsible for the oncoming disaster. I place the complete responsibility on the person who created this terrible situation: President Barak Obama. The very fact that he has succeeded to avoid the blame-gaming currently raging in the media, proves the extent to which he is the most sophisticated politician in the mix. He sent John Kerry to do his dirty work, work which he avoids like the plague, thereby procuring an exemption for himself from journalistic criticism. Much can be said about Barak Obama, but unlike Kerry, he is not naïve.
President Obama carefully chose an unsuccessful politician and sent him as a lamb to the slaughter, purportedly to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, John Kerry did not succeed in winning an election against George Bush Jr., who was seeking his second term in office. Does Obama actually think that a politician, who lost an election to one of the least popular presiding Presidents in the history of the United States, will succeed in solving the most ancient and complicated conflict in the world? This leaves only two possibilities: either Obama wants to destroy the political future of John Kerry in the way that King David sent Uriah the Hittite to the front of the battle lines against the Philistines, or Obama is paying back Binyamin Netanyahu, because he knows that Kerry will embarrass Bibi with ridiculous proposals. It is likely that both possibilities crossed his mind.
Whatever his motives may be, when President Obama sent John Kerry into the thick of the battle, a strange situation was created. By doing this, he made it possible for the other leaders in the picture to also send inferior representatives to the negotiationing table. John Kerry, who failed in his election race against Bush, finds himself facing Tzippi Livni, who failed in her election race against Shaul Mufaz, who is facing the negotiation team of Mahmoud Abbas, who failed in his election race against Ismail Haniyah. Due to Obama’s ingenious maneuver, those ultimately responsible for the realities on the ground are enjoying an exemption from public censure, while their frustrated envoys will find themselves responsible for a catastrophe of historic proportions.
Obama, Netanyahu and Haniyah will be able to wash their hands, put all of the blame on their political rivals, and avoid responsibility for the results of negotiations, which were doomed to fail from the outset. Here is the place to note that Obama’s actions speak louder than his words. Although the President has consistently declared from every stage and podium that he is a faithful friend of Israel, we can deduce with certainty from his actions that Israel does not have a friend in the White House today.