John Kerry Brings Passion to State Department

Why His Nomination Is Israel's Gain

Good PIck: Sen. John Kerry is a strong supporter of Israel and will make
getty images
Good PIck: Sen. John Kerry is a strong supporter of Israel and will make

By Joel Rubin

Published December 21, 2012, issue of December 28, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

America’s policy toward Israel and the Middle East was front and center in the political debate this election year, from Iran’s nuclear program to Israeli-Arab peacemaking to America’s response to the Arab Spring. And American Jews decided resoundingly — by a 70%–30% margin — that Barack Obama was the right man for the job of commander-in-chief.

Now the president needs to pick a new secretary of state, one who will have big shoes — or, as my wife would say, pumps — to fill. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a superb secretary of state, not only leading but also managing to be a great teammate. Her approval ratings are as sky-high as her effectiveness.

John Kerry, the senior Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who was officially nominated Friday, would be a great pick to succeed her.

I interned for Kerry back in the 1990s as an undergraduate student at Brandeis University, perhaps the most pro-Israel college in the country. To me, Kerry seemed larger than life, a passionate man who could command a room without effort, and who had an extraordinary grasp of the issues, domestic and foreign. I saw Kerry’s passion again, more than a decade later, when I worked at the Middle East desk at the State Department and later in the Senate as a foreign policy aide. I witnessed how Kerry made the tough calls and led by example, just as he had done when he spoke out against the Vietnam War as a young man and combat veteran.

Kerry understands how to use these formidable skills to strengthen our country’s relations with close allies like Israel. He is a longtime advocate for an ironclad defense partnership between Israel and the United States, and a vigorous American diplomatic role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He understands the challenge from Iran and is a ruling voice for active American global leadership to resolve the crisis over its nuclear program. Kerry has directed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he leads to take on each of these issues, ensuring that Israel gets the defense aid it needs and the diplomatic support it depends on, and that Iran gets the penalizing sanctions it deserves.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.