U.S. Slams Israel Over 'Messianic' John Kerry Remark

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon's Dig 'Inappropriate'


By JTA

Published January 14, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Israeli defense minister’s reported description of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as “messianic and obsessive” is “offensive and inappropriate,” the State Department said in a rare and sharp rebuke to Israel.

“The remarks of the Defense Minister, if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs,” Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Yediot Acharonot on Tuesday quoted Moshe Yaalon as telling colleagues behind closed doors that Kerry’s pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace was “messianic and obsessive.”

“The security program the Americans presented us with isn’t worth the paper it’s written on,” Yaalon reportedly said, referring to an as-yet unpublished proposal drafted by U.S. Gen. John Allen that Kerry believes would facilitate Israel’s withdrawal from much of the West Bank.

“It has no peace and no security,” Yaalon reportedly said. “Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and on the Jordan River will ensure that Ben Gurion Airport and Netanya will not become targets for missiles from every which way. Secretary of State John Kerry, who came to us determined and acting out of some incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling, can’t teach me a thing about the conflict with the Palestinians.”

Psaki countered that Kerry and Allen “have been working day and night to try to promote a secure peace for Israel because of the secretary’s deep concern for Israel’s future. To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally.”

Yaalon has not denied the comments, but said in a statement released to the Israeli media that the United States was “our greatest friend and most important strategic partner, and if we have differences we work them out behind closed doors, including with Secretary of State Kerry, with whom I have numerous conversations regarding the future of Israel.”

Yaalon also described Israel’s relations with the United States as “intimate and of great significance for us.” His reported comments drew sharp rebukes from his colleagues.

“Even when we have disagreements with the U.S., they are always on the heart of the matter, not on the merits of an individual,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Knesset speech reported by The Jerusalem Post.

Tzipi Livni, the lead negotiator with the Palestinians and justice minister, wrote on her Facebook page, “One can oppose the talks in a substantive and responsible way without verbal abuse and destroying relations with our most important friend.”

U.S. Jewish groups mostly did not weigh in on the matter, with the exception of Americans for Peace Now, which called on other Jewish organizations to join it in “speaking out against his tirade.”

Reached in Israel, Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, said the incident was a “tempest in a teapot.”

“If he said it, he said it privately,” Foxman said. “God knows what the Americans say privately about the negotiations. Whoever leaked it is trying to make mischief between our two countries.”


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!
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • 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.