White House Enlists Jews To Push Back Hard Against Critics of Peace Process

J Street Leads Charge as Rhetoric Gets Ugly


By Ron Kampeas

Published February 10, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

The harshest public attacks on Kerry — the ones that drew the rebukes from centrist American Jewish groups — have come from fairly marginal Israeli figures. U.S. officials, however, also are upset by criticism of Kerry coming from more significant figures within the Israeli government.

Senior Obama administration officials told JTA that Kerry has made his unhappiness clear in the daily phone calls he has with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The prime minister has been responsive. According to The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu told a party faction meeting last week that the best way to disagree with the Obama administration is by “substantively discussing the issues and not by engaging in personal attacks.” Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, told a group of businessmen in Tel Aviv that Kerry is a “true friend of Israel.”

“We deeply appreciate Secretary Kerry’s commitment to Israel’s security and to helping Israel achieve a lasting and secure peace with the Palestinians,” Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, told JTA. “Throughout his nearly 30-year tenure in the U.S. Senate and as secretary of state, Secretary Kerry has been a staunch supporter of Israel and of strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance.”

Most of the statements from centrist Jewish groups were triggered by remarks last month by Moti Yogev, a backbench Knesset member from the Jewish Home party who said in an interview that Kerry’s “obsessive” focus on the talks “may have anti-Semitic undertones.”

The American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and World Jewish Congress condemned Yogev’s remarks.

The ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, called the comments “offensive” and “ beyond the bounds of legitimate critique.”

The Orthodox Union’s statement, which it issued with the Rabbinical Council of America, condemned the Israeli rabbis who had put out a letter likening Kerry to Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who destroyed the First Temple, and warning that the secretary of state could face “heavenly retribution.”


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!
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • 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.