Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday in Jerusalem and posed for a photo prior to the meeting (below). Israel is engaged in a deathly struggle with a genocidal enemy; Kerry seeks to retard its efforts. Kerry’s presence was — he has now departed to return to Cairo — as we have noted a few times, unwanted. Netanyahu was not thrilled to see Kerry. Our friend Ed Morrissey interpreted the photo, commenting concisely on Twitter: “Someone doesn’t look happy to see someone else.”
If he could have, Netanyahu might have borrowed from Jeremiah Denton’s playbook and communicated his message to the world in Morse Code, blinking his eyes: T-O-R-T-U-R-E!
Taking a break from his work in Jerusalem yesterday, Kerry paid a courtesy call on the parents of Max Steinberg, the 24-year-old Los Angeles native and IDF soldier who was killed in action in Gaza. Steinberg had been a member of Israel’s elite Golani brigade and his funeral elicited a massive turnout.
Kerry appeared at the shiva held that evening to express his condolences. According to the Jewish Journal, “Kerry entered and exited the room swiftly, surrounded by men in black and refusing to take any questions from press.”
For a Secretary of State, Kerry is one weird dude. It’s nice that he appeared at the shiva; his attendance speaks for itself and, I am sure, meant a lot to the family. Yet Kerry seems to lack a certain tact that is common among average Americans. You might even say it comes naturally to them. Where others fall back on conventional expressions of sympathy that ease human interaction under difficult circumstances, Kerry struggles unsuccessfully to simulate normality.
“How’s your day?” Kerry asked as he sat down. Well, they just buried their son, but other than that…
“How’s your day?” Mrs. Steinberg responded.
“My day’s going better than yours,” Kerry allowed. He understands they just buried their son…he just doesn’t know what to say. How about something like: I pray that you will find consolation in your son’s memory. Just for starters.
Kerry didn’t say that, but he added: “I am so honored to be here. I am in awe of your son, truly,” Kerry told the family. “And I think you know, I served in the military, and I have great respect for anybody who… especially puts themself [sic] willingly in harm’s way. And as an American, we’re so proud of the affection that he felt, just the love he felt, and the roots he found in this country.”