In his recent “hot mic” moment, John Kerry responded to news of civilian deaths in Gaza with these words:
It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. Hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight.
The truth is that Kerry’s desire to “get over” to the Middle East has nothing to do with any lack of precision in Israel’s military operations. Kerry lives to inject himself into international disputes. The civilian deaths are just an excuse; a disabled dog would have served just as nicely.
Unfortunately for this would-be shuttle diplomat, Kerry has worn out his welcome in Israel. The Times of Israel reports:
Michael Oren, who until recently served as Israel’s ambassador in Washington, said Monday that US envoy John Kerry was coming to the region despite Sunday’s hot-mic incident, making it clear that he had not been invited. . . .It was plain from those remarks that Kerry decided on his own to come to the region, Oren said, rather than being invited to do so.
In comments to Channel 2 on Monday afternoon, Oren cited the Obama administration’s strained relations with Egypt, and the “tension” in ties between the US and Israel. To Israel’s chagrin, he said, America has consequently not been able to play a more constructive role in this crisis, whereas previous administrations had been able to do so in past crises.
He commented on the way the Administration handled the Arab spring, the blame it placed on Israel for the failure of the peace process, and the US’s strained ties with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Oren is hardly the only knowledgeable Israeli who feels this way:
Oren’s comments followed remarks Sunday by Channel 2′s veteran Arab affairs analyst Ehud Ya’ari, who said that as far as Israel is concerned, the secretary of state’s ceasefire trip was premature “and bad for Israel,” and that he should have left it to the Egyptians to lead the ceasefire effort. Ya’ari said many people, “including senior American officials,” tried to convey this to Kerry.
This marks the continuing trend of the Obama administration “to give credit” to the Muslim Brotherhood, in this case Hamas, Ya’ari said, except that now it’s graver, because “we’re in a war.”
Israel has long been the only important nation that takes the Obama administration seriously. The rest of the world does what it wants, but Israel foregoes building needed housing, engages in futile “peace” talks, apologizes to Turkey when the apology should have run the other, etc. — all against its better judgment and only because the U.S. wants it to.
I don’t doubt that Obama browbeats Israel in part because he doesn’t much like the Jewish State. But I also suspect he does so because Israel is one of the very few nations that still listens to him.
A president has to be able to throw his weight around somewhere.
But now it looks like Obama and Kerry have gone to the well once too often. As Oren makes clear, the Obama administration “has. . .not been able to play a more constructive role in this crisis” because it has forfeited its credibility with the key players, the first and foremost of which is Israel itself.
As John says, “Israel’s best course is simply to ignore Obama and his messenger, John Kerry. Thanks to the track record of these two, Israel may finally do just that.