John Kerry’s ugly warning to Israel

Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that if Congress rejects the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, Israel will be blamed. “I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn it, our friends Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed,” Kerry told the Council of Foreign Relations.

The question is: “more blamed” by whom?

The answer, I think, is “more blamed” by the Obama administration. As Jennifer Rubin says:

Kerry does not “fear” Israel would be blamed; he is threatening to blame Israel if U.S. lawmakers decide that the deal is not in the interests of the United States. Not only is he inciting anti-Israel fervor, but he also is repeating another canard, namely that Israel controls Congress.

In doing all this, the administration echoes ancient tropes against the Jews and not-so-ancient ones against an Israeli government that won’t meekly assent to its death.

Israel will indeed be blamed if Congress rejects the Iran deal. It will be blamed by the usual suspects, among whom the Obama administration features prominently, who blame Israel for a wide range of ills, including the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the break down of peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

As Michael Oren says, “the threat of the Secretary of State who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of becoming an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal.” Nor should it deter Israel’s friends in Congress (and elsewhere).

The Obama administration is on its way out. The other “usual suspects” will continue to blame Israel for whatever, but their utterances have never counted for much.

Issues of blame pale in comparison to issues of security — Israel’s, the wider Middle East’s, and ultimately our own. If Kerry had a strong case that his deal promotes security, he probably wouldn’t be resorting to thinly veiled threats against Israel.