British Prime Minister Theresa May has criticized John Kerry’s oration on the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kerry called Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition “the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements.” And, of course, he condemned Israeli settlement building as a threat to the “two-state solution.”
May responded that her government “[does] not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.” She added:
We are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.
Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post reports that May’s response “was met with surprise by the State Department.”
It doesn’t take much to surprise these clowns. Kerry and the president he serves on the way out. Thus, Great Britain has an obvious interest in tilting away from the administration’s anti-Israel position and towards president-elect Trump’s.
Contrary to the naive assumption of the geniuses at Foggy Bottom, the fact that Britain was complicit in seeing the anti-Israel resolution through the Security Council adds incentive to back away from Kerry’s statement. Trump will have taken notice of Britain’s complicity, thus increasing the need for May to show the new American administration that her nation isn’t marching in lockstep with the outgoing one.
If our State Department truly can’t figure this out, that’s scary.
It’s true that Germany and France haven’t criticized Kerry’s statement. But these nations lack the special relationship with America that Britain traditionally has enjoyed, and would like to maintain. Moreover, neither country’s government is as likely as May’s to desire close relations with Donald Trump (or, quite frankly, to be put off by Kerry’s one-sided screed against Israel).
Australia, part of the Commonwealth realm, also distanced itself from Kerry’s statement. In fact, Australia did not support the Security Council resolution. Unfortunately, Australia isn’t on the Security Council.
In less than a month, there will be a new sheriff in Washington. Great Britain realizes the implications. Maybe folks at the State Department should do the same.