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Kerry Un-Spins Jewish Leaders

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
August 9, 2013
Weekly Standard

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Secretary of State John Kerry met with a group of key Jewish leaders this past week, and was accompanied by the administration's all-star team on "peace process" matters: Martin Indyk, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes.

Kerry apparently read a prepared speech, which is odd in a setting like this at the White House. He told the heads of Jewish organizations that peace was a "strategic imperative" and that time was running out. The elders among the leaders will have been told exactly the same thing by Secretaries Rogers, Kissinger, Vance, Baker, Christopher, Albright, Powell, Rice, and Clinton.

Few if any of them will have been persuaded by Kerry's arguments. According to the Jerusalem Post, Kerry "argued that the regional strategic environment has become favorable for a peace agreement because opponents of peace have weakened over the past two years." He may believe this, but none of them do. Mubarak is gone and Egypt is unstable; Jordan has seen more demonstrations against the King in the last two years than in the ten before that, and now houses about 600,000 Syrian refugees; Syria is at war and the jihadi presence on Israel's border is growing. Moreover, American passivity in the face of successful and growing Iranian and Hezbollah activity in Syria, while Iran moves closer and closer to a nuclear weapon, will not seem to most Jewish leaders to help create a "favorable regional strategic environment."

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