The Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, wants Americans to know that the Obama adminisration is really, really upset — but not at Hamas for committing terrorist acts, using women and children as human shields, and digging tunnels for the purpose of mass-murdering civilians on Rosh Hashanah.
No-no-no. Team Obama is “fuming” (i.e., their poor little feeeeewings are hurt) because Israeli officials and the Israeli media — even its liberal wing — are furiously criticizing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for apparently doing all he can to sell out the Jewish state’s positions in attempting to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.
The “Big Story” item filed by Matt Lee and Julie Pace only scratches the surface in describing Israeli anger at Kerry (bolds are mine):
US FUMING OVER ISRAELI CRITICISM OF KERRY
The Obama administration pushed back Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism aimed at Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, with U.S. officials saying Kerry had in no way abandoned key Israeli needs.
“Israel has no better friend, no stronger defender than John Kerry,” said Tony Blinken, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security. He said the criticism of Kerry was based on “people leaking things that are either misinformed, or attempting to misinform.”
Other officials used even harsher language, saying the attacks on Kerry crossed a line and put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. Those officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter on the record by name.
Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also being accused of abandoning some of Israel’s key demands during the negotiations.
In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, “U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything,” wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday’s Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal newspaper. “Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a ‘strategic terrorist attack’.”
A visit to the Haaretz story referenced by Lee and Pace sheds light on an entirely unappreciated element of the situation in Israel.
In a characterization completely contradicting how he is portrayed in America, Shavit describes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “moderate” who may be overridden by “expansionists” if a tolerable ceasefire does not occur.
Reckless Kerry risks causing escalation
If Israel is forced to undertake an expanded ground operation, it would be appropriate to name the offensive after the person who caused it: John Kerry.
The moderate wing in the Israeli security cabinet is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. These two territorialist hawks are operational doves: They have no desire to conquer Gaza, or to cut it up, or to enter the population centers of Gaza. They are very afraid of shedding Israeli blood and also of a sudden collapse of international legitimacy. As a result, the strategy they have adopted is to weaken Hamas and not to destroy it – to prefer a diplomatic solution over a military one, and to aspire to a long-term, stable and early as possible cease-fire.
But facing these minimalists are the expansionists: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on one side, and certain senior IDF officers, too. This strange coalition is not cut from the same cloth. While the militant ministers hope to destroy Hamas, the officers are looking to penetrate deep into Hamas’ complexes to teach it a lesson it will never forget. But what the civilian hawks and the uniform-wearing hawks have in common is a desire not to stop, to advance and to derisively dismiss the notion that, in doing so, Israel is falling into a trap.
Until last weekend, the moderates held the upper hand …
… But over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ruined everything. Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a “strategic terrorist attack.” His decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey, and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework, was catastrophic. It put wind in the sails of Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal, allowed the Hamas extremists to overcome the Hamas moderates, and gave renewed life to the weakened regional alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends. The man of peace from Massachusetts intercepted with his own hands the reasonable cease-fire that was within reach, and pushed both the Palestinians and Israelis toward an escalation that most of them did not want.
So that is why everything now hangs in the balance. Hamas is exhausted, but fanning the flames time after time. Israel is showing restraint time after time. Netanyahu and Ya’alon are still managing a battle against those who may very well entangle Israel in a real war. But the way Kerry played into the hands of Turkey and Qatar, and the extremist Palestinians and Israelis, has created a situation that is still quite dangerous.
If Israel is forced to ultimately undertake an expanded ground operation in which dozens of young Israelis and hundreds of Palestinian civilians could lose their lives, it would be appropriate to name the offensive after the person who caused it: John Kerry.
Kerry’s conduct, particularly his attempt to push a bad deal onto the Israelis while pretending that it was perfectly fine, threatens to cause Israel to become more aggressive.
Thus, a writer at Israel’s philosophical equivalent of the New York Times is telling the world that it is John Kerry’s conduct, not justified Israeli criticism of that conduct, as claimed by Team Obama and their relay team at the AP, which is putting the U.S.-Israel relationship in jeopardy.
Matt Lee and Julie Pace read the same article I just excerpted, and failed to properly describe its perpsective. If this is how liberals in Israel feel, imagine what everyone else is saying.
We should never forget that in November of last year, Julie Pace reveled on live TV in the fact that the AP deliberately kept information about ongoing secret U.S.-Iran negotiations from the public for eight months at the specific request of the Obama administration. After Pace’s boast, AP’s media relations representative tried to claim that it “did not sit on” the story, only to be directly refuted by another news outlet whose reporter admitted that “were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks.”
I have brought up the previous matter to support my belief that, especially in Obama administration foreign-policy matters, it really is fair to characterize the AP as the Administration’s Press. Its take is not to be trusted. Sadly, its take is the most widely disseminated.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.