Secretary of State John Kerry’s brother took the unusual step Sunday of writing an op-ed defending him against accusations by some Israeli politicians of being anti-Semitic.
Cameron Kerry, who converted to Judaism, wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth that “such charges would be ridiculous if they weren’t so vile.”
The pressure that John Kerry has been placing on Israel to soften its stance in the Middle East peace talks was condemned publicly by at least one member of Israel’s Knesset – MK Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home – as possibly containing “anti-Semitic overtones,” and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon reportedly accused him of taking a “messianic” and “naïve” approach to talks.
The Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel – an activist group founded by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo, who also founded the far-right Our Land of Israel party – also accused Kerry of “declaring war on G-d.”
In Cameron Kerry's op-ed, which appeared in Sunday's edition of Yediot and was translated into English on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv’s Facebook page, he detailed this family's own experience with anti-Semitism.
"At Terezin,” he wrote, “I walked along the banks of Ohre River and joined other members of our temple in saying Kaddish at the place where the Nazis poured out the cremated remains of some 22,000 inmates who died at Terezin. These presumably included the remains of my paternal great-uncle Otto Lowe, who died at Terezin in 1942. He, along with his sister Jenni, was transported to Terezin in 1942. Jenni was soon sent to die at Treblinka.”
He noted that the grandfather, Frederick Kerry, was born Fritz Kohn in Czechoslovakia and, upon emigrating to America and joining the military changed his name and converted to Catholicism because of anti-Semitism in the army's ranks.
“All this is part of my brother John Kerry’s DNA,” Cameron wrote.
“I recall when he came home from his first visit to Israel with friends from the Boston Jewish community, more than thirty years ago as a young senator: he spoke vividly of flying an Israeli military jet over the country and realizing how it was possible to cross the country in a matter of moments. Today, his determined work on Middle East peace is informed by an abiding sense of the need to secure Israel as a home for the Jewish people,” the op-ed said.
“It is this deep involvement that has led to the conviction that Israel’s long-term security requires a two-state solution — that, in the face of the inexorable forces of security, demographics, and geography, Israel cannot sustain occupation of the West Bank and remain both democratic and Jewish.”