So Kerry Blamed Israel - What Else is New?

Everything this administration does is offensive anyway.

Benyamin Korn

OpEds Bert Korn
Bert Korn

If there's one good thing you can say about the Obama administration's various statements blaming Israel over the latest Palestinian violence, it's this: at least they're consistent.
This is an administration that has tolerated Russia's aggression against Ukraine, watched silently as Syria's Bashar Assad has slaughtered his own citizens, richly rewarded the terrorist regime in Iran, and embraced the dictators of Cuba.
In other words, the Obama administration always sides with, or at least refuses to act against, the world's dictators, terrorists, and aggressors. It always criticizes, pressures, or abandons America's democratic allies. So why should we expect the administration to suddenly regain its moral compass and common sense when it comes to Israel and the Palestinian Authority?
The latest pro-Palestinian statements by Secretary of State John Kerry  and other Obama officials are therefore sadly consistent with this administration's policies toward America's allies.
Secretary Kerry declared at Harvard University on October 14 that "there's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there's a frustration that is growing."
In fact, Israel has not authorized the establishment of a single new "settlement" in Judea-Samaria since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin froze the creation of new communities there in 1992. What Kerry is talking about is peaceful, legal, construction within existing communities. A family adding a porch to its house, or a town building a new kindergarten--that's John Kerry's "massive increase in settlements."
But even if there had been a "massive increase in settlements," for Kerry to say that it causes Palestinian "frustration," and that the "frustration" in turn causes the violence, is to say that the violence is justified, or at least provoked. It absolves the terrorists of responsibility for their behavior.
  Since when is stabbing an old lady at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station an understandable or appropriate way to express one's "frustration"?  The Palestinians are engaged in massive construction throughout Judea-Samaria all the time, and more than a few Israelis find that frustrating--but you don't see them going into Ramallah to stab little old ladies.
In response to a barrage of criticism, State Department spokesman John Kirby attempted to "clarify" Kerry's statements--and promptly reinforced them.
Kirby denied Kerry said he was blaming settlements for the violence. But then Kirby added: "Is it a source of frustration for Palestinians? You bet it is, and the secretary observed that." No, the secretary of state does not simply "observe" things in the abstract. He had a reason for bringing up the settlements, and he had a reason for putting them in the same sentence as the Palestinian "frustration" and the Palestinian violence. The reason was to blame Israel for what the Palestinians are doing.
Kirby went further. He said the Obama administration has received "credible reports of excessive use of force against civilians," and the U.S. has "raised our concerns about that." In other words, in this administration's eyes, a Palestinian with a meat cleaver who hacks an Israeli passer-by to death is a "civilian," and an Israeli who shoots the murderer in self-defense is using "excessive force." Welcome to Obama's world.
The State Department spokesman said that the Obama administration "wants both sides to take the affirmative actions, both in rhetoric and in action, to de-escalate the tensions, to restore calm…"
If both sides were stabbing, bombing, and running each other over, and if both sides' governments were encouraging them to keep doing it, such a statement would make perfect senses. But when one side consists of inciters and stabbers, and the other side consists of victims defending themselves, then the blaming of "both sides" is outrageous and offensive.
But then again, pretty much everything about this administration's treatment of America's friends has been outrageous and offensive. It's not very comforting to say that Israel is just the latest in a long line of Obama's abandoned American allies. But it's the sad truth.

(Mr. Korn, chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists, is former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune.)