Undermining Kerry, Democratic Rep Engel says West Bank is Israel

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The ad at the bottom right says Kerry is against and Sharon was for keeping the Jordan Valley in Israeli hands. At the bottom of the ad it reads, “No surrender to Kerry.  A second similar ad which featured former Foreign Minister, Abba Eban and Kerry, appeared on another page of the paper.

Word from the Arabic, Hebrew and English press is that the once much-touted framework agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has promised would create a meaningful pathway toward a final status agreement and that would be accompanied by a celebratory signing ceremony, has run aground.

A recent leak in Al Hayat claims that Kerry’s hope for what he now refers to as an “agreed upon framework,” has become a vague document that both sides will be able to interpret as they wish.   Other sources said that the document will be either non-binding (this actually comes from Netanyahu), or unsigned, or be characterized as only American suggestions.  It is not even clear if the paper that will be unveiled in Amman by the end of this month will be made public.  All of this works to the detriment of the Palestinians, who still appear willing to continue negotiations despite their justified accusations that Kerry is hewing very closely to the Israeli positions.

Despite the fact that Kerry is presenting mostly Israeli-friendly demands, the U.S. Secretary faced some stiff opposition last week from Israelis who oppose any U.S.-brokered accord and view Kerry as misguided and his plans as inimical to their ability to retain their illegal settlements.

A week of pushback against Kerry  started when a newspaper published off-the-record  intemperate remarks by Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, the Israeli Defense Minister, who called John Kerry  “obsessive” and “messianic,” among other ill-chosen insults.

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Anti Kerry protesters in Israel. The sign at the top says, “Oslo 3 is already here,” which is a reference to the failed Oslo peace process.  The lower banners say, “No surrender to Kerry.”

On Thursday a well-financed settler group began a series of newspaper ads, and announced the launch of a massive billboard campaign attacking the U.S. Secretary of State.

Young activists from the group, whose campaign is named, “Guard the nation, no surrendering to Kerry,” demonstrated at crowded intersections Saturday.  The demonstrators carried signs, chanted, sang and handed out literature.  Newspaper accounts indicated  that protests took place at “dozens” of locations– though from the photographs and videos on the net it appeared that only a handful of people were at each location.

קרדיט-תמונה-אלעד-גוטמן-Custom1

Yesh Atid demonstrators. Finance Minister, Yair Lapid is second from the left. The sign behind him says, “Separate from the Palestinians.”

In reaction to the right-wing activists, two different groups demonstrated in support of Kerry’s initiative.  Members of the centrist political party “Yesh Atid,” which is a part of the governing coalition and has given strong public support to the Kerry negotiations, mounted a counter demonstration.  Their motto is (irony alert!) the heartwarming, “Separate from the Palestinians.”  Their party leader, Yair Lapid, rejects the Palestinian demand for a capital in East Jerusalem, so the ability of his party to help achieve an agreement is severely compromised.

Activists from the so-called leftist political party, Meretz, also hit the streets, demonstrating in support of the Kerry negotiations.  Unlike “Yesh Atid,” Meretz has been highly critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu, questioning his desire to negotiate in good faith.

Jewish Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel Weighs in Against Kerry, Obama

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Rep. Eliot Engel

Although the rightwing Israel lobby currently has its hands tied attempting to subvert the Iran nuclear agreement,  it is probably only a matter of time before it gets after Kerry and makes a serious attempt to obstruct the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.  Three U.S. Senators already have showed up in Jerusalem during a particularly intense recent Kerry visit in order to echo the concerns of the Israel Prime Minister.  They were Republicans. However, as in the Iran debate, Democrats are sure to bolt from their President to back the Israeli cause.

Rep. Eliot Engel, a Jewish Democrat from the Bronx, New York, made his opposition to the Kerry Israel plan clear in an Israeli Hebrew- only  newspaper.  On Saturday, the right-wing  daily Ma’ariv ran a story titled, “Bogie [Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon], We Are at Your Side: Also Friends of Obama are Against Kerry.”  The article claimed that many U.S. Representatives and Senators, even Democrats, are opposed to the Kerry Israel-Palestine peace initiative, but only actually mentioned two names, Reps. Brad Sherman (CA) and Eliot Engel (NY).

The Ma’ariv piece does include numerous lengthy quotes from Rep. Engel, in which he states that Kerry should not be presenting a document based on U.S. ideas and surely should not be exerting any pressure on the Israelis.  At least he did not agree with Ya’alon’s assertions that Kerry is messianic and too eager to get the parties to sign an accord.

Engel proudly opposes the notion, which is a U.S.-Israel policy mantra, that the settlements are an obstacle to peace.  Engel is sticking with Kerry and Obama by opposing the proposed Iran Sanctions Bill.

Here are some of Engel’s direct quotes from the article.

“It is not appropriate that Kerry will present an American document that will put pressure on Israel to accept dictates from anyone.”

“I am against any group or country that will impose a settlement.  A settlement must be signed as a result of a negotiation between the sides, and not because of an external force.”

“The international community was never fair to Israel.  Apart from the United States, the European states and the Quartet usually attack Israel at every opportunity.  Look what those nations do at the U.N.”

Question: Kerry should stop his scuttle back and forth and return to Washington?

“No.  I do not feel that way.  I only think that he does not need to come here with all the specific recommendations or a framework document.  I know John Kerry well, he is a friend of Israel and I trust him, but he has created the impression that he is eager to get an agreement.”

Question:  Too eager, messianic?

“No.  I would not say that he is too eager, but in Israel there are many people who think differently than he does and their concerns are different than his. I feel that if the sides will reach an agreement, excellent, but if not, a bad agreement will be worse than no agreement at all.”

On the phrase, ‘The settlements are an obstacle to peace.’  [IG]

“I never use that formulation, ‘obstacle to peace.’  My heart tells me that every Jew has the right to live in any place in Israel and that includes Judea and Samaria.   That does not mean that ignoring the location and timing, and announcing building tenders at all times is the correct thing to do.

“I believe that now, building in isolated settlements is not a good thing for Israel to do.  It plays into the hands of the Palestinians; they exploit it in order to show the world how Israel is not apparently interested in a peaceful solution.  Settlement building like that creates a distorted picture of Israel in the world.”

Question:  Are you opposed to Obama’s policies in regard to the settlements?

(Engel suppresses a smile)  “That is not the only issue where I oppose Obama.  I think that he is a friend of Israel and that he did great things for Israel, the Iron Dome, for example, or the difficult struggle at the U.N. against the resolution to declare a Palestinian state, and even using the veto.  But I do not think that the settlements are an obstacle to peace.  In this matter he [Obama] needs to act cleverly.”

Translation mine — IG.

About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , ,

{ 38 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Daniel Rich says:

    Q: New York Democratic Congressperson Eliot Engel criticizes Kerry and Obama in an Israeli Hebrew language newspaper. “My heart tells me that every Jew has the right to live in any place in Israel and that includes Judea and Samaria…

    R: Who gave the New York Angel the ‘right’ to hand out ‘rights’ halfway around the globe. At lest the Commonwealth didn’t come into being based upon some vague scriptures, but still it’s ordinary land theft what happened over time.

    • Krauss says:

      Right-wing Zionists always say, don’t look at what they say in international media, look at what they say in their own local media.

      Apparently Eliot, despite living in America, feels so Israeli that he believes it’s natural for him to wade into Israeli affairs in a Hebrew-language newspaper.

      And since he does, will the same right-wing Zionists apply the same principle here, namely, judge them by what they say in non-English media, where they are at their most honest? I doubt it.

      • seafoid says:

        Engel is no different to the politicians in the 60s who were funded by big tobacco to say smoking has no link to cancer.

        Money will walk all over a person’s conscience.

  2. American says:

    Do you believe this will happen?….I dont…I’d like to but I dont.
    I think Washington will do the donkey for US I-Firstdom till its dong falls off.
    Unless we get one hell of a President who doesnt give a damn about the Dem or Repub party in the WH.

    John Kerry’s peace plan is the very last time that Israel will be offered an agreement sympathetic to its concerns.

    By S. Daniel Abraham | Jan. 19, 2014 | 3:48 PM |
    link to haaretz.com

    ”My many years of involvement in the peace process teach me that the approaching decision is unlike previous ones. This is a watershed moment after which Israel will face a completely different situation – one which will be governed by new realities much less favorable than those Israel faces today.

    If this round of negotiations fails, the United States will probably disengage from further attempts to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The vacuum will be filled by other actors such as the UN Security Council. Unlike the United States, these actors have no great affection for Israel. Israeli interests will not receive as much positive attention as they do when Washington is in charge of the political process.
    If Kerry’s mission fails, Israel will be mistaken to assume that America will automatically veto every decision brought to the UN Security Council. Especially if such decisions correspond more or less to Washington’s perception of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel will discover that America’s patience with friends who demand its help while simultaneously ignore its interests is shorter than before. And it’s no secret that the United States believes that the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict significantly harms U.S. national security interests. ”

    U.S. demographics are changing and as a result the automatic sympathy Israel enjoys in the U.S. has greater potential of eroding. ”

    • I’d like to remind Mr. Abraham the U.S. government is not representative of its own people. So, as with most important foreign policies – such as wars — the U.S. government will ignore the wishes of its own citizenry and will continue to support Israel, right or wrong.
      To my dismay, Mr. Abraham, the “hasbara” is correct: the U.S.-Israel bond is unshakeable (though sick, twisted, and corrupt.) In 1967 the U.S. allowed Israel to nearly sink its own unarmed ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, and kill 34 of its sailors, even recalling the planes sent to protect it. Moreover, Israel’s criminal attack was covered up for years, lest the American people know just how craven Israel is.
      More recently, an American citizen, Furkan Dogan, was “summarily executed” in international waters (the U.N.’s words) while part of a humanitarian flotilla. Along with being shot several times elsewhere on his body Furkan was shot twice in the head before the coup de grace, a third shot to the face at point-blank range. Not a peep of protest from the nation that bore him.
      It’s true that diplomacy with Iran and less belligerence in Syria are not to Israel’s liking. But when it comes to policies towards Israel itself, its brutal occupation and non-stop land theft, America’s Fifth Column is strong, the Foreign Aid-Military Contracts-Congressional Bribery cycle is intact, and the American people are generally untutored about Palestinians. I think Israel can count on U.S. support for its crimes for some time to come.

      • American says:

        @soldier_wo_fortune

        True. The contrast between how the government treats Jewish and non Jewish US citizens and Israelis being harmed or killed is so striking that you cant ignore it.
        USS Liberty, Rachel Corrie,Furkan Dogan, Triston, former US congresswoman throw in jail in Israel, hundreds of abuses of Palestine Americans and non Palestine Americans at Israeli airport…..even going back to the bombing of the King David hotel and other violence against Americans—-not a peep out of the WH or State Dept.
        And yet the other day I saw in the news that Kerry had called the Pope–yes actually called The Pope —to ask his help getting the Jewish man held by Cuba released.

      • puppies says:

        Exactly. The quoted paper doesn’t seem to offer any measurable evidence to support its claims, which look like they have been exaggerated for internal use in Israel.

      • Kathleen says:

        “I’d like to remind Mr. Abraham the U.S. government is not representative of its own people. So, as with most important foreign policies – such as wars — the U.S. government will ignore the wishes of its own citizenry and will continue to support Israel, right or wrong.”

        I think this is generally spot on. But there is a crack in the “will continue to support Israel, right or wrong.” Noting that so many experts have been coming out with Israel’s illegal actions have been and continue to be a very serious and destructive National Security for the U.S. More and more folks are starting to get this fact.

        • American says:

          @ kathleen

          “But there is a crack in the “will continue to support Israel, right or wrong.” …..

          Yes there is a crack–however it is mainly connected to the Iran issue with a smaller crack alluding to AIPAC.
          But like I said the other day…we cant go on forever fighting ‘battles and never winning the ‘real war against the Zionist octopus in US congress.

          No one wants to say ‘fifth column’ or ‘McCarthy hearings’ in regard to Israel because they are afraid that would be portrayed as demonizing the Jews. But thats what needs to be done.
          And the way to avoid that accusation is to go after “All” the foreign lobbies ‘pretending’ to be American organizations,not just the Zioninst ones.

          ‘For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
          For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
          For want of a horse the rider was lost.
          For want of a rider the message was lost.
          For want of a message the battle was lost.
          For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
          And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”

    • NickJOCW says:

      Abraham scratches the surface. The negotiations will not get anywhere and the US will disengage from further efforts, the buck passing to the UN and others where it should have been all along. I take this to be the unfolding of Obama’s Newman/Redford style sting on Netanyahu.

      Yesterday Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to join the Syrian peace conference starting Wednesday, and today Iran begins implementing its obligations under last year’s nuclear deal, its assets will shortly start defrosting and Tehran is even now abuzz with CEOs and lesser mortals jockeying for bits of the imminent action. None of this can help Netanyahu sleep nights and although I know little of Israeli politics I can’t see it adding strength to his coalition either. With Iran rehabilitated and exercising helpful roles in neighboring nations, the US has little further use for Israel, and AIPAC will be sidelined. Congress can continue to throw money over there, at least until the US public decides enough is enough, and when at last the UN does roll up its sleeves and gets to grips with the situation, Palestine will be integrated further into the UN, BDS will be ever more formidable, Israel could be led by Lieberman, the Zionist’s own home-grown Ahmadinejad, and Obama ready to retire with laurels.

      • brenda says:

        ” ..the unfolding of Obama’s Newman/Redford style sting on Netanyahu.”

        oh, now I get it, Nick. I misunderstood your reference to “sting on Netanyahu” in your recent post. Yes, that is the way I saw this from the beginning — Obama setting up Israel for the European sanctions, both economic and diplomatic. If Kerry’s mission works, great. If not it’s back to the ungentle hands of the Europeans.

        The Israelis would be smart to accept the Kerry proposals, but I’m beginning to think they’re not all that smart. That’s what too much religion and ideology does for you.

        Akiva Eldar and Barak Ravid, past and present diplomatic correspondents for Ha’aretz make a point of interviewing every European diplomat that passes through, and they’re all saying the same thing: the Europeans are watching the US-sponsored I-P negotiations carefully. They’re planning to come down hard on whichever side they see as complicit in the failure of the peace talks, and right now it is Israel they are fingering. One thing the Kerry mission has been successful in is making Israel expose it’s hand, fully.

        Also, the Europeans are not acting from purely philanthropic motives, although there is that present. No one likes to see an underdog kicked around. But there is something for the Europeans in the settling of this conflict — the Romanian Foreign Minister speaking to Akiva Eldar made clear that the European nations were being afflicted by jihadists and overt expressions of anti-semitism, which they put down to the ongoing occupation and oppression of Palestine. They want this cleared up.

    • brenda says:

      thanks for copying the piece, American. I can’t read Ha’aretz articles behind the firewall. Do I believe it will happen the way Mr. Abraham imagines? Yes, I’d like to. Especially this:

      ” …Israel will be mistaken to assume that America will automatically veto every decision brought to the UN Security Council.”

      I react to that kind of talk like a dog presented with a big juicy bone, it literally makes me salivate.

      So I looked into Mr. Abraham a bit — wikipedia has a good write-up — and the writer definately has cred. He’s a longtime major donor to the Democratic Party, top donor for the national parties in 2000. So that means he’s got access. If Abraham says the Dems are considering with-holding the UN veto I can dine out on that.

  3. seafoid says:

    I hope the pushback works. It is all or nothing for them at this stage and nothing is waiting for them at the end of the iterations.

    • Egbert says:

      I think the Israel firsters are starting to get desperate. This hilarious article by Spengler “channeled by David P Goldman” at Asia Times Online (home to the excellent Pepe Escobar) claims China and Israel have the same enemies. Who would that be? The US?

      • shachalnur says:

        Surprisingly enough Israel and China have the same enemy right now,and you should add Russia to that as well.

        Yesterday two congressmembers(Rep) claimed Snowden and Russia have been working together.

        Eventhough there’s no “proof” right now,the fact these congressmembers have mentioned it ,might open Pandora’s box.

        Just wait untill Snowden will be seen as a BRICS(Russia ,China a.o.) operation and we’ll get to the question of who helped Snowden gain acces to the millions of pages of sensitive info.

        The NSA spying grid was backed up and build by Verint and Narus,guess who owns these companies.

  4. talknic says:

    Supporters of Israeli expansionism show how well brainwashing works.

  5. Citizen says:

    “In conclusion, the biggest obstacle 2 adapting US foreign policy 2 current realities is the Zionist Power Configuration embedded in the Congress, the Administration & the mass media”: link to petras.lahaine.org

    • American says:

      @ Citizen

      ” Zionist Power Configuration embedded in the Congress, the Administration & the mass media”

      yep…that is the Triangle….can we start calling this the Axis of Evil.

  6. “All of this works to the detriment of the Palestinians.” I’m not so sure.

    From what we know of Kerry’s proposals, which is not that much, they give the hard-line Israeli forces almost everything they want. If those forces had the sense to cooperate with Kerry, the Palestinians would be locked into an agreement on very unfavorable terms. However, “almost” is not enough for them — they want everything. The settler lobby, in particular, will use its clout to keep the settlements in the Jordan Valley. (There is an excellent analysis of the settler lobby in Ami Pedahzur’s “The Triumph of Israel’s Radical Right.”) So Kerry will fail. When Israel is finally forced to make compromises and reach an agreement, the overall balance of forces may no longer be so favorable to Israel and the agreement would then be somewhat less unfavorable to the Palestinians.

  7. Balfour says:

    Menendez, Blumenthal, Schumer, Casey, et al, they form the northeast equivilant of the Southern Segregationists Senators blocking civil rights legislation 60 years ago. It’s all about speaking to the constituents, power and cash. “And that’s why I say Sanctions, Now, Sanctions Tomorrow, Settlements, er Sanctions Forever!”

    • Kathleen says:

      “Menendez, Blumenthal, Schumer, Casey, et al, they form the northeast equivilant of the Southern Segregationists Senators blocking civil rights legislation 60 years ago. It’s all about speaking to the constituents, power and cash.”

      Nailed it

  8. Kathleen says:

    Engel ““I never use that formulation, ‘obstacle to peace.’ My heart tells me that every Jew has the right to live in any place in Israel and that includes Judea and Samaria. That does not mean that ignoring the location and timing, and announcing building tenders at all times is the correct thing to do.”

    Interesting how there is now a demand that Palestinians state that “Israel is a Jewish state” but Engel and others do not want to give that state a boundary. Engel wants the West Bank too. No concessions. No acknowledgment of internationally recognized borders. Refers to the West Bank in Israeli terms. So telling.

    Engel ““I believe that now, building in isolated settlements is not a good thing for Israel to do. It plays into the hands of the Palestinians; they exploit it in order to show the world how Israel is not apparently interested in a peaceful solution. Settlement building like that creates a distorted picture of Israel in the world.”

    Question: Are you opposed to Obama’s policies in regard to the settlements?

    (Engel suppresses a smile) “That is not the only issue where I oppose Obama. I think that he is a friend of Israel and that he did great things for Israel, the Iron Dome, for example, or the difficult struggle at the U.N. against the resolution to declare a Palestinian state, and even using the veto. But I do not think that the settlements are an obstacle to peace. In this matter he [Obama] needs to act cleverly.”

    Engel is in serious denial. What is so clearly exposed is how so called liberal Dems have been blocking real movement in this conflict for decades.

  9. seafoid says:

    “My heart tells me that every Jew has the right to live in any place in Israel and that includes Judea and Samaria.”

    But the kidneys are usually far more insightful
    and international law overrules most nonsense.

  10. Abu Malia says:

    I keep getting reminded of that brief dialogue between Bill Pullman’s character and the captured Alien in the movie Independence day. President Whitmore (Bill’s Character) to the captured Alien; “what do you want us to do?” Alien responds, transmitting through a dead scientist’s vocal cords, “die die”

    Zionism will fail and for the same reason America’s wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan have failed despite the military weakness of their respective adversaries. Like the Alien invader in the above quoted movie, they have asked their enemies to pay an impossible price – and no where has this folly manifested itself more than in Palestine.

  11. hophmi says:

    So we’re referring to Engel as Jewish Democratic Engel. I see we’ve gone the full Stormfront on this one.

    • Cliff says:

      What does ‘gone the full Stormfront’ mean in Ziospeak? Considering you cultists call everything under the sun, antisemitism.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “What does ‘gone the full Stormfront’ mean in Ziospeak?”

        It means hoppy is looking for some angle to defend Engle and he can’t do it on the merits.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “So we’re referring to Engel as Jewish Democratic Engel. I see we’ve gone the full Stormfront on this one.”

      Oh, grow up for once. If you don’t think that that the fact that he’s a Jew is irrelevant to the the feeling in Engel’s “heart,” then you’re a fool. He would, no doubt, tell you flat out that his being a Jew is at the core of his view on the issues in Occupied Palestine.

      • mcohen says:

        Woody Tanaka says:
        January 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

        “It means hoppy is looking for some angle to defend Engle and he can’t do it on the merits.”

        hoppy does not need angle because angle is already in place,he is merely pointing out that naming him a jew instead of just a “democratic rep” is a device being used on this site to cast the man in a negative light.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “,he is merely pointing out that naming him a jew instead of just a “democratic rep” is a device being used on this site to cast the man in a negative light.”

          Nonsense. Engel being a Jew is not incidental to this position, especially as it is phrased. Indeed, given the propensity for some American Jews to phrase support of israel as an obligation of Jews, (from which the libels of anti-zionist Jews being “self hating”), Engels being Jewish would provide a reason why he would turn traitor against his party in support of the most extreme Judeo-supremacist and Judeo-fascist positions.

    • talknic says:

      @ hophmi “So we’re referring to Engel as Jewish Democratic Engel.”

      He’s not Jewish? WOW! I wonder if he knows?

      Someone should read the fool UNSC res 476. The US didn’t vote against it!

  12. seafoid says:

    Engel reminds me of Peter Cook’s biased judge

  13. Cliff says:

    Actually hoppy, I think this ‘full of hate’ comment of yours is more on the level w/ Stormfront:

    link to mondoweiss.net

    “No mention of bull-dozed hills, valleys; fouled streams; uprooted and burnt olive trees, orchards; destroyed Mamilla cemetery in Jerusalem; not to mention barbed-wire, Wall, and the rest of the siege in Palestine.”

    ROTFLMAO. Rule 3 of Pallywood: Nothing positive must ever be said about Israel without a recitation of our grievances.

    This is an example of a Jewish racist/supremacist/Zionist mocking Palestinian suffering.

    So can we start referring to pro-Israel media such as the NYT as the JYT? (Jew York Times) Or other fun-filled not-so-subtle play on words?

    We should mirror the racism and bigotry and just plain hatred of Israel Firsters like hoppy whenever they make their (daily, hourly) accusations of antisemitism.

    It’s just so easy with a shitty troll like you, hoppy. Why hasn’t this loser been banned yet? Is it because you guys run into him every now and then when he stalks Israel/Palestine events in NYC?

  14. RoHa says:

    “My heart tells me that every Jew has the right to live in any place in Israel and that includes Judea and Samaria.”

    Oh. Right. Well, that settles it, then.
    I’ll just pick up the arguments based on reason and morality and go, shall I?

  15. Dan Good says:

    These people should be bombarded with youtube videos of Miko Peled speaking on US campuses.