Trending Topics:

‘Netanyahu mouthpieces’ McCain and Graham crash Kerry’s Jerusalem party

Israel/Palestine
on 15 Comments

Pro-Israel Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Lindsay Graham (SC) and John Barrasso (WY) showed up in Jerusalem on Friday, apparently to remind the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that they do not feel he is sufficiently supportive of the Israeli Prime Minister and his negotiating positions.

How often does a U.S. Senate delegation visit a foreign country, during a visit of a high ranking State Department official in order to make their opposition to the official U.S. position known?  Has it ever happened before?  And does the fact that we are talking about Israel make it OK?

"We were in the neighborhood and we thought we would drop in."

“We were in the neighborhood and we thought we would drop in.”

Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC interviewed R. Nicholas Burns and Jane Harman about the surprise visit.   Burns, who served in the State Department under President George W. Bush, would not criticize the Republican senators and called the visit “politics as usual.”  However, despite her avid pro-Israel and pro-lobby positions, Harman, a Democrat, who was formerly the powerful Chairwomen of the House Intelligence Committee, took a shot at the Senate delegation:

I understand that Lindsey Graham is in a tough primary but gee whiz guys, I think being the mouthpiece of the Prime Minister of Israel while our Secretary of State is there is not very smart.

And Bibi Netanyahu has direct channels to John Kerry any time he wants to use them either public or private, and I think frankly what they did, however well intended it might have been or however focused on their politics it might have been, should not have happened.

Harman’s party loyalty apparently won out over her pro-Israel inclinations in the interview.  However, I imagine she will be soon receiving a telephone call from someone at AIPAC, who will at least mildly reprimand her for stating the obvious, that crashing Secretary Kerry’s party was a horrible misstep.

The senators met with Netanyahu and other Israeli government officials, including Avigdor Lieberman, on Friday.  They also met with Kerry.   Although the senators were careful not to criticize the Secretary directly, (McCain said he supports the Kerry peace talks) they made their displeasure very clear.

McCain emphasized after a meeting with Netanyahu,  that he shares the Israeli leader’s concerns about Kerry’s peace plan.

Netanyahu has serious, serious concerns about the plan as has been presented to him, whether it be on the ability of Israel to defend its borders or the reliability of a Palestinian state and their intentions.

The Washington Post characterized Graham’s statement supporting the Israeli position for continued military control over the Jordan Valley this way:

Graham said that despite detailed security proposals for the West Bank developed by a special U.S. envoy, retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, senior Israelis remain unconvinced. “Here’s the one thing that I think dominates the thinking in Israel: that once you withdraw, then the ability to go back is almost impossible,” Graham said. “Look at Gaza. What’s the chance of going back into Gaza militarily?”

Israel can defend itself against rocket attacks from that formerly Israeli-occupied territory, but withdrawal meant giving up the “ability to chart your own destiny,” Graham said.

Kerry repeatedly reminds people that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is extremely difficult.   I wonder if he ever thought that McCain and Co. crashing the negotiations would be one of the problems he would face.

Ira Glunts
About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

Other posts by .


Posted In:

15 Responses

  1. Hostage
    Hostage
    January 5, 2014, 2:50 am

    withdrawal meant giving up the “ability to chart your own destiny,” Graham said.

    The annual distribution of fatalities and casualties published by Shabak illustrate that Israeli was not able to chart its own destiny from 2000-2005. The loses for the period when Israel was actually occupying Gaza were significantly higher. I remember when PM Sharon responded to a journalist who said the IDF would not be able to prevent rocket attacks after the disengagement. The PM noted that was no reason to stay, since the IDF had not been able to prevent the hundreds of such launches that happened every year anyway. http://www.shabak.gov.il/SiteCollectionImages/english/TerrorInfo/reports/2010summary2-en.pdf

  2. JeffB
    JeffB
    January 5, 2014, 8:55 am

    How often does a U.S. Senate delegation visit a foreign country, during a visit of a high ranking State Department official in order to make their opposition to the official U.S. position known? Has it ever happened before? And does the fact that we are talking about Israel make it OK?

    Another example as the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras. The Obama administration’s position was opposition to the coup. Members of the United States Senate approved of the coup and advised the Honduran military to ignore USA threats. That told the military they had the votes in the Senate to block sanctions or other actions.

    That sent a clear message to Clinton / Obama that they faced stronger opposition in the Senate than they anticipated and undermined them from taking a pro-OAS stance they had planned on. The result was that the coup leaders were able to negotiate elections without much USA interference. It does’t happen often because generally Presidents aimed to create consensus foreign policy which included congressional leadership. Bush-43 and Obama both tend to be more unilateral.

    It certainly happened a lot pre-WWII where there were dramatic differences in foreign policy between the parties. So nothing shocking about Israel here, other than what people know that Kerry represents the furthest left edge of what Congress finds acceptable.

    • annie
      annie
      January 5, 2014, 10:06 am

      The Obama administration’s position was opposition to the coup. Members of the United States Senate approved of the coup

      what’s your source on this?

  3. MichaelRivero
    MichaelRivero
    January 5, 2014, 11:47 am

    Technically, McCain and Graham are outside their jurisdiction. Foreign policy is the Executive Branch, not the Legislative. McCain and Graham are therefore acting as private citizens attempting to influence US foreign policy, a violation of the Logan Act!

  4. RobertB
    RobertB
    January 5, 2014, 12:17 pm

    These two traitors are way high on AIPAC’s puppet list…and it makes one wonder about their “dual-nationality cards”. When AIPAC’s agents call these 2 critters for Israel/AIPAC’s agenda….they are always ready to go anywhere and do everything…

    They speak for Israel’s interests much more than for US’s interests…!!!

    Who pays for their trips & expenses? Who fills their pockets for favors?

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      January 5, 2014, 5:18 pm

      +1

      Disgusting that not more people see whats going on!

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 5, 2014, 8:13 pm

      McCain’s father was a traitor too.

      • American
        American
        January 5, 2014, 9:23 pm

        IMO McCain is a seriously psyched out and messed up man.
        Several years ago I saw the news picture of his blowup at some female constitutient…..he was totally contorted with rage—a ugly sight if I ever saw one.
        McCain doesnt need Jewish donations but he does need them not to come out against him in Az.
        But other than that I think he is sick and always had violent anger and
        aggression issues…..and he acts them out in his political policies.
        One of his peers in college said he had a ‘runt complex”—thats probably accurate.

  5. Ellen
    Ellen
    January 5, 2014, 7:39 pm

    “The management of foreign relations appears to be the most susceptible of abuse of all the trusts committed to a Government, because they can be concealed or disclosed, or disclosed in such parts and at such times as will best suit particular views; and because the body of the people are less capable of judging, and are more under the influence of prejudices, on that branch of their affairs, than of any other. Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” (James Madison, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1798.)

    Just about sums it up.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    January 5, 2014, 11:35 pm

    Let’s tax the 1% for the war on Iran, e.g., get rid of “carried interest” loophole; make all income capital gains–treat such like ordinary income from working; add a “Wall Street speculation user fee.”

    Petition, here:
    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/brown-sanders-make-the?mailing_id=18206&source=s.icn.em.cr&amp%3Br_by=1135580&r_by=1218372

Leave a Reply