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Caught in an honest moment, Kerry casts doubt on the ‘peace process’

on 23 Comments

Chico Menashe is a reporter for the Israel Broadcast Authority.  He was standing next to Secretary of State John Kerry during the recent Obama press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, and heard Kerry react derisively to Obama’s claim that Kerry’s meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu were productive.

Kerry, himself, has often characterized his meetings with both Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas as “productive,” despite numerous leaked reports that those very same meetings were rancorous and unproductive.


This is a tweet by Menashe which is date stamped 4:01 PM, March 3. That would make the tweet contemporaneous with the event. The translations of the Hebrew in blue are mine.


Ira Glunts

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

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23 Responses

  1. piotr on March 6, 2014, 12:11 pm

    I think “productive meeting” in diplomatic speech is just a tad above “frank exchange of views” that is used for encounters that are just short of a physical assault, as in this picture:
    Just mentally photoshop Kerry to the middle position etc.
    And this is a result of the search “Images: productive meeting”:
    So the question is if the current phase of the peace process looks more like the first picture, or like the second one.

  2. American on March 6, 2014, 12:45 pm

    I only see 2 possible endings to this US peace charade:

    Abbas caves and gives Isr everything it wants.
    Or there is no peace deal at all.

    I prefer no peace deal at all.
    I want to see Israel keep defying the US efforts and the world more and more.

    • seafoid on March 6, 2014, 2:31 pm

      I can’t see Abbas caving in. There are two many other dynamics working against Israel for him to give in now.

      • piotr on March 6, 2014, 7:48 pm

        It is next to impossible for Abbas to “cave in”. There are plenty of reasons, but one is that the Israelis would need to actually present some proposal that could be accepted or rejected. A proposal that would satisfy a more militant half of the current coalition would not pass a laugh test, so Netanyahu does everything to avoid making any. Failing a laugh test could have adverse consequences like sanctions in Europe and other places. Angering the militants could result in political or even personal demise (I can picture Ya’alon throttling the traitor PM with his own hands). Hence picking issues that hopefully will clinch the talks into a stalemate, and with luck, intransigence of the Palestinians who, regrettably, are egged on by external powers, and thus refuse to make necessary painful concessions could be blamed.

        Just look at recently discussed proposal by a former ambassador Oren to unilaterally impose borders in the event of the failure of peace negotiations where he refused to elucidate what is it that Israel should impose. In that, Oren is a true man of Netanyahu faction. Structurally, an Israeli government can offer a peace deal only if it demonstrates that it was forced to make such a bad deal (and ANY deal will be decried as a bad one) by bad meanies. From that perspective, the vilification of Obama and Kerry was actually a step in the good direction. Alas, the candidates for indispensable meanies refuse to play their role to the end, making benevolent noises etc.

      • seafoid on March 7, 2014, 1:51 am

        Bibi has a great strategy. Kick the can down the road . Never fails.

      • seafoid on March 7, 2014, 3:09 am

        The tragedy of Zionism is that the internal logic of the ideology is insane.
        Avnery gives a good go at analyzing it here.

        Manifest Destiny? (On procrastination)
        By Uri Avnery\
        April 12, 2008

        “NEXT MONTH, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The government is working feverishly to make this day into an occasion of joy and jubilation. While serious problems are crying out for funds, some 40 million dollars have been allocated to this aim. But the nation is in no mood for celebrations. It is gloomy. From all directions the government is blamed for this gloom. “They have no agenda” is the refrain, “Their only concern is their own survival.” (The word “agenda”, with its English pronunciation, is now fashionable in Israeli political circles, pushing aside a perfectly adequate Hebrew word.) It is hard not to blame the government. Ehud Olmert speechifies endlessly, at least one speech per day, today at an industrialists’ convention, tomorrow at a kindergarten, saying absolutely nothing. There is no national agenda, nor an economic agenda, nor a social agenda, nor a cultural agenda. Nothing. When he came to power, he presented something that sounded like an agenda: “Hitkansut”, an untranslatable word that can be rendered as “contracting”, “converging”, “ingathering”. That was supposed to be a historic operation: Israel would give up a large part of the occupied territories, dismantle the settlements east of the “Separation” Wall and annex the settlements between the Green Line and the Wall . Now, two years and one war later, nothing of this remains, even the word has been forgotten. The only game in town is the “negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority, which were a farce to start with. Like actors on the stage drinking from empty glasses, all parties pretend that there are negotiations going on. They meet, embrace, smile, pose for photographs, convene joint teams, hold press conferences, make declarations – and nothing, absolutely nothing, really happens.
        What is the farce for? Each of the participants has his own reasons: Olmert needs an agenda to fill the void. George Bush, a lame duck who leaves behind him nothing but ruins in every field, wants to present at least one achievement, fictitious as it may be. Poor Mahmoud Abbas, whose continued existence depends on his ability to show some political achievement for his people, clings to this illusion with all his remaining strength. And so the farce goes on.
        BUT ANYONE who believes that the government has no agenda, and that the State of Israel has no agenda, is quite wrong. There certainly is an agenda, but is hidden. More precisely: it is unconscious. People say that ideology is dead. That, too, is a mistake. There is no society without an ideology, and there is no human being without an ideology. When there is no new ideology, the old ideology continues to operate. When there is no conscious ideology, there is an unconscious one, which can be much more potent – and much more dangerous. Why? A conscious ideology can be analyzed, criticized, opposed. It is much more difficult to fight against an unconscious one, which directs the agenda without giving itself away. That’s why it is so important to locate, uncover and analyze it. IF YOU ask Olmert, he will strenuously deny that he has no agenda. He has a perfect agenda: to make peace (which is nowadays called “permanent status”). And not just any peace, but a peace based on “Two States for Two Peoples”. Without such a peace, Olmert has pronounced, “the State is finished”.
        In that case, why is there no negotiation, only a farcical pretense? Why does the massive building activity go on, even in the settlements east of the Wall, well within the area that government spokespersons propose for the Palestinian state? Why does the government carry out dozens of military and civilian actions daily that push peace even further away? According to the government itself, and contrary to what it said at the beginning, it has no intention of achieving peace in 2008. At most, perhaps, maybe, there will be a “shelf agreement”. That is an original Israeli invention, meaning an agreement that would be put on the shelf “until conditions are ripe”. In other words, meaningless negotiations for a meaningless agreement. Now they say that there is no chance even for that, not in 2008, not in the foreseeable future.
        There is no escape from the inevitable conclusion: the government is not working for peace. It does not want peace. And, also, that there is no effective parliamentary opposition pressing for peace, nor any pressure from the media.

        What does all this mean? That there is no agenda? No, it means that behind the fictitious agenda, which appears in the media, there hides another agenda that does not meet the eye.
        THE HIDDEN agenda is opposed to peace. Why? Conventional wisdom has it that the government does not pursue peace because it is afraid of the settlers and their supporters. The peace that is being talked about – the peace of Two States for Two Peoples – demands the dismantling of dozens of settlements, including those which harbor the political and ideological leadership of the whole movement. That would mean a declaration of war on all the 250 thousand settlers, apart from those who will leave voluntarily for generous compensation. The current argument is that the government is too weak for such a confrontation. According to the fashionable formula, “both governments, the Israeli and the Palestinian, are too weak to make peace. Everything must be postponed until strong leaderships emerge on both sides.” Some people add the Bush administration to the count – a lame duck president cannot impose peace. But the settlements are only a symptom, not the heart of the problem. Otherwise, why doesn’t the government freeze them, at least, as it has undertaken again and again? If the settlements are the main obstacle to peace, why are they being enlarged even now, and why are new settlements still being set up, disguised as new “neighborhoods” of existing settlements?
        Clearly, the settlements, too, are in reality only a pretext. Something more profound is causing the government – and the entire political system – to reject peace. That is the hidden agenda. WHAT IS the heart of peace? A border. When two neighboring peoples make peace, they fix, first of all, the border between them.
        And that is precisely what the Israeli establishment opposes, because it negates the basic ethos of the Zionist enterprise. True, at different points in time the Zionist movement has drawn up maps. After World War I, it submitted to the peace conference the map of a Jewish state extending from the Litani River in Lebanon to El-Arish in the Sinai desert. The map of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, which became the Irgun emblem, copied the borders of the original British Mandate on both sides of the Jordan . Israel Eldad, one of the Stern Group leaders, distributed for many years a map of the Israeli Empire that reached from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates and included all of Jordan and Lebanon , with great chunks of Syria and Egypt thrown in. His son, the extreme right-wing Member of the Knesset Arieh Eldad, has not given up this map. And after the Six Day War, the map favored by the right-wing covered all the conquests, including the Golan Heights and the entire Sinai peninsula .
        But all these maps were only games. The real Zionist vision does not recognize any maps. It is a vision of a state without borders – a state that expands at all times according to its demographic, military and political power. The Zionist strategy resembles the waters of a river flowing to the sea. The river snakes through the landscape, goes around obstacles, turns left and right, flowing sometimes on the surface and sometimes underground, and on its way takes in more springs. In the end it reaches its destination.

        That is the real agenda, unchanging, hidden, conscious and unconscious. It does not need decisions, formulations or maps, because it is encoded in the genes of the movement. This explains, among other things, the phenomenon described in the report of senior prosecution lawyer Talia Sasson on the settlements: that all the organs of the establishment, the government and the military, without any official coordination but with miraculously effective cooperation, acted to set up the “illegal” settlements. Every one of the thousands of officials and officers who spent decades involved in this enterprise knew exactly what to do, even without receiving any instructions. That is the reason for David Ben-Gurion’s refusal to include in the Declaration of Independence of the new State of Israel any mention of borders. He did not intend for a minute to be satisfied with the borders fixed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947. All his successors had the same approach. Even the Oslo agreements delineated “zones” but did not fix a border. President Bush accepted this approach when he proposed a “Palestinian state with provisional borders” – a novelty in international law.
        In this respect, too, Israel resembles the United States , which was founded along the Eastern seaboard and did not rest until it had reached the Western shores on the other side of the continent. The incessant stream of mass immigration from Europe flowed on westwards, breaching all borders and violating all agreements, exterminating the Native Americans, starting a war against Mexico , conquering Texas , invading Central America and Cuba . The slogan that drove them on and justified all their actions was coined in 1845 by John O’Sullivan: “Manifest Destiny”. The Israeli version of “Manifest Destiny” is Moshe Dayan’s slogan “We are fated”. Dayan, a typical representative of the second generation, made two important speeches in his life. The first and better known was delivered in 1956 at the grave of Roy Rutenberg of Nahal Oz, a kibbutz facing Gaza: “Before their [the Palestinians in Gaza] very eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived … This is the fate of our generation, the choice of our life – to be prepared and armed, strong and tough – or otherwise, the sword will slip from our fist, and our life will be snuffed out.” He did not mean only his own generation. The second, lesser known speech is more important. It was delivered in August 1968, after the occupation of the Golan Heights , before a rally of young Kibbutzniks. When I asked him about it in the Knesset, he inserted the entire speech into the Knesset record, a very unusual procedure in our parliament. This is what he told the youth: “We are fated to live in a permanent state of fighting against the Arabs … For the hundred years of the Return to Zion we are working for two things: the building of the land and the building of the people … That is a process of expansion, of more Jews and more settlements … That is a process that has not reached the end. We were born here and found our parents, who had come here before us … It is not your duty to reach the end. Your duty is to add your layer … to expand the settlement to the best of your ability, during your lifetime … (and) not to say: this is the end, up to here, we have finished.”
        Dayan, who was well versed in the ancient texts, probably had in mind the phrase in the Chapter of the Fathers (a part of the Mishnah, which was finished 1800 years ago and formed the basis of the Talmud): “It is not up to you to finish the work, and you are not free to stop doing it.” That is the hidden agenda. We must haul it up from the depths of our unconscious minds to the realm of consciousness in order to face it, to reveal the terrible danger inherent in it, the danger of an eternal war which may in the fullness of time lead this state to disaster.”

        The age of the entitlement culture is over.

  3. German Lefty on March 6, 2014, 1:09 pm

    Question: Shouldn’t it be “an honest moment”?

    • eljay on March 6, 2014, 1:18 pm

      >> Question: Shouldn’t it be “an honest moment”?

      RoHa will be very proud of you. :-)

      • piotr on March 6, 2014, 7:52 pm

        There should be headlines “Secretary of State was honest of 0.2 second”. It does not happen every day, mind you.

      • Ecru on March 7, 2014, 5:26 am

        Secretary of State was honest for 0.2 seconds (or ” .2 of a second” missing out the zero)

        Sorry couldn’t resist ;)

    • Ira Glunts on March 6, 2014, 3:01 pm

      Thanks and corrected. :-)

  4. annie on March 6, 2014, 1:10 pm

    there’s something about this i am not quite believing and here’s why. from this photo it appears they are not standing shoulder to shoulder but a few feet apart. therefore, kerry’s words would have had to travel and it looks like there are plenty of recording devices around to have picked this up.

    however, i do think it’s probably what kerry was thinking, and wht he may have said elsewhere. and maybe Menashe used another photo from another time during the address when they were closer together. hmm. Menashe also retweeted this:

    which makes me question his motives.

  5. Citizen on March 6, 2014, 3:32 pm

    i see nothing has changed; the US is still bought by AIPAC.

    • seafoid on March 6, 2014, 3:42 pm

      US elite but they don’t have the grassroots any more.
      South Africa was the same.

      Shavit tries but he is clueless

      “What slices American Jewry into segments is age. Anyone over 70 remembers the Holocaust and is religiously committed to Israel. Anyone over 50 remembers the younger Israel and finds it hard to free himself of its charm. But anyone under 30 experiences a duality: On one hand, he is drawn to the Israel of high-tech and Tel Aviv and night life, but on the other hand, he is horrified by the Israel of the “price-tag” attacks and the exclusion of women. When this duality comes into contact with a hostile left-wing atmosphere, the results are devastating. Many students at Harvard and Columbia and Stanford feel that current Israeli politics makes it hard for them to love Israel.
      Thus when Netanyahu is getting high on the sweeping support of the American Jewish establishment, he is disconnected from reality. He has no idea where the new America stands, and he has no idea where young Jews stand. He doesn’t understand what’s happening at the universities where he himself studied. The first Israeli prime minister to speak perfect English speaks 1970s- and 1980s-era American.
      American Jews in their 70s deserve great admiration. As a rule, their personal life stories are incredibly impressive. Their community’s success story is a tremendous one. Over the last half century, they have created and consolidated a Diaspora Jewry the likes of which has never been seen before. They deserve a medal of honor. Seriously, a medal of honor.
      But today, the front lies elsewhere. Today, the battle for the Jewish future isn’t being waged in the luxury penthouses but on the lower floors of the house. Blue and white? If blue and white wants to be relevant in the land of the red, white and blue, it must redefine itself.

      The Zionism of the 21st century must be open and liberal, as it was in the days of David Ben-Gurion, Abba Eban, Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise. Only that kind of Zionism is one that American Jews in their 20s, like those in their 50s and 70s, could be proud of. Only a progressive, determined, patriotic and energetic Zionism can go out to the real America and the real Judaism and win their hearts once again.

      DBG was an ethnic cleanser. the original sin

  6. dbroncos on March 6, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Great catch Ira! Mondo crew is on the beat. More evidence that not even the Israel friendly Obama WH believes their own BS.

    • James Canning on March 6, 2014, 7:35 pm

      Obama, like Truman, is obliged to be “Israel-friendly”. Or else.

      • seafoid on March 7, 2014, 2:42 am

        Zionism is toxic. You can’t say anything against them or they’ll destroy you. But it’s also like a very long row of dominoes , perhaps the longest in the world, all the way from Bint Jbeil through East Jerusalem via Hebron to Gaza and onto DC.

        Obama is trying to tell them that the dominoes are beginning to fall but he can’t say it openly or they’ll try to destroy him. So he’ll just watch the dominoes do their thing the only way they know. .

        “The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things”

      • UpSIDEdown on March 7, 2014, 4:24 pm

        “The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things” Nicely expressed.

      • James Canning on March 7, 2014, 6:25 pm

        I think Obama simply would like Israel to make a deal with the Palestinians and end the occupation of the WB.

  7. just on March 6, 2014, 6:18 pm

    You gotta know that they are fed up with this violent, intransigent drama queen. Even Dubya was. I know I am. Where are their cojones? Where are the sanctions? I know that ‘change’ takes time, but where are the ones– the leaders– that just say NO, and bother to say WHY, and change the horrible course that we seem hell- bent on careening along with a real liability and risk to our own security? Why does he get so much ‘face time’ with our President???

    I dream of the day that our President, VP, SOC get to a live mike and deliberately tell Netanyahu that he should go find an empty & retired IOF helmet and ask him to use it for #2.

  8. James Canning on March 6, 2014, 7:34 pm

    Of course, Obama and Kerry must characterise as “productive” the most tedious meetings with Netanyahu.

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