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Does Kerry need to convince AIPAC to support peace?

The U.S. secretary of state’s comments raise the question of whether he’s convinced Netanyahu is ready to make the compromises necessary for peace – or whether he needs AIPAC’s support to do so.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the staff and families at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem on April 8, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry seems to think that should the occasion ever arise, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will require the support of his friends in Washington in order to sign a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Kerry took time out of his busy schedule in London to send a video message to a closed AIPAC summit taking place in California wine country on Monday.

Click for +972′s full coverage of ‘The Process’

Most of the message was focused on reassuring AIPAC that the U.S. is committed to preventing a nuclear armed Iran, but he also slipped in a few interesting words about the peace process.

“If Prime Minister Netanyahu decides that it is in the best interests of the people of Israel to make reasonable compromises for peace, he will need to know that you have his back,” the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying.

Kerry’s need to urge the lobby to support a two-state solution seems to imply that it does not support one – and that it is somehow not in sync with Netanyahu. But AIPAC’s official policy and rhetoric – just like the Netanyahu government – is to support a two-state solution, which both AIPAC and the prime minister define as “a Jewish state of Israel living in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state — with an end to all claims.”

So why the need to encourage AIPAC’s members to make their “voices heard” in support of the “courageous choice” Netanyahu had made to engage in direct talks with the Palestinians?

If Kerry feels the need to urge AIPAC to support a solution it already officially supports – and one that is already underway – you know something is wrong.

In effect, Kerry has inadvertently exposed that these renewed “peace talks,” known in fact, as “the Kerry initiative” – since he seems to be the only one really pushing for it – have no legs.

Just as interesting, however, was the first half of Kerry’s quote. “If Prime Minister Netanyahu decides that it is in the best interests of the people of Israel to make reasonable compromises for peace…”

Is the secretary of state not convinced that Netanyahu has decided it is in the best interests of Israel to make even reasonable compromises for peace?

Related: 
Yair Lapid reveals true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 
Abbas performs the peace dance 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      No, I think Kerry is trying to convince AIPAC to support a process that in all likelihood will end up with Israelis getting blown up on buses by Palestinian terrorists like after previous bouts of heavy negotiating.

      AIPAC and Bibi both support an outcome which leads to two states – a Palestinian state and a Jewish state – living side by side in peace, but there is little reason for either of them to put much on the line to support the current negotiations given how entirely uninterested the Palestinian leadership (old, and unrepresentative as it is) appear to be in actually negotiating.

      Obviously also, the kind of risks Kerry might think are reasonable (as the secretary of state of a global hegemon) may not appear reasonable to Bibi (the head of minor regional power). For one thing Kerry doesn’t live here and he might think that several hundred Israeli children being blown up on buses is a ‘reasonable compromise’. I would very much hope that Bibi does not agree.

      Reply to Comment
    2. I would guess that Bibi has portrayed himself as on the peace left of his coalition, save maybe for the chief negotiator herself, so Kerry is saying that if an agreement is reached among negotiators, AIPAC and other such American organizations will need to push the agreement among coalition MK’s. The “if Bibi decides…” of Kerry’s is just deference to Bibi’s autonomy.

      There seems no clear evidence of negotiation failure here, although I think that the best “Two States” that might emerge will hardly be Two States.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Average American

      I think the point being missed here is for a private lobby (AIPAC) to have that much sway over national governments (US an Israel) is wrong. It’s supposed to be the People who have that much sway.

      Also, I have no respect for Kerry since he declared he was a Zionist. He’s like Cantor whom I also have no respect for. For US government officials to declare that they put Israel first ahead of USA is wrong.

      Which brings the question right back around: Why does AIPAC have that much sway? Who are these people we seem to have to consult and petition in order for us to carry on our national business? What do they wield above our heads? Money?

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    4. marcos

      You realize that one can both 1) “be a Zionist” and 2) Maintain the interests of the USA first. You may now reinstate your respect for Kerry and Cantor. Thank me later.
      You should also revisit the amount of influence that you assign to AIPAC. Just a helpful thought. Pay it forward, young man.

      Reply to Comment

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