Former Israeli envoy to US decries Kerry’s ‘obsession’ with Israel

After former US secretary of state John Kerry claimed Israel sought US military action prior to the Iran nuclear deal, MK Michael Oren responded that Kerry reserves an “acrid and sometimes obsessive place for us and [Netanyahu].”

By: Jack Ben-David

Israel’s former ambassador to the US, MK Michael Oren, slammed former US Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday for comments he made this week claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “agitated” for the US to bomb Iran prior to the signing of the nuclear agreement.

Oren described Kerry as having an “acrid and obsessive” attitude toward the Israeli prime minister, who found himself falling out of favor with Kerry more than once under the Obama administration.

Kerry irked many in Israel when he told a forum in Washington that Netanyahu, along with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah, individually told him that the US had to bomb Iran.

“Each of them said to me, ‘you have to bomb Iran, it’s the only thing they are going to understand,'” Kerry claimed, describing their exhortations as “a trap.”

“More importantly,” Kerry continued, “Prime Minister Netanyahu was genuinely agitating toward action.”

Despite Kerry’s claims, Oren insisted that “Israel, along with other like-minded governments in the Middle East, understood that a credible American military option was the only way to resolve the Iranian nuclear threat, whether militarily or diplomatically.”

The Kulanu MK echoed the line repeatedly espoused by Netanyahu, positing that the primary goal was never a military adventure against Iran, but rather to achieve “a better deal.”

“And one of the ways you could get a better deal was to have a credible military threat,” Oren said, adding that a credible military threat would have decreased the chances of it ever being implemented.

“The irony was that the more credible the military threat, the less likely you would have to use it,” he argued.

Addressing Kerry’s latest jab at Netanyahu, which he said was indicative of his “acrimonious and sometimes obsessive place for us, and for the prime minister,” Oren also reiterated his disagreement with the former US official, who “thinks that the Iran nuclear deal was a historic diplomatic achievement.” Oren, however, disagreed with the notion, insisting that it endangered future generations.

“I personally feel that it was the collapse of American credibility in the Middle East and a significant danger to our future and the future of our children. That is a huge difference.”

Oren’s assertion that Kerry harbors acrimonious predisposition toward Israel was also partially formed at the end of 2016 when the US administration refused to veto UN Resolution 2334, demanding an end to Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, and declaring all existing communities in the region as illegal.

“The truth is that trends on the ground—violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation—are destroying hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality that most people do not actually want,” Kerry said in a speech defending the US’ decision to abstain from the vote.