Tag Archives: Iranian nuclear program

Kerry cannot possibly be an anti-Semite

An interesting development has emerged in Secretary of State John Kerry’s difficult struggle to find peace in the Middle East.

It turns out that the angry charges leveled at him by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet members — that Kerry’s promoting “anti-Semitic” notions — cannot possibly be true. Kerry’s family name originally was Kohn and that Kerry’s family has Jewish origins.

Grandpa Kerry/Kohn changed his name and his religion, from Jewish to Catholic, which John Kerry learned shortly before announcing his presidential candidacy in 2003.


In fact, Cameron Kerry — the secretary of state’s brother — is a practicing Jew to this day, having married a Jewish woman.

Israeli foreign ministry officials, of course, are quite sensitive to any comments they construe to be against their interests. John Kerry said recently that “The risks are very high for Israel” after meeting with Iranian officials about plans to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli officials took that to mean Israel needed to watch its step if it continued to threaten Iran with military action.

Naftali Bennett, an industry minister, said, “We expect of our friends in the world to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, and not to be their mouthpiece.”

I understand fully the Israelis’ angst over negotiating with a country that has declared its intention to wipe Israel off the face of the planet. Let us take care, though, to avoid throwing around pejorative terms like “anti-Semitic” where it regards someone whose family roots run deep in the Holy Land.

Israeli PM takes dimmer view of Iran

I totally understand Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mistrust of Iran.

He is bringing that message this week to the United Nations General Assembly and warns the United States not to trust Iran’s new president, who says he wants to make peace with the rest of the world.


President Obama placed a historic phone call last week to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first president-to-president contact between the nations in 34 years. Obama said a comprehensive agreement to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is possible. I hope he’s right, quite obviously.

Netanyahu isn’t so sure. And why should he trust a thing that comes out of the Iranian president’s mouth?

Rouhani succeeded a man who vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the planet. Indeed, that’s been the stated goal of the Islamic Republic of Iran since its founding in 1979.

I’ve had the pleasure of touring Israel. I spent five weeks there in the spring of 2009 and witnessed up close the proximity between Israel and nations with which it has gone to war several times since Israel’s founding in 1948. The Israelis live in a constant state of heightened vigilance.

Iran doesn’t border Israel, but it is close enough to launch missiles westward and into Israeli cities. That is the concern Israel maintains to this very moment and it is the concern that Netanyahu intends to relay to the world community when he speaks to the U.N. General Assembly.

No, he doesn’t trust Iran’s newfound conciliatory posture. The task at hand is for the world to extract from Iran’s president ironclad assurances that he means what he says.