As Secretary of State, John Kerry Divulged Information about Covert Israeli Strikes to His Iranian Counterpart

April 27 2021

In recently leaked audio tapes, the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reports that then-Secretary of State John Kerry told him that Israel had carried out at least 200 strikes on Iranian targets in Syria. David Harsanyi comments:

A high-ranking American official feels comfortable sharing this information with an autocratic adversary—a government that’s murdered hundreds of Americans, regularly kidnapped them, interfered with our elections, and propped up a regime that gasses its own people—about the covert actions of a long-time American ally. What else did he tell Zarif? . . . It wouldn’t be surprising if Israel was more reluctant to share intel with the United States when [diplomats] such as Kerry show more fondness for those making genocidal threats against the Jewish people than they do for the state that protects them.

During the Obama years, [supporters of the 2015 nuclear deal] would offer an ugly false choice: you either support diplomacy with the “moderate” wing of the theocratic state, or you endorse “war”; either fly unmarked euros in tonnage and bail out the mullahs, or plunge America into another Iraq war. At one point, President Obama claimed that the Republican caucus was making “common cause” with Iranian hardliners.

The opposite was true. In the leaked audio from Zarif, we hear that the military and theocratic forces in the nation “call the shots” and overrule “government decisions and ignoring advice.” . . . Zarif says that the political wing is “severely constricted” and decisions “are dictated by the supreme leader or Revolutionary Guards Corps.” Obama’s contention that the Iran deal was being forged with the “moderate faction” was always a fantasy.

The former secretary of state, and current special presidential envoy for climate, has denied the reports.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran, Javad Zarif, John Kerry, US-Israel relations

Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship