Or is this story even true? Is it actually one of those “good-cop/bad-cop” tales instead?
It’s difficult to say, but I vote ever-so-slightly for “true.” My opinion of John Kerry is very low, but I think more of him than I do of Obama.
The following seems quite characteristic of the president:
An Israeli newspaper is reporting that two officials close to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are quietly accusing President Barack Obama of sabotaging Middle East peace efforts after giving an interview in which he sharply criticized Israeli government policy.Such behavior would certainly be consistent with Obama’s arrogance, his go-it-alone sense of self, and his disregard for the ideas of others except for a few extremely trusted advisors. He has alienated even many of his friends and supporters—certainly quite a few of the Democrats in Congress—on a personal level by having very little to do with them, not asking their advice, and not even letting them know what he’s planning before he does it.
The unnamed officials also claim that Kerry was never given a heads-up that the president had planned an interview with reporter Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg View…
Eli Bardenstein, diplomatic correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Maariv, reported Wednesday that “those close to Secretary of State John Kerry claim in private conversations that President Barack Obama sabotaged Kerry’s efforts to reach agreements over the framework agreement, in the aggressive interview he gave” Goldberg.
“Maariv has learned that the White House hid even from Kerry the very existence of the interview, in a way that is unacceptable in the U.S. capital,” the Israeli reporter added.
It’s well-known that Obama thinks he’s smarter than anyone around him, and it isn’t even a point of view he tries to hide. It didn’t take years of the presidency to make him feel that way, either; he believed it even when he was running for president the first time:
Obama said…to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”Obama measures most policy advisors and Cabinet members by how well they comply with his wishes and follow his orders, not for their input, challenge, or disagreement.
Note also this quote, emphasizing the role of Valerie Jarrett (one of the very few people he trusts), and making it clear that Obama is not interested in what Kerry might do on his own, or in achieving any “special cooperation” with the Israeli team:
Though Kerry allegedly wasn’t aware of the interview, Maariv’s unnamed D.C. sources speculated that Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett took an active part in arranging the Bloomberg interview.Anything’s possible, I guess—except that Obama had Israel’s or America’s interests at heart.
One unnamed source told the paper, “It’s possible that Obama wasn’t fully up to date on the special cooperation that Kerry had achieved with Netanyahu and his team with the Israeli team. It’s also possible he ignored it.”
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]
- Obama implies that if Israel doesn't make peace he may no longer be willing to defend it in international fora.
- Israel has a unique opportunity to make a deal with Abbas, something it may not have again.
Yet on Wednesday afternoon, as he prepared for the White House meeting in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, Abbas insisted that his only role was to wait. He will wait for Hamas to capitulate to his demand that any Palestinian unity government recognize Israel and swear off violence. And he will wait for the Obama administration to force a recalcitrant Netanyahu to freeze Israeli settlement construction and publicly accept the two-state formula. ...
Obama, in contrast, has repeatedly and publicly stressed the need for a West Bank settlement freeze, with no exceptions. In so doing he has shifted the focus to Israel. He has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud. "The Americans are the leaders of the world," Abbas told me and Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt. "They can use their weight with anyone around the world. Two years ago they used their weight on us. Now they should tell the Israelis, 'You have to comply with the conditions.' "
Abbas, who has led the Palestinian Authority well past his legal mandate (his term ended in 2009), is almost certainly set to renew the international campaign for recognition of Palestinian statehood. It's a campaign known in Ramallah as the "Palestine 194" campaign.
This initiative had been in the works, with fits and starts, since 2005. That year, Abbas reportedly traveled to Brazil for a summit of South American and Arab states, and met privately with Brazil's leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. There, da Silva supposedly told Abbas that when he neared the end of his second term (which expired on January 1, 2011), he would help build a Latin American consensus for a unilateral Palestinian statehood declaration at the UN.
Between 2009 and 2011, Abbas and Lula made good on their plan, recruiting scores of Latin American  and other non-aligned states to recognize the State of Palestine. The campaign also included European states such as France, Spain, Portugal and Norway. In 2010, at an Arab League meeting in Sirte, Abbas made one of his first references to the "Palestine 194 " campaign. The name said it all: there are currently 193 member-states in the United Nations, and the Palestinians were unambiguous about their desire to become the 194th.
In December 2012, a month after Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential elections, columnist Peter Beinart published an article on the news and opinion website The Daily Beast entitled “Why Barack Obama will ignore Israel.” Beinart wrote at the time that during Obama’s second term, he did not intend to clash with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Palestinian issue, but would stand aside and allow the rest of the world, especially the European Union, to ratchet up the pressure on the Israeli PM.
Beinart quoted senior White House officials, who called Obama’s policy toward the peace process “benign neglect.” Those same senior officials said at the time that Netanyahu wanted only to present a pseudo-peace process so as to deflect international pressure; therefore, renewing talks would only help him do so. They explained that only when Netanyahu feels the pressure of isolation very directly will there be any chance that he will change direction and agree to make the tough decisions needed.