ADL Deeply Disappointed by Elements of Sec. John Kerry’s Speech on Israel

Says it Cannot Separate Remarks From U.S. Abstention on UNSC Vote

New York, NY, December 28, 2016...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today reacted to Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Middle East peace.

Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:

While we appreciate Secretary Kerry’s concern about policies and dynamics that may jeopardize the path to a two-state solution, we are deeply disappointed by elements of his speech and cannot separate it from the U.S. abstention at the U.N. Security Council. Despite Secretary Kerry’s explanation, the U.S. abstention has the potential to set in motion many initiatives that delegitimize and demonize Israel, rather than advancing the peace process.

Secretary Kerry delivered heartfelt remarks. However, his concern about policies and dynamics that may jeopardize the path to a secure peace seem to be disconnected from reality that there are two parties involved in this process, both of whom will need to make difficult choices to resolve the conflict. Secretary Kerry himself identified a lack of trust between the two parties as a key hurdle of reaching a two-state solution, an approach that we believe is the only viable path to resolving the conflict.

The speech and the resolution will strengthen the belief among Israelis – even those most supportive of negotiations – that the Palestinian leadership would prefer symbolic protest and unilateral measures rather than the hard work and difficult choices associated with direct negotiations with Israel. Further, they reinforce the unhelpful perception that the international community is dictating terms to Israel with the demands of the Palestinians.

As an organization committed to a two-state solution, we want to see trust and confidence nurtured among the parties so that we can achieve this outcome. However this speech - combined with the recent UNSC abstention - only pushes those prospects farther out. It is a truly upsetting final note from this administration on this issue of critical importance.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.