Hikind blasts anti-Israel speech by Kerry
State Assemblymember Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn lawmaker who has made frequent trips to Israel during his years as an elected official, came out swinging against President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in the wake of Kerry’s blistering critique of Israel on Wednesday.
Kerry delivered a speech at the State Department in Washington, D.C. in which he charged that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was putting the entire Middle East peace process in jeopardy by continuing to build housing settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
Hikind, who represents Borough Park, a neighborhood with a large population of Orthodox Jews, charged that Obama and Kerry have stabbed Israeli in the back.
“Secretary Kerry and President Obama are living in a fantasy land. The world is in worse shape than it has ever been thanks to this administration, which is not respected anywhere in the world. This very administration continues to betray its allies while rewarding terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas,” Hikind (D-Borough Park-Midwood) said in a statement.
Hikind’s criticism didn’t end there. The lawmaker also recalled his encounters with Israelis during a trip he took to that country and said it made him feel embarrassed by Obama.
“During my recent visit to Israel, I was approached by hundreds of people who felt betrayed by the administration, which has undermined Israel countless times. This stems from personal animosity from President Obama toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I’m so embarrassed that Obama represents my country,” Hikind said.
The New York Times reported that in the speech, which came with just 23 days left in his term as secretary of state, Kerry accused the Israeli government of undermining any possibility for a two-state solution in which the Israelis and the Palestinians could live peacefully side by side.
The speech came just days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israel over the settlements. The U.S. abstained rather than veto the vote. A veto would have stopped the resolution in its tracks. By abstaining, the U.S. allowed the vote to move forward.
“Some seem to believe that the U.S. friendship means the U.S. must accept any policy, regardless of our own interests, our own positions, our own words, our own principles, even after urging again and again that the policy must change. Friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect,” the Times quoted Kerry as saying in his speech.
Hikind, who noted that the speech was delivered in the waning days of the Obama administration, questioned the timing of Kerry’s remarks.
“What was the point of this address? Why did the Obama administration wait until the bottom of the ninth inning to do something about these relations? Where was President Obama for almost eight years?” Hikind asked.
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