ADL Chief Foxman: Kerry's 'Chutzpah' Will Unite American Jews

In interview with Army Radio, Foxman weighs in on tensions in Israel-U.S. relations.

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Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Sunday morning that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's "outrageous behavior" will unite American Jews.

"When there is a crisis the American Jewish community comes together," Foxman told Army Radio, in answer to a question put to him - to what degree is the Jewish community affected by fluctuation in Israeli-U.S. relations.

"I think Kerry's outrageous behavior will unite the American Jewish community," Foxman said. "It is chutzpah to lecture Israel about the risks of peace and war."

Foxman, who is currently in Israel to attend the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly, said he does not believe the recent tensions in Israel-U.S. relations will cast a cloud over the event.

"This is not new. The relationship between the United States and Israel has had its ups and downs. The good news is that both countries need each other, the good news is that hamatarot (the goals) are the same, that is the U.S. and Israel know that the common goal is to stop Iran from becoming nuclear. The U.S. and Israel want to see peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The question is in the details, and also there is a question of trust," he said.

He described the current tensions between the allies as a "crisis of trust," explaining that they had each agreed recently "not to surprise each other," yet Netanyahu had found out from other diplomats what had been going on in Geneva, and "not directly, as was promised."

Kerry spent the past week in the Middle East, during which he met several times with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The timing of his visit coincided with the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and the negotiations between Iran and world powers over Tehran's uranium enrichment.

Last month, Foxman criticized American leadership and resolve in the global arena, saying the world increasingly sees a “weak and retreating” United States that “cannot be counted on.”

Speaking at the ADL’s Centennial conference in New York, Foxman expressed apprehension that the U.S. is undergoing a “deep and dangerous change” that would endanger both Israel’s security and the wellbeing of the American Jewish community. “It causes me to lose sleep,” he said.

He lambasted Congressional resistance to U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for a military strike against Syria’s chemical weapons that resulted in U.S. acceptance of the Russian compromise offer. “A huge sigh of relief was heard throughout the nation, but what was also heard was questioning around the world whether America could be counted on.”

And while he didn’t rebuke Obama by name, the administration’s attitude towards talks with Iran was also a cause for concern, he said. “America seems desperate to avoid a confrontation with Iran and the Iranians, aware of that, are playing it to a fare-thee-well.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.Credit: AP

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