[Marxism] Cameron Kerry
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Sun Jul 18 16:33:03 MDT 2004
Kerry sends brother to Israel to shore up the Jewish vote
By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem
John Kerry, the Democratic senator and presidential candidate, has sent his
brother Cameron, a Jewish convert, on a delicate political mission to Israel
to shore up Jewish support ahead of November's election.
The visit, which was due to end last night, has delighted Israeli government
officials but has dismayed left-wing Israeli peace activists and Palestinian
leaders, whom Mr Kerry studiously avoided as he voiced stridently
pro-Israeli views on behalf of his brother.
In meetings with Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, Silvan Shalom, the
foreign minister, and Shimon Peres, the opposition leader, Mr Kerry
delivered an unequivocal message from his brother: that he will take a firm
pro-Israel line on all main issues, including the controversial construction
of the security wall in the West Bank.
In an interview with one Israeli newspaper, Mr Kerry, 53, said: "He [Senator
John Kerry] is very clear in his statements: the security of Israel must
come first and Israel needs to be able to protect itself."
He echoed the Israeli government's line on refusing to negotiate with Yasser
Arafat, the Palestinian leader, and added: "There is no Palestinian partner
at this time. It is not the place of the US to pressure Israel to reach an
agreement with the Palestinians."
More controversially, he said the 425-mile security wall was "essential for
the security of Israel" - an apparent reversal of remarks by his brother,
earlier in the campaign, in which he described the wall as "a barrier to
The apparent change of stance on the barrier by the Kerry camp came as the
United Nations continued to consider a draft resolution demanding that
Israel comply with last week's International Court of Justice ruling that
the West Bank separation fence is illegal and must be dismantled.
Mr Kerry's new position will disappoint European officials, who have been
highly critical of the security barrier.
Cameron Kerry insisted that his brother had previously raised questions only
on the route of the fence, not the issue of the construction itself. Israeli
peace activists were dismayed but not surprised by Mr Kerry's public
Jeff Halper, a leading Israeli peace activist and an opponent of the wall,
said: "Bush has been incredibly pro-Israel but the Democrats are clearly not
a liberal alternative who will be more critical of Israel.
"It is very distressing when you have issues of conflict, occupation, and
violation of human rights, that the liberals seem worse than the Republicans
in their support for the most extreme Israeli line. Just look at Hillary
Clinton. The Democrats will not give the Palestinians or Israeli peace
activists the time of day."
The Democratic Party is seen by most American Jews as their natural
political home. Mr Kerry's own pro-Israel leanings may have been encouraged
by his discovery last year that his paternal grandparents, who lived in
Austria, were Jews who converted to Catholicism.
Cameron converted to Judaism from Catholicism in 1983 when he married a
Jewish woman, Kathy Weinman.
During the Democratic party primaries, Cameron helped to arrange meetings
between his brother and key Jewish leaders, and he has continued to be the
campaign's "link man" to the American Jewish community.
One of the organisers of Mr Kerry's visit to Israel is Jay Footlik, an
American Jew with close ties to AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobby group in
the US. Republican backing for Israel has also hardened in response to the
growing strength of the evangelical Christian movement, which believes in
the Jewish people's right to reside in the Holy Land and which the Bush
administration has assiduously courted for votes.
The result is that all the key Washington institutions support the Israeli
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