The lead-up to and fall-out from John Kerry’s speech at the State Department highlighted what may be a tough new normal for Democrats: As they seek to reinvent themselves (or rediscover, depending on who you ask) in the wake of the brutal losses in November, the party faces a percolating internal tension over an issue that has vexed would-be peacemakers for decades—the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Even before Kerry took to the podium for what would be one of the longest speeches in State Department history, members of his own party were already taking aim at him. House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat who has been in Congress since 1981, pre-empted his address by releasing an acerbic statement the day before. Because the U.S. didn’t veto the UN Security Council resolution regarding Israeli settlements, Hoyer said, “Israel’s enemies were strengthened.” And then he all but urged Kerry not to give his speech….
“I urge Secretary Kerry and the Administration not to set forth a formula, which will inevitably disadvantage Israel in any negotiation,” he concluded.
That didn’t stop Kerry. Obviously.