"I think it's a mistake for some people to be, you know, raising it again and again."
This Monday, Kerry spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed that The Point was incorrect to suggest that she was being dismissive of the necessity for the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, but at the Senate, her boss once again seemed dismissive of the topic.
Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday afternoon that it is a "mistake" for people to raise the issue of whether Palestinians would agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"Jewish state" was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181, where there are more than forty--thirty--mentions of "Jewish state." In addition, Chairman Arafat in 1988, and again in 2004, confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state. And there are any other number of mentions. But those are sort of the most important acknowledgments thereof. I think it's a mistake for some people to be, you know, raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace, and we've obviously made that clear. That's a conversation that will continue."
Translating that from Diplomatese to English, Israel being a Jewish State is currently the official position of the United States, but it shouldn't be an issue in the negotiations and "some people" should stop demanding that Abbas actually acknowledge Israel as a Jewish State or keep asking Kerry about it.
Joel Pollak at Breitbart quotes Kerry talking about Israel as a Jewish State, but interestingly Kerry talks about it in the abstract instead of mentioning Abbas recognizing Israel as a Jewish State.
This is significant because of some of the reports about how Kerry is handling the topic
According to Israeli security analyst Shlomo Brom, Kerry's "agreed formula" for renewing talks - which has still not been made public - included the following:
Israel does not agree to base the negotiations on the 1967 lines with an agreed territorial swap, but the United States will make a commitment to the Palestinians that it has adopted this principle.
Similarly, while the Palestinians have not agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, the United States will make a commitment to Israel that it has adopted this principle - which balances the previous commitment to the Palestinians.
Kerry's statements stick to this formula. He recognizes Israel as a Jewish State, but doesn't really expect Abbas to do so.
Now I personally think that it's an empty issue. PLO commitments have never meant anything anyway. A recognition today can and will be withdrawn next week. And the more Netanyahu hammers away at this, the more likely Israel is to end up trading something for nothing.