Week 16: Prat – John Kerry

by Jackie_South on April 21, 2014


This week, our award for the greatest prat of the last seven days goes to US Secretary of State, John Kerry

This is an award given in sadness rather than glee. I quite like John Kerry, and even knocked on Pennsylvanian doors for him in his doomed presidential run ten years ago.

Yet it is truly deserved, as a consequence of his rush to judgement in the black propaganda war in the Ukrainian crisis. On the very day of the Geneva peace talks, he chose to condemn the rebels in Eastern Ukraine for a leaflet distributed, calling their behaviour ‘grotesque’ and ‘beyond unacceptable’.

The charge was antisemitism: leaflets were handed to members of the congregation of Donetsk’s synagogue by three masked men, ordering them to pay the ‘Donetsk Republic’ $50 and register with the republic’s commissar for nationality “given that the leaders of the Jewish community in Ukraine support the Banderite junta in Kiev and are hostile to the Orthodox Donetsk Republic and its citizens”.

Clearly, this chilling flyer would be both grotesque and beyond unacceptable if true. But as The Guardian revealed the next day, it clearly was pretty clearly a fake. It uses the wrong job titles, was unsigned and bore the wrong stamp for the rebel authority. Donetsk’s Chief Rabbi commented that “I think it’s someone trying to use the Jewish community in Donetsk as an instrument in the conflict. That’s why we’re upset.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center also agreed it was a hoax.

Those are matters that the Guardian and others quickly identified – you have to wonder why Kerry was unable to.

Whilst he might not be personally expected to know the document was a forgery, he does have the world’s largest intelligence infrastructure at his disposal that would easily identify the forgery. Why did he not check with them before shooting from the hip in what is an extremely volatile situation?

Not bothering to do something so obvious in circumstances so charged makes Kerry our prat of the week.

There are of course some very real antisemites in Ukraine. Unfortunately for Kerry, they are part of the government he is backing there. There again, to borrow the words another Democrat who failed in his presidential bid, perhaps that is just an Inconvenient Truth.

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