The US State Department issued a statement today expressing surprise at British Prime Minister Theresa May’s criticism of John Kerry’s speech on the Israeli peace process, insisting everything in Kerry’s speech was in keeping with long-standing UK policy, and with the vote Britain made just the week prior at the UN.
May’s comments were quite a surprise, as she followed up Kerry’s speech by declaring she felt it wasn’t appropriate for Kerry to criticize “the democratically elected government of an ally,” adding that she thought it was unfair to focus on the settlement expansion as a problem.
It’s rare for a British PM to so loudly criticize a top US official, and may reflect the split between the outgoing Obama Administration and the incoming Trump Administration, putting May more closely in line with the incoming government.
The State Department noted that Kerry’s speech had been praised by several other allies, including France, Germany, Jordan, and Egypt. Britain is the first to condemn it, with the exception of Israel’s government, which has been furiously condemning the Obama Administration since the UN abstention at any rate.