On Thursday evening, Secretary of State John Kerry told a reception in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is “a cause of recruitment [for ISIS] and of street anger and agitation." Kerry added that the anger “has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity,” phrases frequently used by the Palestinians to describe Israeli rule over Judea and Samaria. He opined:
And so we have to stop and think about that in the context of this challenge that we face today. I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever. As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
Kerry's claim flies in the face of the facts. The creation and growth of ISIS has nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinian territories. The militant group formed in Iraq as opposed to Israel or the disputed territories, splintering off from al Qaeda in Iraq. They were thrown out of the Bin Laden-created organization because the ISIS leaders did not want to follow the orders of the al Qaeda leaders.
Most experts will tell you that the single most important factor in the growth of ISIS is the conflict between Iraqi Shias and Iraqi Sunnis. ISIS fighters themselves are Sunnis, and the tension between the two groups is a powerful recruiting tool for ISIS. The Shia government of Iraq has refused to share power with the Sunnis (who held power under Saddam Hussein). The Shia/Sunni fight began as a battle over who would take power after the Prophet Muhammad's death almost 1400 years ago, way before ISIS, and long before the Six-Day-War.
Many observers, including former members of the Obama administration like Bob Gates and Leon Panetta, believe ISIS was able to grow because American troops pulled out of Iraq too early and didn't help out in Syria until it was too late. That American policy had nothing to do with Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Based on the historical facts, it's safe to say the creation of the terrorist organization has nothing to do with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. More likely Kerry's words on Thursday were a true indication of the Obama Administration's attitude toward the Jewish State.