A man can be either smart or John Kerry

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 - John F. Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts (Democrat), USA captured during the session 'The Future of the Middle East' at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2007. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger +++No resale, no archive+++

“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both,” pronounced the outgoing US Secretary of State, leaving one to ponder the natural fit between the mixed zoological metaphors of lame duck and hare brain.

When it comes to Kerry, one wishes that the First Amendment to the US Constitution protected freedom not only of but also from speech. For seldom has a public figure ever delivered a statement so wrong on so many levels.

First, the State of Israel has been both Jewish and democratic for 68 years. Saying that what demonstrably exists is impossible is akin to a hillbilly looking at a giraffe in a zoo and saying “There ain’t no such animal.”

Second, Israel isn’t just a functioning democracy, but the only one in the region. Therefore, whatever deficit of democratic rights may or may not exist in Israel, all its citizens enjoy greater democratic rights than any of Israel’s neighbours.

Third, that roughly 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are Arabs may only preclude the state being democratic if it could be shown that this minority has no democratic rights. However, that’s not the case.

Arabs vote, they have three parties of their own (some of whose MPs openly call for the annihilation of Israel), serve in the cabinet and the armed forces (though not obliged to do so), provide some top officials and army generals.

The presence of an Arab minority no more disqualifies the State of Israel as both democratic and Jewish than the existence of a Catalan minority disqualifies France as both democratic and French.

Fourth, the State Department explicitly acknowledges the possibility of state religion being part of a constitutional dispensation.

Its officials practically dictated the texts of Iraqi and Afghani constitutions, stipulating that “The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” and, in Iraq’s case, “Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation”.

If the sham democracies of those two states are allowed their own state religion, why can’t the real democracy of Israel be afforded the same privilege? One smells the rat of bias.

If the denotation of Mr Kerry’s pronouncement suggests he’s a fool, the connotation shows he’s also a knave (yes, one can be both). For his cherished ideal of a two-state arrangement isn’t held up by Israel stubbornly clinging to its Jewish identity. It’s being torpedoed by the Palestinians themselves.

The offer of a sovereign Arab state in Palestine has been on the table for decades, with Israel asking only for two eminently reasonable provisions: one, that the Arabs recognise Israel’s right to exist and, two, that they desist from terrorism.

The less said about the second provision, the better. The Arabs can no more desist from terrorism than the Dutch from consuming mountains of mediocre cheese – and if you disagree, just open a random newspaper on a random day.

As to the first provision, the Palestinian chieftain Mahmoud Abbas has put it better than I can: “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – soldier or civilian – on our lands.”

Allow me to translate from the Palestinian. He means not a final resolution but the final solution: if Palestinians acquire their own state on their own terms, every Israeli will be either massacred or driven into exile.

One would expect Israelis to find it awkward negotiating with a group fully committed to killing them all should a successful accommodation be reached. In fact, their willingness to talk to the potential genocides at all represents a miracle of restraint or, depending on your point of view, a death wish.

After all, talk is cheap, and it’s likely that at some point Abbas’s terrorists will utter a few comforting words, get their state and then proceed with acting on their innermost murderous urges.

Yet instead of praising the Israelis for their dangerously reasonable stance, Kerry rebukes them for refusing to commit summary suicide.

He can’t learn to be more intelligent than God originally made him, but one wishes Kerry learned the meaning of even-handedness. It’s not that difficult.

After all, Jordan occupied the West Bank from 1948 to 1961 without ever finding itself under pressure from Kerry’s predecessors to give Palestinians their own state. Nor did Lebanon go out of its way to do so when housing a large Palestinian minority.

One can understand their reluctance, for the Palestinians systematically turned the jewel of the Middle East into a ruin. Eventually, in 1975, they plunged the country into a bloody civil war that went on for 17 years and cost 250,000 lives.

So why is Israel being singled out for opprobrium? To the mindset so ably represented by Kerry and his boss, third-world savagery is an entitlement to moral ascendancy and preferential treatment.

In some fundamental ways, liberals (in the American sense of the word) detest our Judaeo-Christian civilisation as much as do their Fatah heroes, and they’ve certainly done more harm to it.

Domestic US politics prevent them from being overt about this, but they feel affinity for Palestinians – or for any visceral enemies of the West. A demand for a separate Palestinian state is another expression of the same sentiment that drives the brisk sales of Che Guevara’s t-shirts. What looks like touching concern for minority rights is in fact nihilistic anomie tinged with latent anti-Semitism.

John Kerry may have a bright career in front of him. Why, with luck he may oust Blair as the Middle East peace envoy. One can be both that and an idiot, no conflict there.








3 thoughts on “A man can be either smart or John Kerry”

  1. American liberals like their Jews to be secular and nihilistic, like Woody Allen. The thought of all those muscular, tanned Israelis surging to victory over the Arab world really sticks in their craw, where’s the hand wringing existential crisis, those aren’t our kind of Jews!

  2. its cute that you think Israel is a true democracy. i wonder if the Palestinians you threw out and treat as criminals would agree with that assessment.

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