Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Israel “risks becoming an Apartheid state” if the current peace negotiations were to fail. Kerry spoke in a closed-door meeting, and he had reason to doubt that his words would become public. But, in this day and age, there is no expectation of privacy. Someone always has a recording device.
Later, in the face of substantial shock, outrage and criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Republican Jewish Coalition, among others, Kerry tried to backtrack. He stated that he miss-spoke, and asserted that if he could “rewind the tape,” he would have used a “different word.” Kerry is a seasoned politician and the US’s highest ranking diplomat. They are trained to choose their words very carefully. Are we supposed to believe that he “miss-spoke?” I maintain that he knew exactly what he was saying and meant it. He is not sorry he said it; he’s only sorry that it was recorded.
Kerry’s comments are outrageous and hurtful on several levels.
1. Apartheid conjures up a hateful, bigoted period in South Africa’s history during which time blacks, “colored people,” Asians, and women were subjected to the most despicable, dehumanizing treatment one can imagine. Any objective person who is familiar with Apartheid has to be appalled by the comparison to Israel, which, in fact, is the only true democracy in the Middle East.
2. The comments signal a bias against Israel in favor of the Palestinians. The Palestinians now have confirmation that the US is exasperated with Israel’s negotiating position and is more likely to blame them if the talks fail. They have “cover” for taking a hard-line in the negotiations. The negotiations were hard enough before as there are many complicated issues to resolve including recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a legitimate state and the Palestinians’ close ties with various terrorists groups. This just made it harder and less likely that they will succeed.
3. Most importantly, this is not an isolated incident for the Obama Administration. It is consistent with their attitude for the last six years. The Obama Administration has seemed more intent on placating terrorist organizations, such as al Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and rogue states such as Iran and Syria than supporting its longstanding ally, Israel. They may think they are being evenhanded, but I don’t see it that way. They don’t seem to understand that these entities have tried to destroy us and will continue to do so. They consider us the “Great Satan.” We are “non-believers,” Judeo-Christian, not Muslim. They are not our friends and never will be, regardless of how hard we try and how many concessions we grant them. They are still fighting the Crusades 1,000 years after the fact. Just last week, in fact, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he is seeking a reconciliation deal with Hamas. How can the US expect Israel to negotiate with an organization that is cozying up to Hamas, which has repeatedly stated that its goal is the destruction of the State of Israel?
4. President Obama has made it clear that he considers Israel’s intransigence to be the main cause of the failure of the peace negotiations to date. Additionally, he has signaled that if the talks break down the US may no longer be able to protect and support Israel. What is the justification for that comment! Mr. Obama has called Mr. Abbas a man of peace. Furthermore, he has commended Abbas as someone who has “consistently renounced violence” and is seeking a “diplomatic and peaceful solution.” (How does that square with Abbas’ courting of Hamas?)
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
The Obama Administration has not been and is not a friend to Israel. At best, it has been neutral. At times, it has been hostile. Actions speak louder than words. On the other hand, its attitude toward Iran and Syria has been conciliatory and “wishy-washy.” The US and Israel have a symbiotic relationship. Israel needs the US’s strong, unwavering support. Ultimately, the US is the only nation it can count on. Similarly, the US needs Israel. It is the only ally in the Middle East that it count on. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu have a very strained relationship. You may recall that Mr. Obama chose not to meet with Mr. Netanyahu when he was in NY for meetings at the UN. That was a real “slap in the face.” Mr. Netanyahu, for his part, does not trust Mr. Obama, and with good reason.
This has clearly been the least supportive Administration, even worse than Jimmy Carter’s. Mr. Kerry’s Apartheid comment fit right in.
I say to American Jews, wake up. Why continue to support an Administration that has this kind of attitude toward Jews, in general, and Israel, in particular? Why continue to support an Administration that cozies up to terrorist organizations that have repeatedly sought to attack us? Why continue to support the current Democratic Administration just because you have always favored the Democratic Party. You are smarter than that; at least, I hope you are. Send the Dems a message in November. Jews are not automatons. We will not blindly continue to support an Administration that does not support Israel.