I have criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s attitude toward Israel in this space previously. For example, in May Mr. Kerry compared Israel to an “Apartheid state,” an outrageous comment, especially coming from the Secretary of State. During the past weekend Mr. Kerry “doubled down.” During an interview with the Fox Network’s Chris Wallace he uttered a snide and sarcastic criticism of Israel’s retaliatory attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza. As we know, Israel is doing everything it can to limit civilian casualties; it is even giving advance of where and when it will attack so that civilians can vacate those areas. But, Hamas, on the other hand, is doing everything it can to inflate them, most notably by placing its rocket batteries in or near schools and hospitals and by forcing civilians to stay in harm’s way. The inevitable result has been to inflate the number of civilian casualties. Mr. Kerry’s snide and sarcastic comment, which he thought was off-camera, was that Israel was conducting a “hell of a pinpoint operation.” When pressed by Mr. Wallace to explain his apparent criticism Mr. Kerry ignored the question and continued with the Administration’s talking points.
We all know that all politicians possess an uncanny ability to lie, mislead and obfuscate. Otherwise, they would not have managed to be elected or appointed to high office in the first place. The difference between Mr. Kerry’s public and private comments has been stark. Which do you suppose reflect his true beliefs? As the kids would say, “duh.” I think it is fairly obvious that Mr. Kerry’s private comments about Israel and the Middle East, not his public ones, reflect his true opinions. In addition, as Secretary of State his comments, attitudes and actions are perceived by the world to be representative of those of the Administration and Americans, in general.
Hamas knows it cannot defeat Israel militarily. The only way it can prevail is by winning in the court of public opinion. Therefore, its game plan is to incur copious civilian casualties, make sure they are written about in the press and shown on television and on the internet, wait for the world’s innate bias against, or, in some cases, hatred toward Jews and Israel to play out, and force Israel into a settlement favorable to Hamas. Civilian deaths mean nothing to Hamas’ leadership. To them and their fanatic followers, life is cheap. This situation is reminiscent of Ho Chi Minh’s comment during the Viet Nam War telling the US, and I paraphrase, you will kill 10 of ours for every one of yours we kill, but in the end, you will tire of the killing, not us. That proved to be true.
Meanwhile, Jews should be mindful of the vitriol that is out there. Some of the blogs are non-sensical, not fact-based, and very poorly written, but they are an indication of how some people feel. A sampling of blogs:
1. …besides the bribe money factor – the other problem is politicians have no idea how many Americans do oppose Israel and the US Zionist corruption.”
2. “Politicians depend on political consultants to advise them… many of [the] principles [of these consulting firms], are Jewish…have made pro-Israel[i] statements themselves…”
3. It is a brilliant strategy. They [Jews] control the media, the think tanks and most probably influence polling companies.”
4. “The situation here is obvious. John Kerry knows that if he tells the truth and expresses his real thoughts and feelings, he will be targeted for destruction by the Israel[i] lobby. Barack Obama and Kerry have been intimidated into supporting another disastrous Israeli policy.”
The latest development is that because a rocket was exploded near the airport in Tel Aviv, the FAA has suspended all flights to Israel, because it believes the area is unsafe. It is reasonable to conclude that the FAA was acting with the concurrence of the Administration. At first blush, that sounds reasonable, but then how come flights to Afghanistan, Pakistan or the Ukraine, among others, have not been suspended? Are those areas not just as dangerous, if not more so? Last I heard, a civilian airliner had already been shot down over the Ukraine, accident or not. Many observers have opined that the FAA’s real motive for this action is to pressure Israel, through what amounts to a partial economic boycott, to tone down its retaliatory attacks. At the same time, we are providing approximately $47 million of aid to Gaza whose citizens have elected Hamas terrorists as their government.
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
Mr. Kerry’s tepid, if not hostile, attitude toward Israel is consistent with that of the Obama Administration as a whole, which, I suppose, from Mr. Obama’s perspective makes him the perfect person to represent him in the Middle East. Don’t forget Mr. Obama’s veiled threat to Israel that if the peace talks were to fail Israel would be to blame. Or, how about his comment that Israel has a right to defend itself, but…. not TOO vigorously.
Meanwhile, Iran is proceeding to develop a nuclear capability, and the US is doing nothing significant to stop it. All we have done is threaten sanctions, then back off, then hold meetings, then repeat the process, like a broken record. I don’t think anyone takes us seriously anymore. Eventually, Israel, in order to protect itself, will have no choice but to make a pre-emptive strike against Iran, for which it will no doubt be roundly criticized by the world, including the US.
The Administration, in its misguided effort to be politically correct and not offend anyone, has been trying to stay in the middle of the road here. Is that appropriate? Hmm…, let’s see. On one side is an avowed terrorist group that has sworn to obliterate Israel. It even states that in its constitution. Furthermore, it is closely allied with people who have repeatedly criticized and attacked the US, physically. On the other side, is our one friend and ally in the region. To me, it’s an easy and obvious choice, but then I didn’t go to Harvard, so maybe I’m missing something.
Or could Kerry have been doing nothing more than lamenting the facts (courtesy today’s NY Times): …[as of] “the 17th day of an increasingly bloody conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants that has killed nearly 800 people in Gaza. On the Israeli side, 32 soldiers and three civilians have been killed. This was the fourth time that United Nations schools had been struck.” Would you be willing to declare that scorecard “pinpoint?”
Larry – armed conflict is horrible as John Kerry would know more viscerally than you and I. Claiming to “limit civilian casualties” may sound laudable, but functions only as a public relations ploy, not an achievable goal. Mixing young men and ordinance results in deaths.
Kerry’s unguarded comment is hardly indicative of a “hostile attitude toward Israel.”
thank you for your comment. Looking forward to Tuesday. LJ