International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Kerry: Israel Headed Toward Apartheid?

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

Speaking at the annual conference of the Trilateral Commission – a non-governmental discussion group founded in the 1970s to foster closer cooperation between North America, Europe, and Pacific Asia – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said:

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state. Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

He also said that he might be forced to put his own peace plan on the table and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.”

We have dealt before with the offensive and historically inaccurate comparison of Israel with Apartheid-era South Africa.  There’s no need to expound further on the inappropriateness and utter falsehood of the analogy. What should be pointed out is the detrimental application of that label to Israel by an American Secretary of State. As we’ve discussed many times, “apartheid” is a common slander used against the Jewish state by her enemies – a slander that was just given new credibility by America’s top diplomat. So, not only is Secretary Kerry incandescently wrong, but his comments will be used by Israel-haters as a cudgel.

What is missing in Kerry’s remarks is any respect for Israeli culture and political maturity. What he’s saying, in effect, is that in the absence of peace – right now! – there are only these options: Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish country; or, Israel will impose apartheid-like laws in order to keep the Arab minority locked in a second-class status. This, of course, is rubbish. Rabbi Danny Gordis, columnist Caroline Glick, and others have written persuasively about Israel’s ability to…

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Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Sorry, Israel Doomsayers, the Conflict Can Be Managed

(Photo: wikicommons/ א.ינאי)

(Photo: wikicommons/ א.ינאי)

A main argument advanced by Western powers in favor of pushing for more negotiations in the going-nowhere peace process is that the conflict is unsustainable for both sides. Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, demonstrates that this argument flies in the face of reality both in theory and as it currently exists on the ground:

The notion that Israel is living on borrowed time has been a staple of Middle East commentary since its victory in 1967 and it is just as much of a fallacy today as it was then. Indeed, despite numerous problems, both domestic and foreign, Israel has become an economic and military powerhouse that cannot be wished away.

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Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 8:14 AM  | Stand For Israel

Abbas’ Fictional State

(Photo: White House)

(Photo: White House)

Dr. Reuven Berko, writing at Israel Hayom, illustrates why the Palestinians had no interest in the latest round of peace talks actually succeeding and why Israel’s strategy of engaging in the negotiations eventually made evident the emptiness of Palestinian demands for statehood:

The inception of a Palestinian state alongside Israel is a recipe for internal Palestinian disaster. The objective limitations of security and space would force Palestinian leaders to refuse the descendents of the refugees’ demand for a right of return. The Palestinians would be forced to conduct transparent fiscal policies, devoid of the assistance of the Arab world and the West; they would have to put an end to corruption and take actual responsibility for their citizens, as they would have no “occupation” to blame for their failures.

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Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

Same Old Song and Dance

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

It is proverbial that familiarity breeds contempt. So, in the past week, one could be forgiven for harboring a sense of contempt for the familiar machinations of the Palestinian Authority.

Having never taken peace talks with Israel seriously – but having used those negotiations to win concessions from Israel totaling hundreds of freed terrorists while giving nothing in return – the gravy train finally stopped when Israel refused to continue the charade by releasing another round of prisoners.

Immediately after, the Palestinians sought recognition of Palestine – a nation that does not exist – by a host of United Nations agencies. They have threatened to apply for membership in the International Criminal Court, where they would almost certainly pursue charges against Israel and her leaders. And, most recently, they have returned to the familiar tropes of threatening to disband the Palestinian Authority and engaging in unity talks with Hamas.

The Palestinian National Authority (P.A.) was created as part of the Oslo Accords in 1994. The P.A. was established to administer areas of the West Bank and Gaza as a preliminary step to independence and a Palestinian state.  The P.A. was ruled by Fatah, Yasser Arafat’s political party, until the 2006 elections, which were won by the Hamas terrorist organization. Those were the last elections held for P.A. positions. In 2002, in response to a massive wave of suicide terror against Israeli civilians, the Israel Defense Forces took control over most of the population centers that the P.A. administered. While the P.A. still ran the civilian government, the IDF was responsible for security with the exception of some policing authority still allowed to P.A. police. The P.A. performs some rudimentary governmental functions, but very little. Its benefit is purely symbolic and, like much else in the Middle East, that symbolism is largely a relic of a time not currently reflected by the facts on the ground. Disbanding the P.A. is a meaningless gesture by a group of people who spend all their time…

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:17 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Palestinians Are to Blame for the Failed Peace Talks, But Not for the Reasons You Think

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Lee Smith, writing at Tablet, says that the real reason Mahmoud Abbas wants out of the peace talks – or wants to be seen as holding a hard line should he remain at the table – is due to internal Palestinian politics. Specifically, Abbas fears that his rivals will use any concessions he makes against him. We’ve discussed this problem before and Smith’s piece is another example of the poisonous nature of Palestinian politics:

For Abbas, staying in power requires keeping his rivals at bay. In particular, there’s Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza-based Fatah strongman who’s been licking his wounds ever since Hamas routed his men from the Strip in 2007. At just 52, Dahlan is still young. For the past four years, he has been living in the United Arab Emirates; my sources in the region tell me he recently spent a month in Marrakesh with Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington, who was in Morocco recovering from shoulder surgery.

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Do Unilateralists Own Israel’s Future?

(Photo: Wikinews)

(Photo: Wikinews)

Tom Wilson, writing at Commentary, wonders if the future of the Israeli-Palestinian process depends on further negotiations, on continuing cycles of calm and violence, or on unilateral moves made by each side:

There are two obvious problems with almost all of the unilateral proposals. One is security, the other is international opinion. Those plans that call for a near complete withdrawal from the West Bank risk recreating Gaza on a massive scale and on the strategically important high ground overlooking Israel’s population centers and vital infrastructure.

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Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 8:12 AM  | Stand For Israel

Kerry to Congress: Israel Responsible for Failure of Talks

(Photo: U.S. State Department)

(Photo: U.S. State Department)

Jonathan Tobin excoriates Secretary of State John Kerry for his testimony in Congress yesterday in which America’s senior diplomat strongly suggested that the party responsible for scuttling the most recent round of peace talks is Israel. Tobin wonders why, given that the available evidence is that the accusation is false:

Kerry knows very well that the negotiations were doomed once the Palestinians refused to sign on to the framework for future talks he suggested even though it centered them on the 1967 lines that they demand as the basis for borders. Why? Because Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas wouldn’t say the two little words —“Jewish state”—that would make it clear he intended to end the conflict.

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Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 9:54 AM  | Stand For Israel

John Kerry Ruined What John Kerry Built


(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini claims in this article that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were much closer to a deal than is publicly known, but that John Kerry made the mistake of pressuring Israel and not the Palestinians. What followed, predictably, were more demands and a walk away from the table:

Just as great progress was being achieved, Kerry made a series of statements about the boycott that Israel would be facing if negotiations fail. Even the Palestinians couldn’t believe that this man, the insistent broker, was saying these things. He started a campaign of accusations against Israel – just as Netanyahu was ready to make huge compromises. Kerry didn’t mean to – but he signaled the way for the Palestinians to once again raise the bar on their demands. Once again, they could refuse. Kerry made it clear to them that Israel would be paying the price alone. Nothing would happen to them.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 8:53 AM  | Stand For Israel

Putting It All On Israel

(Photo: Flickr/ RonAlmog)

(Photo: Flickr/ RonAlmog)

In his piece in the weekend issue of Haaretz, Amos Harel, arguably the top military and defense journalist in Israel, engages in one of those common journalistic lines of reasoning that are repeated so often they come to seem like received wisdom but, upon further inspection, are nonsense. The article, which is behind the Haaretz pay wall, has this as the lead:

“If Israel remains stubborn and refuses to resume talks it will embark on a course that could result in a renewal of terrorism in Israeli cities.”

Did you catch that? It seems quite reasonable, doesn’t it. We’ve written before on these pages that the failure of the peace talks could likely lead to renewed terrorism. So, what’s the big deal?

The problem is that Harel’s construction of the argument has Israeli stubbornness as the genesis of Palestinian terror. Leave aside, for the moment, that we don’t agree with Harel that continuing to build in your capital city and insisting that your enemies promise a real peace agreement can be called “stubbornness.” But how, for people who are reasonable and rational and who believe in things like constructive negotiation, can Harel dismissively excuse Palestinian terrorism? Because, when you say that a new campaign of suicide terror is the totally natural result of the failure of peace talks, we have to ask, “in what way is suicide terror ever natural?”

Harel, who really is a good journalist, concedes in his piece that the Palestinians made ridiculous and unreasonable demands, that they aren’t negotiating in good faith, and that they likely can’t deliver on an agreement even if they ever could muster the courage to forge one. Still, the new wave of terror he foresees will be due to Israeli stubbornness. In this view of the conflict, there are two glaringly incorrect beliefs. They are shared by many on the Israeli left, in Europe, at the U.N. and other international institutions, and among international aid and human rights organizations.

The first is that the Palestinians are mere children, who simply cannot be expected to react to circumstances with…

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Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 8:43 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Many Roads That Lead to War

(Photo: wikicommons/אילן ארד)

(Photo: wikicommons/אילן ארד)

Jeffrey Goldberg concludes his obituary for the most recent peace talks by asking of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “how can we blame a man for seeking peace?”

Certainly, all people of goodwill would like to see a world at peace, and perhaps Goldberg meant that rhetorically. But let’s try to provide a few possible answers to Goldberg’s question:

When both sides tell you there is little to be accomplished by forcing them to the negotiating table, you can be blamed.

When one side has to bribe the other side by – at your insistence – releasing from prison hundreds of convicted murderers with nothing in return, you can be blamed.

When one side isn’t even the controlling political and military power in half of its putative country, and would almost assuredly be swept from power in the other half if left to its own devices, thereby making it clear to everyone that any agreement will be utterly meaningless on the ground, you can be blamed.

When the predictable failure of the negotiations is likely to bring about new Palestinian efforts to demonize Israel on the international stage, or a new cycle of violence and suffering on both sides, you can be blamed.

That last point may be the most salient. This was the overwhelmingly likely outcome and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas’ move to join 15 U.N. committees as a result of the talks’ failure was equally likely. To push the one when the likely outcome is the other is, at best, negligent.

The Christian writer C.S. Lewis, whose own nation was plunged into a terrible war not long after being promised “peace for our time,” once wrote, “I think many would now agree that a foreign policy dominated by desire for peace is one of the many roads that lead to war.” Similarly, we have seen for years of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that peace is impossible when one of the parties involved in negotiations has no real desire for it, and that negotiations under such circumstances may not…

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Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 8:40 AM  | Stand For Israel