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Kerry apologizes for speculating that theoretically, in the distant future, Israel could do something bad

It took Secretary of State John Kerry exactly 24 hours after his “apartheid” comments were revealed by The Daily Beast to issue a comprehensive apology for the remarks. Despite demands from the American right, Kerry did not resign. The New York Times reports:

In the statement that Mr. Kerry issued Monday, which bore the title “On Support for Israel,” he said that he had been a staunch supporter of Israel during his years as a senator and had spent many hours since working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

[…]

Mr. Kerry added that he did not believe that Israel was an “apartheid state” or intended to become one. Mr. Kerry did not dispute he had used the phrase but said it had led to a “misimpression” about his views.

“If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” he said.

Earlier Monday, AIPAC called Kerry’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate,” reminding the secretary of state that “The Jewish state is a shining light for freedom and opportunity in a region plagued by terror, hate and oppression.” Representatives from both parties parroted the line, and as they say, “poof!”

Kerry, it should be noted, never called Israel an “apartheid state.” He spoke purely in theoretical terms, saying that if Israel becomes “a unitary state,” meaning a single unit including the occupied territories, it would either become a non-Jewish state (due to demographic imbalance) or an Apartheid regime, should it choose to continue keeping millions of Palestinians bereft of political rights. One could argue (as I have here) that this is already the case in the West Bank. But Kerry didn’t say that. As most reports pointed out, he merely repeated what many centrist Israeli politicians, including two prime ministers, have previously stated.

* * *

At this point, the mainstream debate over Israel/Palestine in the U.S. is so crazy and absurd – so disconnected from the facts on the ground, as any person in his/her right mind knows them to be – that any decision by the White House to distance itself from the diplomatic effort is probably the best course of action. There is zero chance that such a bizarre political conversation would lead to a reasonable policy that would serve the interests of the U.S., or even Israelis and Palestinians for that matter.

The two-state solution is on its death bed and Palestinians are redefining their struggle in human and civil rights terms. Meanwhile, the settlers are pushing for gradual annexation of the occupied territory. Yet the conversation in the U.S. is taking place between those supporting yesterday’s ideas and those denying the existence of a problem. So where can one even begin?

Observing American politics from afar, I can argue that dysfunctional systems and/or disconnected politics exist in many fields – gun control and climate change being the most obvious ones. However, there is still a big difference between the issues, since many Americans take part in the debate and have strong opinions on these issues. Therefore, ultimately, one could expect that Washington will either change or break (and then change) on them.

But the Israel/Palestine field is way smaller, and is dominated by strong gatekeepers and lobby organizations that police every aspect of the debate. By “police” I mean they prevent any meaningful debate on issues, and only work on forbidden terms (apartheid, occupation and the likes) and ad hominem attacks, which, when successful, are turned into “guilt by association” charges for maximum effect. The outcome is echoed by a media that is either not knowledgable or too carful or biased to challenge the rules of engagement. Thus, one ends up with the “equal parties” framing (listening to American commentary might leave you with the impression that the powerful Palestinians forced the helpless Israelis to occupy them), along with all sorts of absurdities, such as The Times recently calling Hamas “the devil” in a news report, or the latest Kerry fiasco.

This is not just an Israeli or Palestinian problem, and it is certainly not a Jewish problem. This is, more than anything else, an American problem. And sure enough, it creates a lot of negative effects on the ground here. As an Israeli, what concerns me the most is the way U.S. support prevents any accountability from our leaders for the occupation. Ultimately, however, the U.S.’s inability to come up with an effective policy, or even a reasonable one, will invite other forces in and change the behavior of players on the ground, such that they won’t be as bound or influenced by the wonderland in D.C.

In many ways, this process has already begun.

Related:
The hater in the sky / Eli Valley
Kerry warns: Israel could become an apartheid state / Noam Sheizaf

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  • COMMENTS

    1. shachalnur

      And again you fail to report that Kerry made his comments to the Trilateral Commission,a place where Russia is present.

      Everything said by anybody in these open meetings will be outed,and Kerry knows that.

      Whatever deals are made behind the scenes is another matter.

      Another day ,another leak,another kneejerk reaction by the uninformed.

      The real war is invisible,the visible war is an illusion.

      Reply to Comment
    2. un2here

      If he wasn’t actually talking about permanenting the present, what was he warning about – what could possibly get worse?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Khaled Khalid

      This “Apologizing” feeds into the notion that “The Jews” control Washington. Everything Abe Foxman denies, as he flys around talking to world leaders telling them what to say.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Rab

      He’s apologizing for undermining Israel unduly, again.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      He’s apologizing for telling the truth.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        He said that Israel isn’t an apartheid state. Glad to see you agree.

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          He said Israel will be an apartheid state if it continues on its present course. His only error was that he spoke about Israeli apartheid in the future tense. He should have framed it in the present tense.

          Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            So we are in agreement that he didn’t call Israel an apartheid state.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Samuel Kent

      Israel is an apartheid state.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        “Israel is an apartheid state.”

        By decree? Feudalism is dead didn’t you know? Royal decrees are passee.

        Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        “Israel is an apartheid state.”

        Here see what someone who knows first hand about apartheid says about your silly comment:

        http://youtu.be/v27sNLIEOes

        Reply to Comment
    7. Richard Witty

      There is too much talk about America’s involvement.

      The most the US is a mediator. It is NOT a policeman of international law, not a controller of another sovereign state.

      The responsibility for social change in Israel and Palestine, rests with Israelis and Palestinians.

      And, most of that is legal and electoral (starting with hearts and minds).

      Reply to Comment
    8. Average American

      It absolutely shows The Jews are in control of Washington. As Khaled said. As most Americans already have witnessed for some time. So let’s not pretend. But say it aloud, and the Jewish staffed State Department Office of Anti-Semitism (a budget that could be better spent on our public schools) will criminally penalize you. Or the Jewish controlled Federal Reserve Bank will stop lending to you. Or the Jewish controlled AIPAC will stop contributing to your campaign. Or you will be made to apologize publicly like Kerry. How d’ya like that. My America is gone.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        Why is this puppy allowed to post on this site?

        Reply to Comment
        • armin

          Because my dearly beloved Rab, you have posted some comments too. So let it be.
          An eye for an eye, and a teeth for an teeth. My Lord bless you.

          Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            I don’t recall having posted any antisemitic comments. Can you point me to one?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Rab and IlonJ: It’s fact. Everyone can see it. What are you talking antisemitic and Nazis, to try to divert the issue?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Rab and IlonJ: It’s fact. Everyone can see it. What are you talking antisemitic and Nazis, to try to divert the issue?”

            Ilon and Rab talk antisemitic? Just look at your post Average. It is full of Jewish controlled this … and Jewish controlled that …. and it finishes with your lament “my America is lost … ”

            Your post is full of all the classic dog whistle accusations that all antisemites accuse Jews of … you must have read Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion cover to cover several times. You may as well have quoted from the pages of those classic antisemitic publications which claim that the Jews control the world.

            Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            ” What are you talking antisemitic ”

            Don’t be like that Mr Average American, you mentioned that you have a problem with American Jews.

            I just tried to suggest a couple of solutions for you. How you could solve your problem.

            What was wrong with my suggestions?

            Reply to Comment
    9. IlonJ

      “My America is gone.”

      Here is an idea for you, Mr Average American:

      Start a campaign to have all American Jews returned to the country of the Jews, Israel.

      Or even “better” maybe (for someone like you), what about finishing what the Nazis tried to do?

      Which idea do you like better?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Peter Hindrup

      How is it that space can be given for such a no question, no debate proposition?

      ‘The 2002 Statute of the International Criminal Court contains no references to South Africa and regards apartheid as “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group.”

      ‘These conditions are particularly visible in the occupied territories: Jewish settlers live in exclusive communities, from which all Palestinian locals are barred (except, occasionally, as ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’). They drive on Israeli-only roads, enjoy Israeli military protection and access to all the privileges and and services that come with citizenship rights, including voting for the Israeli parliament. Palestinian subjects are denied access to any of the above, and have no say in the way they are governed. ‘No taxation without representation’ is a noble political principle that does not apply to them, only to Israeli settlers.’

      An clear, unambiguous definition, understandable by anybody who has a reasonable understanding of English.

      The reality is that the only issue is that Israel does not like to named for what in fact it is.

      How is it that this pipsqueak nation — never forget that the Jewish population of Israel is at best six million, and probably nearer to five million, whose language in not English. Who attempt to dictate to the world how they shall be portrayed, in what manner they will be described. This derisively small ‘nation’ would impose their version of what various English words mean.

      ‘The Holocaust’. As if even in the context of the second world war ‘their’ trauma was greater than not only anyone else, but everyone else. Yet the fire bombing of Dresden, and 60 odd other German towns is a far better fit for the meaning of holocaust, along with the fire bombing of Tokyo, and the nukeing Hiroshima and Nagasaki would, objectively carry the title if ‘The Holocaust’ if any in fat deserved it .

      Then of course is the over used, wrongly used, and no longer having any meaning, ‘antisemitic’. The club with which Israelis/Jews beat those who they would demonise. That is absolutely nonsensical is clear when one remembers that very few Jews are in fact Semantics, and that of the ten or so ethnic groups who are speaker of a Semantic Hebrew is the least of them, while Arabic is the most widely spoke language.

      Then we are supposed to believe that this minuscule population, living on this sliver of stolen land, is a mighty military force. Ignoring the fact that Hezbollah, without heavy weaponary, without any air defence or air cover fought them to a standstill.

      Israel; 20,770 km²: slightly smaller than Taiwan; a little bigger than Singapore ; 716 s km2 Pop 5,399.2 :
      roughly equal to vancouver island; and it would drown in lake Michigan. Can you imagine these mighty entities demanding that the world conform to how they wished to be depicted? Or the world trembling in fear of their mighty power?

      Past time that the pipsqueaks were sat upon.

      Reply to Comment
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