I am not one of John Kerry’s fans. I did not vote for him when he ran for President. And I did not support him as President Obama’s choice for Secretary of State. I had always seen Kerry’s support for Israel to be somewhat lacking in decisiveness. I simply wasn’t sure where he really stood despite his positive voting record.
Now that he has been in office for some time, I have come to a better understanding of his position. He indeed has a more favorable view of Israel than I had once thought. His views do not match mine. But I am convinced that his support for Israel is strong.
Understandably as Secretary of State he has always tried to counterbalance his support for Israel with support for the Palestinians. But in the balance, I believe his support for Israel is real – even while I disagree with his obsession to get some sort of peace deal between the two peoples.
Not that I don’t want peace. I absolutely do. And I would support any compromise that would work toward that end – provided of course that Israel remain a free, safe, and secure Jewish State. The problem with Kerry is that he is blind to the fact that it is currently impossible to achieve that. As long as there is a Hamas or a Hezbollah whose clearly stated objective is to wipe Israel off the map – an objective that they constantly act upon by firing rockets indiscriminately into populated areas of Israel… and as long as there is an Iran and an Islamic fundamentalist belief that Israel must be eradicated by any means necessary… there is no possible way to have any kind of peace agreement that will hold.
I bring all of this up in light of the recent Apartheid statement made by Kerry. In his attempt to express the urgency of making peace he said that if Israel doesn’t do it, it is in danger of becoming an Apartheid State. (He made similar comments recently about the possibility of another Intifada.) All of this quite nicely fitting into the Palestinian narrative.
As one editorial indicated, using the word Apartheid in any context with Israel is the new Antisemitism. And of course Apartheid Israel is a bold faced lie. A big lie. The Big Lie of the 21st century. The kind of lie used by Hitler’s Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. He is famous for saying that if you repeat a big lie often enough people will start believing it. Goebbels filled the air with a media campaign full of disgusting lies about the Jewish people. And that made many people believe that Jews were the vermin they he said they were.
Why is using Apartheid in the context of Israel a Big Lie? Aren’t the two peoples separate and apart? Do not the Palestinians suffer because of Israel’s security needs? They do. But not because Israel discriminates against them racially, religiously, ethnically, socially, or any other way. It is because they have no choice.
The security fence that for example causes so much grief to Palestinians was built for lack of any other way of securing its borders from attack by suicide bombers from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank of the Jordan River). Since the security fence was built, there haven’t been any. Prior to that, it seemed like an everyday event. There are other inconveniences that Palestinians feel at the hands of Israel for security reasons. But to say that this is in any way Apartheid – or that this will lead to Apartheid – is not only an insult to Israel, it is an insult to South African blacks who actually lived through it!
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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