Editor’s Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Secretary of State John Kerry has taken only one element from all of America’s history in his peripatetic quest to forge a Mideast peace settlement: It is Theodore Roosevelt’s famous “Big Stick.” It was the Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Roosevelt, who famously quoted the West African proverb: “Walk softly but carry a big stick.”
Kerry has walked anything but softly. In fact, he has often jammed his boot in the door and hectored the sides in the century-old Arab-Israeli conflict. He seems determined to force a Mideast settlement on the contenders by using his Big Stick diplomacy—on one side.
Since he entered the fray, Kerry has been lecturing Israel. And President Obama has warned the Israelis—oh, how he has warned them— that time is running out. The Jews have lived in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for six thousand years, but Messers. Obama and Kerry are wiser and they now determine that Israel’s time is running out.
Now, John Kerry has stuck his boot, not in the door, but firmly in his mouth. Recently, Kerry told a closed door session here that Israel was in danger of becoming “an apartheid state.” Thus, he equated Israel with the former regime in South Africa, the minority white-dominated Nationalist Party rulers in that pariah state.
This was a cruel and unjust comparison, to say the least. The United States labored for years to expunge the infamous UN General Assembly resolution that equated Zionism with racism. It was a project of both U.S. political parties. One of us was a member of the John Bolton led team that finally got this done.
Liberal Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan denounced that UN resolution with ferocity. He said in 1975 that a “great evil has been loosed upon the world.” He called it “shameless.” You may see this accomplished diplomat’s fiery address to the UN General Assembly here.
Yet, here was our inept Secretary of State exhuming the corpse of “Zionism is Racism” infamy and dragging it back onto the international stage. Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton notoriously started counting Jews in Jerusalem. They have both loudly complained when Jews fleeing rising anti-Semitism in Europe have tried to resettle in the one country in the world founded as a refuge for oppressed Jews.
Both Clinton and Kerry have forgotten, if they ever knew, Winston Churchill’s wise advice. Sixty years ago, the world statesman said: “Let the Jews have Jerusalem. It is they who made it famous.”
America, called a “haven for the oppressed of many lands” by none other than George Washington, should be the first to understand what all this means. Washington told the Hebrew Congregation at Newport that here “each will sit under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
Who today can sit under his vine and fig tree in any PLO-ruled territory and not be afraid? Questions should be put to Secretary Kerry: How many Jews are there in Syria? In Libya? In Egypt? In Saudi Arabia?
These are pertinent questions to put to our apologetic Secretary of State. We do not know how many Jews live in those lands. Most of their co-religionists were driven out of these Muslim-majority countries over a period of decades. If any Jews remain in these lands, they must keep their heads down. No safe vines or fig trees for them.
The worst part of Kerry’s statement is this: PLO boss Mahmoud Abbas has openly avowed there will be no Jews in his projected Palestinian State. None. There’s your apartheid, Mr. Secretary!
And, the Christians who have lived for centuries in these territories are being persecuted. Fatah is the largest group within the terrorist PLO. Fatah means “Islamic conquest” in Arabic. Fatah is trying to drive out the Christian Arabs, too! Should we be surprised at any of this?
The Obama State Department has been pressuring the Israelis to cede vital territory to their sworn enemies Fatah is the group they are empowering. And the Israelis are the ones against whom they are wielding the Big Stick.
President Obama should take away Mr. Kerry’s Big Stick. No redo. Mr. Kerry should not resign, he should be fired.
Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union, and on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of State