John Kerry is attempting to walk back his smear of Israel as an “apartheid” state. That the current secretary of state is a clownish figure has been well known for decades. But what should not be lost in the latest gaffe is that it is not a gaffe. In what he foolishly thought was a safe place to let his hair down, Kerry merely gave voice to what the Obama administration thinks. “Apartheid” trips easily off his tongue because it is part of the Islamist narrative that the administration has internalized.
Forget Kerry. This was made explicit in Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech—for anyone who didn’t infer it already from Obama’s friendships with notorious Israel bashers like Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers (see P. David Hornik’s FPM report on Ayers joining his fellow tenured radicals in a 2010 petition accusing Israel of — all together now — apartheid policies). As I recounted in The Grand Jihad, Obama’s speech “combined fictional accounts of Islamic history and doctrine, a woefully ignorant explanation of Israel’s claim to its sovereign territory, and an execrable moral equivalence drawn between Southern slave owners in early America and modern Israelis besieged by Palestinian terror.”
On the latter two points, in what I described as a “sweet-sounding sell-out,” the president claimed:
The recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.
The Muslim Brotherhood leaders invited to the speech over the Mubarak government’s objection must have been giddy. My book explains:
“The basic Arab argument against Israel,” Caroline Glick observes, is that the Jewish nation was established for a single reason: “to soothe the guilty consciences of Europeans who were embarrassed about the Holocaust. By their telling, the Jews have no legal, historic or moral rights to the Land of Israel.”
This is patently false. As Melanie Phillips put it:
The Jews’ aspiration for their homeland does not derive from the Holocaust, nor their overall tragic history. It derives from Judaism itself, which is composed of the inseparable elements of the religion, the people and the land. Their unique claim upon the land rests upon the fact that the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their nation, which it was for hundreds of years—centuries before the Arabs and Muslims came on the scene.
Exactly. The legal, historical, and moral claims of Jews predate Adolph Hitler by many centuries. As Glick elaborates, what the League of Nations mandated in 1922 was not the creation but the reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth. Moreover, by emphasizing “anti-Semitism in Europe,” Obama ignored the Nazis’ alliance with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinians—“and the fact,” Phillips adds, “that Nazi-style Jew-hatred continues to pour out of the Arab and Muslim world to this day.”
It was all well and good for the president to discourage “threatening Israel with destruction” and the repetition of “vile stereotypes about Jews.” But this was just buttering-up rhetoric, preparing the way for a wholesale adoption of Palestinian mythology.
According to Obama, it was “undeniable” that for sixty years the Palestinians had suffered in pursuit of a homeland, endured the pain of dislocation, and been confined “in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands,” waiting, ever waiting for “a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.”
This is preposterous. Let’s put aside that the Palestinians have controlled Gaza since 2005—any refugee camps there are courtesy of Hamas. The Arabs, Phillips pointed out, could easily have created a Palestinian state during the twenty years (between 1948 and 1967) that Jordan and Egypt held the West Bank and Gaza, respectively. They opted not to do so. Before that, the Palestinians had been offered a homeland in 1936 and 1947, and Israel renewed the offer in 1967 and 2000. They keep turning down these entreaties because their goal is to destroy Israel, not coexist in “peace and security.”
How fitting it would have been, in Cairo, for an American president to look [the al-Azhar University officials in the audience] in the eye and observe that Egypt, too, has a border with Gaza, which they police energetically—at times, brutally—to seal off the Palestinians.
But no, instead we got Islamism 101: The Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories are illegitimate, the president declared. They “undermine efforts to achieve peace” and must stop. Unstated, naturally, were the nettlesome facts that: (a) a million Arabs live in Israel (live, in fact, with more freedom and dignity than Arabs live anywhere else in the Middle East), and (b) Palestinians demand a “right of return” to Israel (one that would destroy its character as a Jewish state) as part of any final settlement. Hectoring Israel over the settlements is the world according to sharia: What’s Islam’s is Islam’s, and what’s yours is Islam’s.
Worse than that, though, Obama treated listeners to this bit of wisdom: “Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed” (emphasis added). Resistance is a weasel word par excellence—sort of Saul Alinsky for Islamists. It is how the Islamist can tell you, straight-faced, that he is vigorously opposed to “terrorism.” In his mind, “terrorism” is American national defense and the existence of the Zionist entity. Blowing up Israelis and American troops, by contrast, is not terrorism—it’s resistance. By using their weasel word, the president accepted a noxious premise: The Palestinians are an oppressed people, not a people trying to annihilate their unwanted neighbors. Their violence and killing is not a moral wrong but a tactical problem—“it will not succeed.”
And why not? Well, because in Obama’s twisted history, the Palestinians are just like “black people in America” fighting for their civil rights . . . which, of course, implicitly casts Israelis in the role of slave owners inflicting “the lash of the whip.” Those civil rights, Obama maintained, were won solely “by peaceful and determined resistance.”
In Cairo, the president drew a despicable analogy between (a) the plight of American blacks from the time of slavery through the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. and (b) the Palestinian campaign of terror that has failed to achieve statehood because its unrelenting goal—reaffirmed recently as a few days ago when Hamas and Fatah united—is the annihilation of the Jewish state, not peaceful coexistence with it.
I do not understand how anyone who heard Obama’s Cairo speech could be remotely surprised by Kerry’s “apartheid” remarks.