John Kerry just couldn't resist.
Even though his public career is about to end--even though the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" is long dead--even though he has absolutely nothing to gain from it--the 73 year-old Kerry just could not resist unleashing one final blast at Israel.
Kerry's disingenuous and mean-spirited attack on Israel at the Saban Forum on Sunday served as a powerful reminder of how good it is that he is about to leave office--and how dangerous for Israel it would have been if he had remained as secretary of state.
Kerry said he finds it "profoundly disturbing" that many members of the Israel cabinet think a Palestinian state isn't such a great idea. Kerry acts as if Palestinian statehood has been an enshrined part of U.S. policy since time immemorial. In fact, only two presidents have endorsed Palestinian statehood; it has been part of U.S. foreign policy for only a very brief time. Future presidents have every right to disagree with the wisdom of that proposal. And certainly Israeli cabinet members have even more of a right to question its wisdom.
Kerry also rambled off into a long denunciation of "the settlements" for supposedly "blocking peace." He said how bothered he was that Israel has ignored his "warnings" about settlements. Maybe one of the reasons Israel has ignored those "warnings" is that Israelis are sick and tired of Kerry's hypocritical lecturing. He never says a word about the massive illegal Palestinian construction in the territories. He acts as if it's a given that a Jew residing in Judea-Samaria or many parts of Jerusalem is illegal and illegitimate while it's perfectly fine for Arabs to build anywhere and everywhere they please.
At the Saban Forum, Kerry also launched into another tired recitation of the claim that Israel's "can't be both democratic and Jewish" unless it permits creation of a Palestinian state. This old canard has been discredited innumerable times, but Kerry just won't let go of it. "There are more Arabs than Jews living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River," Kerry pompously asserted, as if Israelis are unaware of that questionable fact, which demographic changes are altering.
Yes, there are a lot of Arabs living in those territories. But they're not Israeli citizens. They're citizens of the Palestinian Authority. There is no threat to Israel's democratic majority, because non-citizens don't vote in Israel--just as they don't vote in the United States or any other country. The "demographic threat" is a myth.
Kerry has repeatedly demonstrated both a poor grasp of the facts and a troubling willingness to harass, threaten, and pressure Israel.
In February 2014, he warned that if Israel did not make more concessions to the Palestinians, it would face “an increasing delegitimization campaign”--a campaign that he boosted with his comment, as he surely knew he would. In April 2004, he said Israel would turn into "an apartheid state" if it did not quickly agree to a Palestinian state.
Last October, Kerry declared at Harvard University that "there's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years" --a total lie, since Israel has not authorized the establishment of a single new "settlement" in Judea-Samaria since Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin froze the creation of new communities there in 1992. Even worse, he said the mythical settlement-building causes Palestinian "frustration" which then causes Palestinian violence--thereby providing a justification for Palestinian Arabs to stab, shoot, bomb and run over Israelis.
Kerry met Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman last February 21. It was the height of the so-called Knife Intifada, the daily Palestinian stabbings of Israeli women and children, and incessant anti-Jewish incitement in the official PA press, radio, and television.
It could have been the moment that defined Kerry's career as secretary of state. It was his opportunity to speak the truth, to display moral fiber, to exhibit strength of character and fortitude. It was his chance to tell Abbas, in no uncertain terms, that the violence and to stop, immediately and completely, or the PA would forfeit the $500-million it receives each year from the Obama administration.
Instead, what did Kerry tell Abbas? He called for "calm and a decrease in violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric." That was it. "A decrease." Not an end to violence--just a decrease. Thanks a lot, Mr. Secretary.
Kerry will be remembered as a secretary of state who appeased Palestinian terrorists and tyrants, while lecturing and pressuring America's democratic ally. Goodbye, John Kerry. We won't miss you.
(Mr. Flatow, a New Jersey attorney, is vice president of the Religious Zionists of America and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995.)