Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:14 AM

Instead of Peace Israel Settling for Apartheid…?

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

kerry-livni-622x350Last July, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made quite a show of announcing his Mideast peace initiative:

‘All of the core issues are on the table for negotiation, with the goal of reaching a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months,’ Kerry said. ‘The time has come for a lasting peace.’

(CBS News, July 30, 2013)

But nobody who knows anything about the oxymoronic Mideast peace process could have had any hope that Kerry would have anything to show for his efforts by his deadline, which was yesterday.

The nine-month deadline for US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has passed with nothing to show for the period of intense American diplomacy…

The two sides were possibly further apart on Tuesday than when talks were launched last July – negotiations which Kerry had hoped initially would lead to a settlement of Israel-Palestine conflict by the middle of this year.

(London Guardian, April 29, 2014)

obama-netanyahu-abbas-220909-540x304Here’s an excerpt from “Obama Aping Bush on Mideast Peace Too,” September 10, 2010, which informed my cynicism:

I have taken a lot of ribbing from my progressive friends for documenting how President Obama is governing just like Bush on many foreign policy matters, including the way Obama has escalated drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan…

Now come reports that Obama is aping Bush’s strategy for brokering peace in the Middle East too.  Here, for a little context, is how I ridiculed Bush’s declaration in January 2008 that there would be a peace treaty between the Israelis and Palestinians before the end of his presidency in January 2009:

‘When I criticized Bush back then for his Chamberlainian declaration, I had no idea Israel would expose his pandering in such explosive fashion – as it did four days ago.  But anyone remotely familiar with the geo-political tensions in the Middle East, and with the patent inability of U.S. presidents to affect them, knew full well that the chances of Bush pulling off an eleventh-hour peace treaty were zero to none.

‘Frankly, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Israelis and Palestinians reignited their warfare.  And it hardly matters who or what triggered this latest episode – especially since the root cause of this perennial conflict dates back to Biblical times, and each side claims divine provenance for its actions.’ (“Bush’s Promise of Peace in Middle East…,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 31, 2008)

Given this Bush precedent, not to mention the 60-year futility of Mideast peace initiatives, you’d think Obama would be loath to make a similar declaration about brokering a peace deal within a year. Yet:

‘We believe these negotiations can be completed within one year… We will engage with perseverance and patience to try to bring them to a successful conclusion.’ (Obama’s Special Envoy For Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell, whitehouse.gov, August 31, 2010)

__________________

That said, I feel obliged, yet again, to register my disgust at Israel-can-do-no-wrong enablers in the U.S. Congress. Because, instead of supporting the wholly informed warning Kerry issued to Israel on Monday about becoming an “apartheid” state, everyone from Tea Party conservative Senator Ted Cruz to left-wing liberal Senator Barbara Boxer reacted as if he uttered words that were as anti-Semitic as Donald Sterling’s were racist.

imagesBut you don’t have to take my word for the wholly informed nature of Kerry’s admittedly provocative warning. Because here’s what universally acclaimed anti-Apartheid pioneer, South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, thinks about Israel looking more like old Apartheid South Africa every day:

I go and I visit the Holy Land and I see things that are a mirror image of the sort of things that I experienced under Apartheid.

(Huffington Post, April 30, 2014)

Nonetheless, in a gesture as Kafkaesque as a U.S. secretary of state apologizing for warning the Apartheid regime 25 years ago that its White-minority rule cannot last, Kerry apologized.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 3.32.23 PMMind you, he was only echoing the warning no less a person than former president Jimmy Carter sounded in his authoritative book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Not to mention that prominent Israeli politicians themselves have been sounding this very same warning for years.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, last night delivered an unusually blunt ­warning to his country that a failure to make peace with the Palestinians would leave either a state with no Jewish ­majority or an ‘apartheid’ regime…

‘As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,’ Barak said. ‘If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.’

(The London Guardian, February 2, 2012)

Hence, apropos of Israel-can-do-no-wrong enablers, I reiterate my abiding lament that its American supporters tend to be more Jewish than Jews in Israel.

It was truly surreal watching Republicans interrogate Chuck Hagel about his support for (or loyalty to) Israel during last week’s Senate hearing on his nomination to serve as defense secretary. In fact, Israel figured so prominently that I felt moved to title my commentary on the hearing, “Was Hagel Nominated as Defense Secretary for the U.S. or Israel?”…

He had the effrontery to assert that too many American lawmakers do the bidding of the ‘Jewish’ lobby without any regard for the likely negative impact on prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Never mind that Hagel’s assertion is based on the self-evident truth that Israel has become as sacred a cow in American politics as Mom, apple pie … and guns. (It speaks volumes that many pundits are now referring to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC as the ‘NRA of American foreign policy.’)

(“Americans more Jewish than Jews in Israel,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 6, 2013)

Related commentaries:
Obama aping Bush
The Iranians are asking for it
Americans more Jewish

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