Monday, April 28, 2014

Kerry’s A-bomb makes clear: the apartheid label just won’t go away - West of Eden Israel News | Haaretz

John Kerry's "restatement" of his remark about Israel is masterful:

For more than thirty years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel, I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight. As Secretary of State, I have spent countless hours working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister Livni because I believe in the kind of future that Israel not only wants, but Israel deserves. I want to see a two state solution that results in a secure Jewish state and a prosperous Palestinian state, and I’ve actually worked for it.
I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.
First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.
Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution.
In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.
- Secretary John Kerry, April 28, 2014
Kerry’s A-bomb makes clear: the apartheid label just won’t go away - West of Eden Israel News | Haaretz:
by Chemi Shalev // Haaretz

In a strictly literal sense, the creator of Israel’s policy of apartheid – “separate-hood” in Dutch/Afrikaans - was Yitzhak Rabin. In January 1995, following a roadside suicide bombing near Netanya that killed 19 soldiers, Rabin announced that Israel would henceforth try to “separate” itself from the Palestinians. In his last interview before he was assassinated, Rabin reiterated that such “separate-hood” was the “best solution” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In Israel, in fact, it is the leftist and centrist supporters of a two-state solution who are the biggest supporters of “separation," a position that often earns them heaps of disingenuous scorn and ridicule from their critics on the hard right and the extreme left. What kind of hypocritical liberals are you, if you support separation from the Palestinians, while we, the annexationists on the right and the one-staters on the left, endorse integration?

Kerry’s warning, as reported by the Daily Beast, referred of course to the future. Without a two-state solution, Israel will inevitably find itself facing a choice between granting voting rights to West Bank Palestinians, and thus threatening the long-term survival of its Jewish character, or denying such a vote and descending into a form of apartheid. It is a scenario that is routinely conjured by Israeli politicians, including both former prime ministers Barak and Olmert, but one that resonates more when it comes from Kerry’s mouth.

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