Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Israel-Arab Conflict Should be the Last Item on John Kerry’s To-Do-List

July 5, 2013 11:33 am 6 comments

John Kerry speaks on his latest trip to Israel. Photo: Israel Hayom video.

This week the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister blamed mass protests in his country on the ‘Jewish Diaspora.’ Millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding the ousting of President Morsi who was subsequently removed from power by the Egyptian military. Jordan blocked 254 news websites and Iran was discovered to be importing missile-grade ore from Germany and France. The world was also reminded of the savagery that is Syria’s civil war when a video of rebels decapitating a Catholic priest with a kitchen knife went viral.

And John Kerry visited Israel. Again.

Just about everyone is wondering why.

His fifth time in the last three months, Kerry was on an Israel-PA ‘peace process’ shuttle diplomacy bender that included an all-night session with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and a press conference at the end that was optimistic in tone, but nothing else.

“What’s John Kerry doing here?” asked Ben Sales in a JTA column. “John Kerry’s bid for Mideast peace is doomed,” declared veteran commentator Jeffrey Goldberg writing for Bloomberg. “Chaos in Middle East grows as the U.S. focuses on Israel,” ran a New York Times headline, and more subtlely a Chicago Sun Times article announced that “Kerry’s admirable Mideast push faces daunting obstacles.”

Citing “former administration officials,” The New York Times tried its hand at an explanation, suggesting that Kerry is focusing on Israel and the Palestinian Authority because it is the only place in the region where the United States can still exert influence. No doubt hard to believe, and considerably worrying if true. Another explanation The Times cites, that strikes me as just strange, is that it is really all about Jordan. “Resuscitating the peace process is also vital to Jordan,” former State Department official Dennis Ross told the paper, “which is reeling from the wave of refugees from Syria and can ill afford a new wave of Palestinian unrest in the neighboring West Bank.”

More likely, the reason Kerry is focused on Israel and the Palestinian Authority is because Arab states and their friends and backers continue to push the issue to the fore, mostly to distract from their own internal failings. The ‘linkage’ ideology is alive and well in the Arab world, not because it is true but because blaming Israel serves the interests of most Arab despots.

Since the beginning of the year Kerry has visited numerous Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Brunei, some of them multiple times. It is likely that at each stop he has been greeted with the same advice; solve the “Israeli problem” first.

But if there is one thing that the escalating events in the Middle East have made abundantly clear to the Israelis, it is that there is no long term stability without real democracy, and there can be no sustainable peace without stability.

Events in Egypt, Turkey, Syria and beyond have shown that an agreement with any autocrat whose time in power is likely to be short-lived would not be sustainable. PA Chairman Abbas is an autocrat and therefore can’t be propped up in any sustainable way with all the will in the world.

George W. Bush was right. If America wishes to export peace, it must first export democracy. And if it is progress that Kerry seeks, this is where he must begin.

The situation in Egypt provides a prime opportunity to start with. U.S. support for either side should be made conditional on the establishment of a true democratic system of government. Elections alone are not enough, as Natan Sharansky writes in The Case for Democracy, “A society that is not free but in which elections are held, should never be considered democratic.” The ‘linkage’ that actually works is the linkage of Ronald Reagan and ‘Scoop’ Jackson, whereby the United States establishes its relationships based on how said country treats its own citizens.

In the meantime, John Kerry is trying to place a cherry on a cake that has yet to be baked. If Kerry wants peace in the region he must introduce the region to the ways of peace, to democracy, first.

The author is the Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

6 Comments

  • RIGHT ON!

  • By his very declarations, intelectually, Kerry has nothing to owe to Wimpy (Popeye´s friend), or vice-versa.

  • George Seravola

    I got it! Thanks a lot! Looks like everything is well planned. It is why we lost a diplomat in Libya, their is connection with the Norwegian government which did cooperate with Gaddafi for many years.
    Thanks again for the information.

  • Gerard De-Lamar

    If men see the connections links of what is happening at this moment is all connected to the Nobel Prize. Egypt did get the Nobel P! USA did get the Nobel Prize! EU did get the Nobel P. China did get the Nobel Prize. Egypt is in chaos! Edward Snowden – is Snow – North – Norway. E. Snowden involves USA, EU and China. All that is for Norway to keep the oil prices up! You get it!

  • E.S.Lombard

    Beautifully put! I hope it gets wider circulation. And at best, the U.S. has a representative republic. With the newer media, we ought to be able to use the best of the New England town hall as a model of shared democratic thought as a process. (With bombs and guns left at the door). Thanks!

  • It Matters not what is going on in the muslim regions, the middle east, or any of those places. if this country wanted to do something for Israel the would replace the man in the white house and every liberal in Washington. Demon crats are destroying all our sons and daughters and ancestors have fought for. When is America going to wake up and stand up and fight for the right the good and the law. Not these so call baby killing older people killing laws they are passing. But the constitution that Our country Fathers fought and gave all they had to give for the freedom and truth. Now there are nothing but lies coming from Washington. The man in the white house is a muslim and he wants this country destroyed and so does the demon crats that is in the governmemt. One day and soon the Lord is coming and every knee will bow to their maker and judge. They will believe or they will go to hell. Then all these vile men that believe in other gods will die. But they will not really die. Just go to sleep in this life and find themselves in hell when they know again Pray People Pray you will find grace with the Lord. Praying for the world but waiting to go to heaven.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →