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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



  • 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.

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