Once Again, John Kerry Legitimizes Islamist Terrorism
The by-now infamous statement of Secretary of State John Kerry — that the Islamist massacre of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editors in Paris “had a certain legitimacy” or at least “a rationale” compared to the November 13 attacks in Paris — is by no means the first time State Department officials have tried to rationalize Muslim terror.
This mindset goes back to the days of the Clinton administration. On June 22, 1997, The Jerusalem Post reported that “a senior US official” called recent Arab violence against Jews in Hebron “a plausible safety valve” that “lets the Palestinians vent their anger.” And on August 26 of that year, the Israeli news service Arutz 7 reported that unnamed advisers to President Bill Clinton had recommended to him “that he allow what [they called] the ‘explosive’ situation between Israel and the Palestinians to deteriorate to a violent clash [because] this will convince the sides of the need to renew negotiations.”
This theme continued to crop up during President Clinton’s second term. On January 14, 1999, The Jerusalem Post quoted “a senior US administration official” saying that there may be “riots in the territories” if Israel did not make more concessions, and “it may be unreasonable to expect that Palestinians at the grassroots level will remain quiet.”
Some senior US officials did not even bother to hide behind the mask of being an “anonymous source.” National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, for example, publicly justified Palestinian violence in a speech he gave at Tel Aviv University on May 21, 2000. He said Palestinian violence against Israel was not just a curse, but also “a blessing,” because “the tragedy that awaits in the event of inaction also constitutes the greatest incentive for immediate action” in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Two months later, Berger reiterated his point in a July 31 conference call with member-organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization: “Either there will be an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or there will be a conflict…If there is no agreement, we may be sadder and bloodier, but then maybe they’ll be prepared to make a deal.”
This attitude has reappeared with a vengeance in the Obama administration. An unnamed “senior US official” told Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea of Yediot Aharonot‘s Ynet web site on May 2, 2014: “The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end – whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.”
The Israeli daily Haaretz subsequently reported on May 5, 2014, that the Israeli government believed Martin Indyk, the Obama administration’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, was the anonymous official. Indyk never issued any denial.
The State Department crowd fervently believes that if Israel fails to make sufficient concessions, the Palestinians understandably respond with violence. Thus the violence is Israel’s fault. The victim is to blame. Secretary Kerry’s remark that the there was “a certain legitimacy, or rationale” for the Charlie Hebdo massacre — because the magazine had published cartoons of the Muslim prophet — is cut from the same cloth.
Providing even the slightest justification for any kind of Islamist terror — whether it is directed at the Israelis, the French or anyone else — is unacceptable. Secretary Kerry is already attempting to back-pedal his ill-considered remarks. But the morally warped mindset of this administration will remain.
Mr. Korn, chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists, is former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune.