Kerry’s cowardly apology on ‘apartheid’ is giant blunder for Israel’s propagandists

Israel/Palestine
Kerry and Netanyahu, State Department photo

Kerry and Netanyahu, State Department photo

As you know by now, Secretary of State John Kerry has had to apologize for using the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s future without a two-state solution. His cowardly and self-abasing statement, “On Support for Israel,” is below.

For our part, we say this is a great moment. The need by the pro-Israel crowd to get out the big guns just to knock one little word out of the sky is a demonstration if Americans ever needed one of how Orwellian the discourse of the conflict is as the farce of another round of negotiations draws to an end with no fulfillment of the world’s 67-year-old promise to Palestinians that they can have a state.

Now when many Americans are trying to imagine the one-state reality of Israel and Palestine with equal rights for those who have no rights, Kerry’s misstep just exposes the grip of the reactionary Israel lobby over any thoughtful discussion of the question. The craven absurdity of Kerry’s apology — “if I could rewind the tape” — brings the day closer when our news broadcasts and political analysts will have to look at a system in which one group of people has full political rights right alongside 4-5 million people of a different ethnicity who have no rights at all, and question whether the United States can be an honest broker of this conflict or has to always stand as Israel’s lawyer.

We don’t use the term apartheid lightly. For us it’s not an epithet but an accurate description of a situation of separate laws for different ethnic groups. One of us has years of first hand experience inside apartheid South Africa. The other has visited the West Bank and East Jerusalem often, observing a system in which Jews have the right to build homes as Palestinian homes are demolished, where settlers drive on roads from which Palestinians are barred, where Jewish settlers draw water freely while Palestinians see their wells and irrigation hoses destroyed, and the Israeli army stands by.

Our site has people on the ground who will continue to document the realities of Israeli apartheid. And Americans are waking up to those realities. As AP’s Matt Lee said today:

Street also says that Kerry is not alone:

Former [Israeli] Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have used the “apartheid” term as well to describe this possible future.

Yes how long can international figures warn about apartheid while the American political establishment has to blind its eyes? We think getting Kerry to eat his words is a major blunder for Israel and its friends. They should have just let this one die. But the cowardly suppression will only foster more angry discussion. And soon we will see major changes in personnel and philosophy at Hasbara Central, the Israeli propaganda apparatus.

Oh, and commenters pointed this out, a shocking tweet from California Senator Barbara Boxer, taking Kerry on.

It really dares people to ask what the emperor is wearing.

Kerry’s statement, “On Support for Israel”:

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.

The dialogue at yesterday’s State Department briefing:

There are reports that came out this weekend that in a closed-door meeting, the Secretary said that Israel was at risk of becoming, quote, “an apartheid state” if there was not a two-state solution. This has led to a great deal of criticism. The head of the Anti-Defamation League, for instance, released a statement saying that it was undiplomatic, unwise, and unfair of him to say these things. Can you first confirm that the Secretary made those comments? And two, what’s your reaction to the criticism?

MS. Jen PSAKI: Well, let me first say, obviously, I’m not going to confirm the accuracy of comments made during a private meeting. But the Secretary does not believe and did not state publicly or privately that Israel is an apartheid state, and there’s an important difference there. Israel is obviously a vibrant democracy with equal rights for all of its citizens.

Oh and here is Mr. Peace Process, Aaron David Miller, stepping into the role he once disparaged in others, Israel’s lawyer. From the Times:

But Aaron David Miller, a former American peace negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said that Mr. Kerry’s comment had drawn him into an “unproductive fight with a close ally.”

“Baker and Kissinger used tough language when they thought they would not only be able to make a point, but would be able to make a difference,” Mr. Miller said of James A. Baker III and Henry A. Kissinger, both former secretaries of state. “But Kerry’s closed-door comment was ill timed, ill advised and unwise.”

65 Responses

  1. Taxi
    April 29, 2014, 11:28 am

    They might be able to silence the fat cats on Capitol Hill, but they can’t silence the internet. The zionist regime has ALWAYS been an Apartheid regime; IS an Apartheid regime; and will continue to be an Apartheid regime till it is dismantled the same way the Apartheid regime in South Africa was successfully dismantled.

    • Kay24
      April 29, 2014, 11:55 am

      You are right, John Kerry showing regret (not apologizing) for using a word the entire world knows describes Israel’s policies, will not stop the rest of the world using it in appropriate ways. Israel is a brutal occupier, a land grabber, breaking international laws, and inflicts suffering on helpless occupied people, who were there before the UN placed the aggressor in their territories. Now we can add apartheid nation to the long list of negatives too.

  2. Chu
    April 29, 2014, 11:43 am

    It’s a good thing he said it, even if retracted. A Secretary of State saying this (although retracting it) is big news.

    Also Barbara Boxer’s comment shows she is living in a bubble -Late Monday, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., added a bipartisan note to the Kerry criticism, tweeting, “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and any linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous.”

    • Kay24
      April 29, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Once again Boxer, who shamelessly pushed for Israelis to enter the US with special visas, which was even frowned on by our State Department, shows her undying loyalty and meaningless devotion to Israel, by not only going against her own President and administration, but claiming that the only occupying military power for decades, that is under her arrogant nose been stealing land, demolishing homes, and stealing resources from the victims of the occupation, is “democratic”.
      AIPAC must have her in the palm of their hands.

    • Pixel
      April 29, 2014, 5:05 pm

      “A Secretary of State saying this (although retracting it) is big news.”

      It’s also doublethe news – if not more.

      Anything linking the words “Israel” and “apartheid” plants the idea, the connection in people’s minds.

      The reaction has been/ will be more powerful, in that regard, than Kerry’s initial statement.

      (I think Kerry knew exactly what he was saying, what the reaction would be, and the “power of the press” in re: his “apology”.)

  3. eljay
    April 29, 2014, 11:59 am

    >> MS. Jen PSAKI: Israel is obviously a vibrant democracy with equal rights for all of its citizens.

    Except that, obviously, it’s actually a supremacist “Jewish State” with special rights for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

    • yonah fredman
      April 30, 2014, 1:21 am

      eljay- NonIsraeli Jews may have an easy time becoming Israeli Jews once they apply for citizenship and once they become Israeli Jews they will have more rights than nonJewish Israelis, but what rights do nonIsraeli Jews have that nonJewish Israelis do not have. (De facto, I accept that racial profiling gives the advantage to the nonIsraeli Jews, and I suppose the JNF is still recognized to some extent as having special rights in Israel and the JNF represents the Jewish people rather than the Israeli people. if these are what you are referring to, then I will cease and desist. If there is something else you are referring to please specify.)

      • Shmuel
        April 30, 2014, 1:55 am

        Yonah,

        Israel’s policies of “Judaisation”, particularly in the Negev and Galilee (not to mention East Jerusalem and the West Bank), offer options and benefits to Jewish non-citizens that are not available to non-Jewish citizens. The Prawer Plan is a glaring example of the discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens in favour of all Jews — both citizens and non-citizens — as it is combined with aliyah recruitment efforts (see e.g. Nefesh B’Nnefesh’s “Go South” campaign).

        More generally, whether Abbas recognises Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people” or not, Israel’s primary frame of reference is the Jewish “ethnos” rather than the undifferentiated “demos”, leading to the favouring of Jewish non-citizens over non-Jewish citizens in many areas of law and policy. Much of this discrimination is couched in ostensibly non-discriminatory technicalities, but the end result is quite clear.

        BTW, there is a category in Israeli law of those “entitled to citizenship according to the Law of Return”, who are treated as citizens (e.g. in the purchase of ILA properties). This does not necessarily give greater rights to Jewish non-citizens, but the very fact that some non-citizens (members of the charter ethnic group) are given some of the rights of citizens is an affront to Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, particularly when many of their relatives (even those actually born in Palestine or Israel, or spouses not entitled to family reunification) are denied such rights.

      • tree
        April 30, 2014, 5:31 am

        From IMEU, 2011:

        Institutionalized discrimination

        There are more than 30 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel. directly or indirectly, based solely on their ethnicity, rendering them second or third class citizens in their own homeland.

        93% of the land in Israel is owned either by the state or by quasi-governmental agencies, such as the Jewish National Fund, that discriminate against non-Jews. Palestinian citizens of Israel face significant legal obstacles in gaining access to this land for agriculture, residence, or commercial development.

        More than seventy Palestinian villages and communities in Israel, some of which pre-date the establishment of the state, are unrecognized by the government, receive no services, and are not even listed on official maps. Many other towns with a majority Palestinian population lack basic services and receive significantly less government funding than do majority-Jewish towns.

        Since Israel’s founding in 1948, more than 600 Jewish municipalities have been established, while not a single new Arab town or community has been recognized by the state.

        Israeli government resources are disproportionately directed to Jews and not to Arabs, one factor in causing the Palestinians of Israel to suffer the lowest living standards in Israeli society by all socio-economic indicators.

        Government funding for Arab schools is far below that of Jewish schools. According to data published in 2004, the government provides three times as much funding to Jewish students than it does to Arab students.

        According to the 2009 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report, “Many of the national and municipal policies in Jerusalem were designed to limit or diminish the non-Jewish population of Jerusalem.”

        In the Spring of 2011, Jerusalem city councilman Yakir Segev stated: “We will not allow residents of the eastern [occupied Palestinian] part of the city to build as much as they need… At the end of the day, however politically incorrect it may be to say, we will also look at the demographic situation in Jerusalem to make sure that in another 20 years we don’t wake up in an Arab city.”

        The Nationality and Entry into Israel Law prevents Palestinians from the occupied territories who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel from gaining residency or citizenship status. The law forces thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to either leave Israel or live apart from their families.

        In October 2010, the Knesset approved a bill allowing smaller Israeli towns to reject residents who do not suit “the community’s fundamental outlook”, based on sex, religion, and socioeconomic status. Critics slammed the move as an attempt to allow Jewish towns to keep Arabs and other non-Jews out.

        The so-called “Nakba Bill” bans state funding for groups that commemorate the tragedy that befell Palestinians during Israel’s creation in 1948, when approx. 750,000 Palestinian Arabs were ethnically cleansed to make way for a Jewish majority state.

        The British Mandate-era Land (Acquisition for Public Purposes) Ordinance law allows the Finance Minster to confiscate land for “public purposes.” The state has used this law extensively, in conjunction with other laws such as the Land Acquisition Law and the Absentees’ Property Law, to confiscate Palestinian land in Israel. A new amendment, which was adopted in February 2010, confirms state ownership of land confiscated under this law, even where it has not been used to serve the original confiscation purpose. The amendment was designed to prevent Arab citizens from submitting lawsuits to reclaim confiscated land.

        link to imeu.net

        From Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel:

        There are more than 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the 1967 OPT and Palestinian refugees.

        Adalah’s database of discriminatory laws in Israel:

        link to adalah.org

        And their Inequality Report, published in 2011:

        link to adalah.org

      • eljay
        April 30, 2014, 7:46 am

        >> eljay- NonIsraeli Jews may have an easy time becoming Israeli Jews once they apply for citizenship and once they become Israeli Jews they will have more rights than nonJewish Israelis, but what rights do nonIsraeli Jews have that nonJewish Israelis do not have.

        Your comment answers your question.

  4. Qualtrough
    April 29, 2014, 12:01 pm

    Was this a surprise to anyone??

  5. American
    April 29, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Who didnt expect Kerry to apologize the next day?
    The day after apology is standard operating procedure.
    You wonder if its all by design—-put it out there and then take it back, put it out there and then take it back….
    Its like the NYT trick of ‘corrections” and ‘withdrawls’ of something they’ ve already published.

    • ritzl
      April 29, 2014, 1:06 pm

      Agree, American. And whether Kerry’s “mistake” was intentional or not, this is a generic trap for Zionist strong-arm political power in the US. They can’t police political utterances 100% effectively, and they can’t force the retraction without shining the spotlight on the strings instead of the dancing puppet. Especially if that retraction is of something that is just basic common knowledge/sense.

      “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

  6. Amar
    April 29, 2014, 12:27 pm

    JK – OK, I’ll fellate the donkey.

  7. pabelmont
    April 29, 2014, 12:29 pm

    The big boyz have spoken: ““But Kerry’s closed-door comment was ill timed, ill advised and unwise.”” Not untrue.

    But it was untrue — the OPT is already an apartheid state (if it is a separate state) and Israel is an apartheid state if OPT are part of Israel (as Israel manifestly treats it).

    As to Barbara Boxer, she is not at all living in a reality-bubble. She is living in the political world. What has reality got to do with politics?

  8. Sycamores
    April 29, 2014, 12:46 pm

    Aaron David Miller is right in part by comparing John Kerry’s ‘tough language’ with Baker and kissenger used of it in the past.

    Kerry is pro-Israel no delusions there. he knows the days are number for Israel, he’s doing his best to make Israel and its backers see it too. dropping words like BDS and apartheid are part of his ‘tough language’.

    Kerry’s apology sums up his stance:

    In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves

    he has no problem with putting democratic and Jewish state together.

    someone should ask him how can a state be democratic and ethnocratic at the same time?

    They should have just let this one die.

    depends if there is any serious backlash otherwise it only a bump on the road.

  9. Donald
    April 29, 2014, 12:52 pm

    The cowardice was not unexpected.

    Notice the NYT wrote about this only after Kerry apologized. I wonder if they expected it. There is also the usual lack of Palestinian opinion in a NYT story about whether Israel practices apartheid. That’s a form of apartheid in reporting–only some opinions count.

    As for vibrant democracy, sure, why not? They’ve democratically chosen to practice apartheid.

    • Kay24
      April 29, 2014, 1:40 pm

      I agree. It would be nice and refreshing to find out from the victims of Israel’s apartheid policies, whether or not they think they are under apartheid policies.
      In the US zionist media, it is ALL one sided reporting, perspective, and narrative.

  10. GJB
    April 29, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Hey, at least they didn’t make him apologize in person to Sheldon Adelson (yet)!

  11. Feathers
    April 29, 2014, 12:54 pm

    “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 . . . fight.

    –John Kerry, April 28, 2014

    “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die [fighting] for a mistake?”

    – – John Kerry, April 22, 1971

    John Kerry.
    Willing to Fight for Israel, but not for the United States.

    • lysias
      April 29, 2014, 2:16 pm

      A combat veteran like Kerry should understand the difference between fighting and voting for a bill.

  12. John Douglas
    April 29, 2014, 1:07 pm

    I’m no big fan of my former senator, John Kerry and can never forgive Kerry for allowing the deserter GW to best him, a decorated soldier, in the patriot/manhood rigmarole. But I do not think that he has retracted what he recently said, only the use of the A-word in saying it. He said that a failure of the two-state solution risked leading to an apartheid state and affirmed what Olmert, also an A-word user, had said as PM. Kerry denied saying that Israel is an apartheid state and in fact he, like Jimmy Carter, did not say that. So after his pandering, his statement remains.

    He’s still not off my hook, however, as result of his assertion that Israelis deserve a Jewish state, which can mean nothing other than deserving a state that discriminates on the basis of religion and/or ethnicity. No one can deserve such a thing.

    • RoHa
      April 29, 2014, 9:02 pm

      Kerry fought in Vietnam. North Vietnamese forces took over all Vietnam.
      GWB (Air National Guard) defended Texas and Alabama. North Vietnamese forces did not take over Texas and Alabama.
      Doesn’t this show that GWB was a more effective military man than Kerry?

      And if that argument doesn’t convince you, think of those Iraq war pictures of GWB in his flying suit. Can’t argue with those.

    • RoHa
      April 29, 2014, 9:03 pm

      “his assertion that Israelis deserve a Jewish state, which can mean nothing other than deserving a state that discriminates on the basis of religion and/or ethnicity. No one can deserve such a thing.”

      I’d love to someone, somewhere, spell out a detailed argument to support this idea that some group can “deserve” a state.

  13. Justpassingby
    April 29, 2014, 1:24 pm

    Philip you are wrong, he didnt deny saying it, he denied that israel TODAY was an apartheidstate. MSM got it wrong.

    • lysias
      April 29, 2014, 2:58 pm

      Kerry also denied that Israel intends to become an apartheid state.

  14. Rusty Pipes
    April 29, 2014, 2:30 pm

    The American flags in that photo are hideous. The blue is the wrong shade (matching the Israeli flag) and flags are too shiny. They look like party decorations rather than official flags.

    • Sumud
      April 29, 2014, 4:56 pm

      The photographer has bounced their flash off the ceiling and the brightness has been picked up by the flag material making the colour look lighter than it is – look on the left edge of both flags for the deeper colour. Agree the material is too shiny though.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 29, 2014, 5:25 pm

        They didn’t bounce their flash off the ceiling (you can tell by Kerry’s shadow below his face on the wall.) But it was the flash on the too-shiny material that washed out the color.

      • Sumud
        April 29, 2014, 11:46 pm

        I didn’t see the shadow Woody, there is direct flash there for sure.

        Maybe both? Kerry’s shadow is lighter that single flash normally gives and if you look at the shadows on Kerry’s suit (the left arm) and both their shoulders – looks like an overhead light source.

        I have a Metz flashgun with two flashes (one fixed and one can be directed) or fully automatic multi-flash is super easy with any camera a pro would be using.

  15. Kathleen
    April 29, 2014, 2:45 pm

    While Mondoweiss is an incredible site and has added a great deal to the public debate about the “apartheid” state of Israel it does not take this site and the MW team or “your” people on the ground to validate the facts that clearly demonstrate that apartheid policies are embedded in Israeli laws and have been acted upon every day and for many decades. Many brave human rights activist and historians have been writing and testifying about these horrendous human rights abuses in very serious ways for many decades. MW following this up with added witnessing.

    I don’t think Kerry’s use of the accurate term “apartheid” for what Israel has been involved in was a mistake at all. I think he knew exactly what he was doing.

    This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show the topic was brought up. Joe had his nose up the I lobbies ass so far you could not make out his face. He jumped all over Kerry’s statement about “apartheid” Mika not at all. In fact her facial expressions told it all (you can better believe she hears the flat out facts from her father Zbigniew). Although of course she held her tongue but her face said “Kerry was right on” There was a discourse between Haldemann and Scarborough with Haldemann playing it safe but going much more of a distance than anyone else by saying “it was not unreasonable” for Kerry to say that this is the direction that Israel is headed. Mike Barnacle silent.

    link to msnbc.com

    Watched MSNBC from 5-9 last evening. Not a peep out of Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ari Melber in for Lawrence, Chris Hayes. Not a peep.

    These people are keeping the wall of silence in place for Israel. Can you imagine the outrage if they were willing to protect human rights abuses in this country in place? Human rights abuses in other countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt…oh right they do do this. Along with protecting Israel who is first in line for U.S. foreign aid

    • oneof5
      April 30, 2014, 4:53 am

      Kath,

      This past evening Matthews had Jeremy Ben Ami from J-Street on and Chris Hayes had Josh Block from TIP on …

      Matthews treated the matter of “Israeli apartheid” as a sort of a matter-of-fact deal: “everyone has known for XX years that this is where it’s headed … unless … peace” … pretty lame on his part … Jeremy got in some good licks about the right-wing in Israel being fundamentally against a Palestinian state.

      Hayes grilled Block … and Block looked like a total ‘bot … completely pathetic …

      Hopefully Block will get lots more air time …

      I think James and Phil are correct … this was a massive blunder on the part of the ‘bots … the topic has been broached … and the cow has now left the barn … and it ain’t comin’ back … ever …

      • Kathleen
        April 30, 2014, 2:34 pm

        Block rolled over Hayes. …Agree that “the cow has left the barn” quite awhile back

        Carter’s book, Mearsheimer and Walt…the debate has been squeezed through into the MSM ….long time coming

      • oneof5
        April 30, 2014, 9:28 pm

        “Block rolled over Hayes …”

        I wouldn’t disagree that Hayes failed to fully hold Block’s feet to the fire and that Block was really just evasive/non-responsive …

        I think part of that was due to the show’s format and the limited time available.

        The problem for Block (and Israel), is that Block came off looking like a complete weasel by doing it.

        “… the debate has been squeezed through into the MSM … long time coming”

        Yes, it has (on both counts) … but it’s here now … and it ain’t gonna go away.

      • Citizen
        May 1, 2014, 6:48 am

        @ Kathleen
        Block didn’t entirely roll over Hayes. For example, when Block said Bibi gave up more land than any other Israeli PM, Hayes responded: “And Israel keeps expanding settlements” or words to that effect. Block then just shrugged. I think Hayes did what he could, considering who his boss is, and how much time he had for that segment.

        He pushes the envelope more than Matthews. Maddow won’t even touch the subject.

  16. ckg
    April 29, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Glenn Greenwald, in a tweet today, likens Kerry’s situation to this Onion article: link to theonion.com

    • Kathleen
      April 29, 2014, 3:39 pm

      Funny, sad and in so many ways true. I lobby can take people down. But not like days gone by. I believe Kerry knew what he was doing

      • American
        April 30, 2014, 2:06 pm

        Kathleen says:

        I believe Kerry knew what he was doing””

        Agree. He knew the apartheid word would generate some outrage and chatter…that might make it into the msms.
        Unfortunately doesn’t mean he’s any less Israel’s lawyer.
        He’s just twisting his client’s arm to get him to accept a very generous plea bargin settlement.

  17. Kathleen
    April 29, 2014, 3:37 pm

    link to washingtonpost.com
    “Like others before it, this controversy played out according to a familiar script: 1) Official says something uncomfortable but true about Israel; 2) The Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) condemn the statement, pretending to be shocked and appalled that anyone could ever criticize Israel; 3) Democratic and Republican senators rush to condemn the statement as well, with the Republican response a little more intense, and a little more stupid; 4) Official issues an apology, pledging not to criticize Israel so sharply in the future.”

  18. Empiricon
    April 29, 2014, 3:49 pm

    See replies to Boxer’s tweet. Getting torched.

    • ritzl
      April 29, 2014, 4:12 pm

      Cool, cool, cool. Thanks.

    • Kathleen
      April 29, 2014, 6:54 pm

      Wonderful. The so called liberal Dems who have had a firewall around the truth about the conflict for a very long time. Boxer being one of them

  19. Henry Norr
    April 29, 2014, 4:08 pm

    Years ago I used to question the applicability of the concept of apartheid, on the grounds that the specifics of the situation in Palestine were so different from those of old South Africa. (I argued that the treatment of native Americans made a better analogy.) But then I read the law – specifically, the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    According to Article 7, Paragraph 2, Part (h) of the latter,

    “The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.

    The acts listed in Paragraph 1 of that article include murder, “deportation or forcible transfer of population,” “imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law,” torture, and especially “persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law….”

    It’s barrels of fun to watch Zionists try to weasel out from under that definition. Wish I could pose that problem to Barbara Boxer…

    —————

    To the list of deniers you can add Chemi Shalev, “liberal” columnist at Haaretz, but he at least acknowledges in today’s column that “the apartheid label hangs over Israel’s head like Damocles sword, a threat that grows with every day that the occupation perseveres. “ And he notes that “Even if one rejects the comparisons, there is biblical justice in Israel paying for its sinful support for the South African apartheid regime.”

  20. Kathleen
    April 29, 2014, 4:09 pm
  21. American
    April 29, 2014, 4:17 pm

    Fighting over labels like apartheid is a waste of time.
    Do this:
    Take the Jews, the bible and the holocaust right to Israel out of the issue.
    Call the Jews or Israel group ‘A”.
    Call the Palestines group “B”.
    And present what group A and B have done since 1948 to any court or impartial arbitration board.
    Group A would lose their case based on all the facts and especially the ‘pattern’ of Israel.
    And that is how it should be judged…..on nothing but commonly accepted right and wrong and legal and illegal.

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2014, 9:31 pm

      @ American
      And then take all anthropomorphism out of the bible.

  22. brenda
    April 29, 2014, 4:45 pm

    “…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.”

    well, he did manage to get in a kicker at the end. Take home message as it were…

  23. Sumud
    April 29, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Kerry should have said he was only quoting Ben Gurion from 1967:

    According to Hirsh Goodman, David Ben-Gurion said on Israeli radio after the 1967 Arab–Israeli War that Israel would become an apartheid state if it did not rid itself of the Palestinian territories and their Arab population as soon as possible.

  24. Citizen
    April 29, 2014, 9:34 pm

    And, hey MJ Rosenberg is still alive. Here’s his latest, on the hooking up of PA and HAMAS: link to us4.campaign-archive2.com

    No selfies of him and his kids.

  25. HPH
    April 30, 2014, 12:46 am

    I think the word “cowardly” in the title is much too strong. Perhaps a variety of negative words could be used to describe something done by Sec. Kerry, a politician who may have drifted far from his youthful ideals, but I think “cowardly” is never an appropriate word to describe him or something he thinks or does.

    I think Sec. Kerry has been routinely using the word “apartheid” to describe the possible situation or perhaps even the present situation. When he saw the over-reaction, which he probably wanted and expected, he made the apology. Making such apologies is part of his job as a diplomat. However, his statement is not much of an apology, and it restates his main points.

    I agree with the essence of the article: The focus on the word “apartheid” is a giant blunder.

  26. yonah fredman
    April 30, 2014, 1:33 am

    Here’s a quote from the post: “one group of people has full political rights right alongside 4-5 million people of a different ethnicity who have no rights at all,” I would say that it is accurate to say that the residents of the West Bank have no rights at all. (Jerusalem’s Palestinian population has some more rights than their West Bank brethren, but let us not quibble for the moment and include them in those that have no rights at all.) Gaza’s Palestinian population is in a separate category. Their territory is under siege and the deprivations of such a siege are of a separate category as well. But such a deprivation might qualify as having no rights at all, so I will not quibble regarding the Gazan Palestinians. Do those add up to 4 to 5 million? The numbers that I have add those up to 3 and a half million Palestinians. How do we arrive at 4 to 5 million. It would seem that James North and Phil Weiss are including Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. Though there are different laws that mark Israel as dealing with its citizens differently based upon ethnicity and certainly different treatment by the police, is it accurate to say that they have no rights at all? This is a lie, or an exaggeration, or propaganda. Choose one.

    But then again your math regarding the population of the West Bank and Gaza might be different and you might not be referring to Palestinian Israelis at all. Let me know.

    • tree
      April 30, 2014, 4:54 am

      Jerusalem Post, citing the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, puts the population of West Bank and Gaza at 4.5 million in 2013:

      link to jpost.com

  27. anthonybellchambers
    April 30, 2014, 4:49 am

    ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.’

    Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

    Never was a quotation more apt! The old Zionist guard of Binyamin Netanyahu and the pricetag terrorists destroying olive groves and razing Palestinian homes on the West Bank have now lost the final opportunity to stop the state of Israel becoming a dark place of inhumanity where the victim has transmogrified into the perpetrator.

    The UN, the EU, the ICJ and the US have all condemned the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories and have implored Israel to sue for peace. But the killings and the blockades continue apparently ad infinitum. But the world has changed. Public opinion is increasingly outraged at the contempt shown by Netanyahu for international law and the Geneva Conventions. The time is drawing close when Israel will be economically and politically isolated within the community of nations unless it alters course very quickly. Time is running out. Colonisation and occupation are no longer acceptable. Nor are blockades, imprisonment and the infliction of human suffering in order to achieve a political objective that is anathema to most thinking people.

  28. Citizen
    April 30, 2014, 5:16 am

    Fox News, The Five–spent about 15 minutes on Kerry’s apartheid speech. Greg Gutman, the little sarcastic cynical guy who anchors the table talk, seconded Boxer’s POV. Krauthammer’s too. One of the ladies at the table said she has relatives living in Israel & she’s been there many times. All agreed Obama should ask for Kerry’s resignation. They agreed Arabs living in Israel had it better than Arabs living in the rest of the Middle East. They agreed Palestinians are less diverse than Jewish Israelis.
    Zero mention of the OT or Gaza. Zero mention of the 50 plus Israeli laws that effectively discriminate against non-Jews.

  29. German Lefty
    April 30, 2014, 7:50 am

    “All In with Chris Hayes” about Kerry’s “apartheid” remarks:
    link to msnbc.com
    link to msnbc.com

  30. Citizen
    April 30, 2014, 8:13 am

    Thanks, GL

    Block: “Netanyahu has turned over more land to the Palestinians than any former Israeli PM.”

    Hayes: “And the settlements continue to grow.”

    Block shrugs.

    Hayes also pointed that in the WB Jews live under civilian law while Palestinian live under military law.

    On the first link, Pelosi takes the undiluted hasbara cake. What a piece of work she is.

    On Fox New shows, it’s pure hasbara, all the time. Krauthammer calls for Kerry’s resignation.

  31. American
    April 30, 2014, 10:32 am

    OT but heads up…….Egypt’s Sisi has another 682 Muslim Brothers sentenced to death…..and the US sends him more Apache attack helicopters. Leahy steps up against it but I doubt its going to much impact on the US’ policy.

    Sen. Patrick Leahy blocks Egyptian military aid over ‘appalling abuse of the justice system’

    By Reuters
    Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12:26 EDT

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said on Tuesday he will not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military, denouncing a “sham trial” in which a court sentenced 683 people to death.

    “I’m not prepared to sign off on the delivery of additional aid for the Egyptian military,” the Vermont Democrat said in a speech on the Senate floor, explaining why he would hold up the $650 million.

    “I’m not prepared to do that until we see convincing evidence the government is committed to the rule of law,” Leahy said.

    The Obama administration said last week it would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters and $650 million to Egypt’s military, relaxing a partial suspension of aid imposed after Egypt’s military ousted President Mohamed Mursi last year and cracked down violently on protesters.

    Leahy said he would block the money a day after an Egyptian court sentenced the leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters to death, intensifying a crackdown on the Islamist movement that could trigger protests and political violence ahead of an election next month.

    The Apaches are not subject to congressional approval.

    Leahy said he would be watching the situation in Egypt with “growing dismay” even if he were not chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, denouncing “a sham trial lasting barely an hour.”

    “It’s a flaunting of human rights by the Egyptian government. It’s an appalling abuse of the justice system, which is fundamental to any democracy. Nobody, nobody, can justify this. It does not show democracy. It shows a dictatorship run amok. It is a total violation of human rights,” Leahy said”

    BURN THE POWERS TO THE GROUND AND START OVER

  32. Fact: Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East! This might be a news flash for the usual Israel basher’s, but frankly these basher’s are really nothing but nuisance. Let’s just ignore them and concentrate on more important things.

    This is not the first time john kerry made his blunder’s, he seems to be good at it, luckily he isn’t the President. Time for him to be replaced or release him from his misery, this is urgent before he makes other more dangerous blunders and his role in the Ukrainian people’s uprising has been really ‘traumatising’ since the Ukrainian people’s uprising against their corrupt oligarchy to say the least, if not catastrophic, if i would know better i believe he wants really join his comrade-in-arm and other ‘dissidents’ in the Kremlin, he is worn out and can’t take the pressure any more!

    Message: Please let him Go, it wouldn’t be a terrible loss to our democratic world,but definitely to our advantage. We need someone with great Intellect and smarts as Secretary of State to deal with the very corrupt oligarchic regime.Moscau. I believe there is already an excellent candidate in the close vicinity! Can anyone guess, who?

    • LeaNder
      April 30, 2014, 12:44 pm

      We are powerful, let’s gather! Attached my email. ;)

      Welcome, Michail:

      I am currently working in marketing and merchandising for a great American company, I am Canadian and believe in justice, peace, democracy, human rights, equality between all sexes, I believe as well in gay marriages, and I am a believer in evolution. I am a believer and follower of Americas New Left!

      Great statement of faith. In other words you believe in equality except for Palestinians?

      Concerning this:

      if i would know better i believe he wants really join his comrade-in-arm and other ‘dissidents’ in the Kremlin, he is worn out and can’t take the pressure any more!

      I was pleased to notice yesterday that our comedians (strictly Kabarettisten, but’s that’s untranslatable, political satirists?) are questioning the wisdom of our media as far as the new cold war devil Putin is concerned.

      The EU with its economical and NATO expansion desires could have known, you know.

    • LeaNder
      April 30, 2014, 12:54 pm

      seems I forgot to ask this:

      and I am a believer in evolution

      More of the ethical, or of the Darwinist type and its misuses outside biology?

    • Taxi
      April 30, 2014, 1:11 pm

      Hey mic,

      Dude you’re all over the place: jumping from Apartheid israel to the Ukraine in 0.3 seconds – bashing the messenger instead of addressing the message – typical, comical 101 ziobot tactics. Fortunately for the world, your ‘opinion’ is inconsequential.

      “Fact: Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East!”

      So how come they’re having presidential elections in Lebanon right now? How come the unified Palestinians are having an election in five weeks time? How come Syria is having presidential elections in June? How come Egypt is preparing for presidential elections this year? Helllllllow Tunis!!

      And do you really think that democratic countries should be excused their war crimes just because they’re a democracy?

      And did you know that Lebanon has been a democracy since 1943? Some five years before the Nakba and the forced establishment of the zionist state of isreal. So you see, not only is Lebanon a democracy, but it is in “fact” the oldest democracy in the middle east.

      And this “democracy” of israel’s, where is its constitution? Where are its borders? How come it’s taken decades and they still have neither constitution nor defined borders? Israel seems to have plenty of time to ethnically cleanse and land-grab but apparently no time at all to write itself a constitution. What a joke and what an utter lie to call israel “the only Democracy in the Middle East”.

      I know I won’t be getting any answers from you to my questions so I’ll sign off with this:
      israel is an immoral Apartheid state. Plenty of evidence and experts agree on this, plus most of the world (outside of usa and israel) agree with this definition already.

    • RoHa
      April 30, 2014, 7:23 pm

      If you really are a Canadian, you are no credit to the Canadian education system.

      “Working in marketing”

      I hope you do not have anything to do with writing the copy.

      “Basher’s” should be “bashers”.
      “Blunder’s” should be “blunders”.

      link to angryflower.com

      Kerry’s name needs capitals, and “i” should be a capital as well. Your post is full of run-on sentences and comma splices. Your “if I would know better” is totally baffling. Do you mean “if I knew better”, “if I didn’t know better”, or ” if I had more definite information”? And you spell “Moscow” in the German manner.

      How do you expect to be taken seriously when you seem to have failed elementary school?

    • oneof5
      April 30, 2014, 9:37 pm

      “We need someone with great Intellect and smarts as Secretary of State to deal with the very corrupt oligarchic regime.Moscau. I believe there is already an excellent candidate in the close vicinity! Can anyone guess, who?”

      Given the rest of your comments I’ll hazard a guess:

      Ahhh … John Bolton ?

  33. eljay
    April 30, 2014, 1:37 pm

    >> [email protected] (profile): I am Canadian and believe in justice, peace, democracy, human rights …

    >> [email protected] on April 30, 2014 at 11:49 am: Fact: Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East!

    Fact: “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.”

    Slogans are great, but they don’t alter reality. The reality is that Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state. It’s time to put that belief in justice, peace, democracy and human rights to work.

  34. PilgrimSoul
    April 30, 2014, 3:11 pm

    I’m surprised that MW, which has witnessed this so many times, would not know or understand the “two-step” as performed by John Kerry. You float the semantic trial balloon, you wait for ‘the Lobby’ to go crazy, you make an apology or non-apology, all the while attempting to continue the debate and hopefully creating space for your initiative. Kerry knew what he was doing. He no doubt wrote the non-apology before launching the trial balloon. MW is right that it is a victory for human rights, however–every time the Israel Lobby goes off, it’s like a flash of lighting exposing the real distribution of power in the American panorama.

    Please note also the skill with which the non-apology was framed. Kerry specifically said that Israel wasn’t an Apartheid state, and that it didn’t want to become one, but that it might become one anyway. That’s about as far as any American official can go at present, and Kerry did well to take it that far. In the meantime, we all need to support BDS, because under the Likudniks Israel will never give the Palestinians a state, never, until their own state is threatened. Real change will happen because of popular pressure around the world, led by Palestinian civil society and to some extent executed by Europeans who now have Netanyahu’s number.

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