In a world characterized by the ubiquity of rapid mass communication the apparent degree of coordination among members of the American Zionist leadership shouldn’t be very impressive. Yet, it is impressive. And it also indicates something about those leaders’ perspective on strategy.
John Kerry’s decision to identify apartheid for what it is – the qualifier, “could be,” is just so much ornamentation – is commendable. And it’s already drawn bilious condemnations from the ADL, AIPAC, Congress and other Zionist strongholds in America.
The condemnations read:
ADL: “It is startling and deeply disappointing that a diplomat so knowledgeable and experienced about democratic Israel chose to use such an inaccurate and incendiary term.”
AIPAC: ‘”Any suggestion that Israel is, or is at risk of becoming, an apartheid state is offensive and inappropriate. The Jewish state is a shining light for freedom and opportunity in a region plagued by terror, hate and oppression.” AIPAC also said that is “shares President Obama’s perspective that while there is a political conflict between Israel and the Palestinians that needs to be resolved, the use of the term “apartheid” to characterize Israel is inaccurate and unhelpful.”‘
Eric Cantor: “The use of the word apartheid has routinely been dismissed as both offensive and inaccurate, and Secretary Kerry’s use of it makes peace even harder to achieve.”
Is the statements’ similarity coincidental? The answer is almost certainly No.
Moreover, one word, “inaccurate” recurs more frequently than any other. That suggests something about the logic that underpinned the frantic discussion that preceded the distribution of talking points to members of the leadership. Mainly, that the “danger” here is that the charge will stick – and that the word “apartheid” may come to be regarded as more-or-less accurate shorthand for what the Jewish-Israelis are perpetrating in Palestine.
Finally, J Street, the center-right Zionist lobby organization, lauded Kerry’s recognition while exhibiting a fundamental inability to abandon life beyond the Looking-Glass. Running fast to go nowhere they seem to remember the future:
“Israel today is not an apartheid state, and that’s not what John Kerry is saying,” said Ben Ami. “For over a year now, Kerry has argued that, without a two-state solution, Israel is risking its future and its values as it moves toward permanent rule over millions of Palestinians without equal rights. Former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have used the ‘apartheid’ term as well to describe this possible future.”