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John Kerry gives the ‘separate but not equal’ speech to Israel


Here are some of the reactions to today’s major speech by John Kerry, secretary of state, outlining the principles of a two-state solution but acknowledging that Israeli leaders and Donald Trump may not choose that outcome.

Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU seizes on the speech’s one rhetorical accomplishment:

Kerry’s speech uses unprecedented language of ‘separate but not equal’ to describe Palestinian reality under Israeli military occupation.

While Hussein Ibish states that Kerry’s speech acknowledges that all this has been clear to the Obama administration for years, and:

Indeed, Adam Horowitz said that Kerry had offered less a vision and more a eulogy to the two state solution.

On CNN, Daniel Kurtzer said the speech was policywise, “the most substantive speech in decades” from the American government, but “politically dead in the water,” given the inevitability of Donald Trump undoing the policy.

On MSNBC, Noura Erekat described Israel as an “apartheid regime” — a breakthrough for the network, we believe — and said that Obama and Kerry are “trying to save Israel from itself.” She responded to Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand (in his response speech given two hours after Kerry speech) that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state by stating that Israel has been a recognized state for nearly 70 years, including the last 38 of them by the Palestinian leadership, and asked Americans if they are “OK” with the United States now demanding to be designated as a country for white people. “I leave that up to your listeners,” she said.

Munayyer was funny:

Kerry in 2013: If there is no two state solution in 2 years, its over! But if there is no two-state solution in 3 years i’ll give a speech!

The New York Times headline was very accurate: “Kerry Rebukes Israel, Calling Settlements a Threat to Peace.” Bill Kristol, worshiper of military force, heard the same thrust:

Diana Buttu told the IMEU of the speech’s importance, and its limitation.

“It’s very good that in his speech today, Secretary Kerry recognized that the sole reason for Israel’s settlement enterprise is to cement its occupation over Palestinian lands and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. He also highlighted the suffering that Palestinians have endured for the past 50 years living under Israel’s oppressive military regime.

“However, the parameters that he laid out for a permanent peace agreement perpetuate the same framework and process that have failed to advance the cause of peace for more than two decades now.”

Naftali Bennett, the Israeli education minister, was chuffed that Kerry mentioned him three times as an enemy of peace, though not by name.

Munayyer said the Bennett moments were political; Bennett is trying to take Netanyahu out as PM:

Does anyone think Kerry’s specific references to Naftali Bennett were not purposeful?

William Youmans at GWU echoes Dawkar and says that Kerry has laid down language for the Democratic Party.

Kerry’s language is stronger than expected. While too little, too late in policy terms, it signals a critical shift among Democrats.

He also said that “Obama and Kerry laid the groundwork for the impending and inevitable US break with Israel in the post-Trump era.” That’s a long ways away.Sara Yasin notes one of the stronger moments of the speech:

Kerry: “The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel”

Many commenters, including Dakwar, also made this point about Kerry’s enthusiasm about a Jewish state in which all citizens are supposedly equal:

Then Yousef Munayyer:

Kerry said that the refugee issue should not be resolved so as to “affect the fundamental character of Israel.” Ali Abunimah:

Sara Yasin issued this criticism (which we have also made of the MSM), with graphic proof of the Jim Crow media policy.

Peter Baker of the NYT echoes Hussein Ibish that all this was known:

The speech, which described the first Zionist Congress as attended by “visionaries,” was a hit with Labor Zionists.

J Street echoes Yasin:

Secretary Kerry: The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel.

Jeremy Ben-Ami says that Israeli and American Jews will learn from Kerry.

90+% of Israelis or Amer Jews have no clue about the realities that Kerry laying out. if they did, one staters wld lose tomw.

He refers of course to the apartheid-one-state future. Kerry did seem to acknowledge other visions of one-state but said they are recipes for conflict. As Diana Buttu said in comments published by the Institute for Middle East Understanding:

There is a third alternative, though, which is being increasingly embraced by Palestinians and others. That is a single state in all of Palestine and Israel with equal rights for all, regardless of religion or race.

Yaki Lopez, an Israeli diplomat at the L.A. consulate, doesn’t cotton to that:

90% of Israelis could care less about how you think they should live their lives

Kerry knows he has the American public behind him. Read the commenters on the New York Times report on the speech. On the Readers’ Picks list, you have to scroll down to comment 20 or so before you find anything critical of Kerry.

We’ll update as the day goes on.

James North and Philip Weiss

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25 Responses

  1. zaid on December 28, 2016, 2:07 pm

    As a Palestinian i reject the parameters of John Kerry.Period.

  2. amigo on December 28, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Just had the displeasure of listening to nietanyahu,s response to John Kerry,s speech and unsurprisingly he spent most of his time accusing the US gov (who just gave him 38bn dollars) of planning the resolution and scheming with others.

    So f—–g what.What the hell does the source of the res have to do with the content of said resolution.This is typical zionist diversion.Never ever address the issue at hand .Find someone else to blame.

  3. Maghlawatan on December 28, 2016, 2:42 pm

    Israel is on an unsustainable path. They can keep building settlements but it is not in their interest to do so. the assumptions they base their thinking on are dud.

    It’s like Ayn Rand said – you can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.


    “The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things.”

    Netanyahu is like a termite eating away at Israel from the inside . But Yossi thinks he is a hero

    And Israel is so far away from the Menschheit of the Borscht Belt. If you took all the Jewish assholes in the world and put them in one place you would get Israel.

    • wondering jew on December 28, 2016, 6:55 pm

      magh- I don’t know german and maybe menschheit is a German word. In the Borscht Belt, where Yiddish was spoken, the word is menschlichkeit.

      • echinococcus on December 28, 2016, 11:35 pm

        Reb Fredman,

        If you are a native speaker of the German dialect Yiddish you certainly do know German as a competent native –no schooling or standard language necessary. You sure sound competent here. It’s so much more a pity to see you going along with the Zionist language destruction bulldozer.

      • Talkback on December 29, 2016, 7:55 am

        Both are German words. “Menschheit” means humanity and “Menschlichkeit” means humaneness. But you were right about yiddish using “Mentshlekhkeyt” (מענטשלעכקייט).

    • hophmi on December 29, 2016, 5:34 pm

      Right, so according to you, about half the Jews in the world are assholes. But it’s anti-Zionism, not antisemitism. No word on what you think of Arabs who live in states that are more ethnically pure by design than Israel will ever be.

      • Mooser on December 29, 2016, 6:23 pm

        “Right, so according to you, about half the Jews in the world are assholes. But it’s anti-Zionism, not antisemitism.”

        “Hophmi” it’s worse than that. After all, we all know of at least one Jewish asshole, don’t we?

      • amigo on December 29, 2016, 6:33 pm

        “Right, so according to you, about half the Jews in the world are assholes.” hopknee

        My view is that all zionists are assholes and if you think that is antsemitic –well who cares what a zionist thinks.

      • Maghlawatan on January 2, 2017, 10:26 am

        I agree, Amigo. Zionists are educated to be assholes

  4. eljay on December 28, 2016, 2:59 pm

    Kerry speech is the speech of a liberal Zionist: People who adopt the religion-based identity of Jewish are entitled to Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine…but only if they go about it in a ‘kinder, gentler’ way.

  5. sulai on December 28, 2016, 4:04 pm

    Zionists win again. They are kicking up so much dust over this as to intimidate this type of thing from happening again. They couldn’t be so more clearly in the wrong on this issue as what could they possibly defend, but amazing to see the one sided coverage of this in the American media

  6. MHughes976 on December 28, 2016, 4:55 pm

    The most frightening thing, I’d say, is Trump’s ‘stay strong’ rhetoric towards Israel.

  7. JWalters on December 28, 2016, 7:59 pm

    The MSM has been slow reacting to the Security Council vote. The heavy hitters are being cautious, while more peripheral reports are going forward. MSNBC had a very good segment on the historical growth of the settlements complete with maps. Will Lawrence O’Donnell et. al. use those maps in any upcoming discussions?

    An Israeli defender on (I believe) NPR’s “To the Point” told lie after lie, an imaginary tale about an imaginary Israel. It will be interesting to see if the Israeli-controlled MSM can shut down the process of informing the American people about the Nakba. Because that is the story thread that is being pulled. And those facts shred the Zionist fantasy mask.

    I suspect a lot of MSM people are trying to wait and see if Israel will maintain its rule of the U.S. They don’t want to join the rebellion too soon. On the other hand, a lot of them are undoubtedly ready.

    The Israelis should be very worried about an organized rebellion among the TV news organizations. Let’s suppose a few principle reporters and technicians at several networks took over their network broadcasts at the same time. They could each have their own trusted anchor deliver the same report to all Americans, explaining how they have been captive all this time. It would be impossible to put the secrets back in the basement.

  8. JLewisDickerson on December 28, 2016, 8:08 pm

    RE: “John Kerry gives the ‘separate but not equal’ speech to Israel” israel/#sthash.IBFXdfHf.dpuf

    MY COMMENT: We did have a little taste of this towards the end of the Bush/Cheney administration.

    SEE: “Israelis Claim Secret Agreement With U.S.” | By Glenn Kessler | Washington Post Staff Writer | April 24, 2008

    [EXCERPT] A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president’s efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office.

    Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush’s letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush’s peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank. In an interview this week, Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weissglas, said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed this understanding in a secret agreement reached between Israel and the United States in the spring of 2005, just before Israel withdrew from Gaza.

    U.S. officials say no such agreement exists, and in recent months Rice has publicly criticized even settlement expansion on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which Israel does not officially count as settlements. But as peace negotiations have stepped up in recent months, so has the pace of settlement construction, infuriating Palestinian officials, and Washington has taken no punitive action against Israel for its settlement efforts.

    Israeli officials say they have clear guidance from Bush administration officials to continue building settlements, as long as it meets carefully negotiated criteria, even though those understandings appear to contradict U.S. policy. . .


  9. wdr on December 28, 2016, 11:21 pm

    In three weeks, you will have an American President who makes Netanyahu look like a liberal on the settlements, plus a Congress which will back him up. Kerry’s strange speech, and the preceding even stranger UN vote, will do nothing except leave a bad taste in many mouths and make even its supporters ask why this didn’t come eight years before.

  10. Elizabeth Block on December 29, 2016, 10:11 am

    I wrote a piece describing what Canada would be like for Jews, if it were a Christian state in the same way that Israel is a Jewish state. On my website, You can probably write your own!

  11. Theo on December 29, 2016, 10:31 am

    Israel wird always named as the best and greatest ally and friend of the USA!
    My question is, the leach, that sucks my blood, not caring how much of it is left in me, ist my greatest friend?
    The damm is broken and I hope the world gets its senses back and treats Israel according what it is, a colony that subjugates and kills the natives, ignores all UN resolutions, and steadily builds Erez-Israel on lands that belong to others.

  12. RobertB on December 29, 2016, 11:09 am

    As for kerry’s too little & too late speech…. one should ask… where was he in the last 4 years and why was afraid to speak out? and where was Obama in the last 4 and 8 years? Where was Obama in 2014 when Netinyahu unleashed the Israeli army using sophisticated American made weapons on Gaza and for 51 days bombed Palestinian homes, neighborhoods, schools, mosques, beaches, UN human shelters…. murdering over 2100 Palestinians, mostly women and children? No one dared to speak out…!!!

    It only proves what Ariel Sharon once told Peres in 2001…. “Every time we do something you tell me Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”

  13. James Canning on December 29, 2016, 1:02 pm

    I continue to think Palestine can become an independent state, even if there are hundreds of thousands of Jews living within its borders.

  14. Kathleen on December 29, 2016, 3:44 pm

    Absolutely nothing being said on CNN, FOX, MSNBC about Kerry’s statement about one state that cannot be “Jewish” and a “democracy” due to demographics. Nothing about the fact that Israel would never give full rights to Arabs,

    Nothing on any of those outlets about Kerry saying that Israel will never have peace with its neighbors if it keeps going for the “greater Israel” agenda.

    The two mornings that Washington Journal has been focused on issue callers are light years more informed about facts on the ground than they were 5, 10, 15 years ago.

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