This week's flap over John Kerry's comments about Israel provide a rare and delicious taste of schadenfreude. Here's an anti-American loony lib being pilloried for comments made in private, as happens to Republicans every day but almost never to Democrats! It may not happen often but we can certainly enjoy it when it does.
There's just one problem: for perhaps the very first time in John Kerry's life since he left the military, on a matter of international relations, John Kerry is absolutely right. So in this case, we ridicule him at our peril.
Wait, what? Has Scragged suddenly gone off the deep end into anti-semitism?
Not at all. Let's carefully consider John Kerry's exact words. Here they are:
A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.
Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.
First, when you pay attention to what he actually said, it's obvious that Mr. Kerry did not say that Israel was an apartheid state. He was making a prediction that if it went down a certain road, that's what it would become. This is a quite different thing.
Even so, the word "apartheid" is so loaded he'd better be sure he's right. Is he?
The whole problem with Israel is that it is a teeny tiny country right next to even teenier tinier plots of land occupied by rabidly barbaric enemies sworn to its destruction. The entire area the Israelis and Palestinians collectively occupy is smaller than the state of New Hampshire; Israel gets as narrow as ten miles from one side to the other.
At the moment, citizens of Israel and the people generally categorized as Palestinians live more or less separate lives. Israelis live under a generally democratic government with elected representatives that sit in Israel's parliament, the Knesset. It works more or less like a European parliamentary democracy.
The Palestinians in the disputed area have much more complicated political arrangements. The Gaza Strip, along the southern Mediterranean coast adjacent to Egypt, operates somewhat like a blockaded but independent state. It's not occupied by the Israeli military or by anyone else's.
Gaza used to be occupied by the Israeli army, but about ten years ago, Israel decided to evacuate Gaza. Every last Jew departed, as did every last Israeli soldier. The people of Gaza had the opportunity to freely elect their own government and choose their own path forward free of direct outside control.
So they did: they elected the avowed terrorists of Hamas, who established a barbaric reign of murder and terror over their own people. Over the years, the Israelis had installed modern infrastructure which the Gazans could have put to profitable use; instead, they dug up the sewer system and used the pipes to make rockets to fire into Israel.
This being so, it's understandable that Israel has not allowed the far larger West Bank to make the same choices. The Palestinians in the West Bank do elect their own government, mostly from the not-quite-so-murderous Fatah party, but they aren't truly free and independently self-governing.
The left, and most of the international community, has long argued that the only viable outcome is a "two-state solution," in which there's an Israel for Jews and an independent nation of Palestine for the Muslim Palestinians. Nobody seems to care much about the Arab Christian Palestinians, of which there are fewer every day. We agree with this, in principle; it's not possible for two peoples who so hate each other to share one single country.
But supposing you tried to do that? That's what John Kerry is hypothesizing about.
Suppose Israel decided to just declare Gaza and the West Bank as part of Israel, swooping in with tanks and police and enforcing Israeli law on the terrorists and murderers. Obviously the Palestinians aren't going to be given the opportunity to vote for leadership. They already did that in Gaza and elected the very same terrorists and murderers who belong six feet under.
Thus, you would have one single nation, with one ethnicity having all the political and military power, and a second, different ethnicity having no political rights. By definition, that is an apartheid state. That's exactly what apartheid South Africa was - the whites ran everything and the blacks did as they were told or paid the consequences. Mr. Kerry is right to say that's what Israel would beecome if they chose that course.
As barbaric as the behavior of the Palestinian leadership has been for lo these many years, nobody could support that fate for the Palestinian people. What's more, history shows it doesn't work. Sooner or later apartheid falls apart and, absent a leader of genius like Nelson Mandela, there's hell to pay.
OK, suppose something different. Suppose Israel annexed Gaza and the West Bank, but didn't place the Palestinians under apartheid. Suppose instead that they simply declared all Palestinians to be citizens of Israel with all the rights, privileges, and obligations pertaining thereto.
Well, a fair few Palestinians are going to wind up in jail or dead due to their own terrorist activity. But the vast majority of Palestinians don't personally engage in terrorism or any other convictable crime. Most of them, in the eyes of the law, would be law-abiding citizens with every right to vote.
Except, as the experience of Gaza clearly demonstrates, they are going to vote for terrorists or at the very least for enemies of the state of Israel. How can you run a democratic country when a large chunk of your elected officials hate the country they've been elected to govern?
It gets worse. There are an awful lot of Palestinians and there are more every year. The Muslim birthrate has exceed the Jewish birthrate for as long as there's been a nation of Israel, and there's no reason to expect this to change.
If all the Palestinians became Israeli citizens and started voting, it wouldn't be very long before they'd be the majority. The Jews of Israel would have lost their country, by perfectly democratic means. That is what Kerry means when he says "it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state."
So, what exactly is wrong with what John Kerry said? Nothing: he is provably, demonstrably, logically, 100% right.
Which is why we find his position, and that of America for the past several decades, so frustrating.
It is transparently obvious that the Israelis and the Palestinians cannot live together in the same state.
It is transparently obvious that the Palestinians are utterly unfit to govern themselves. Every time they are given the opportunity to do so, they once again prove the depths of their barbarism. You can argue over why that is so but it is nevertheless true.
And any serious examination of the map reveals that it's simply not realistic for Gaza, the West Bank, and what's left of Israel to be carved into tiny but mutually hateful separate countries. They're just too small.
Which is why the only possible solution is the one that nobody dares even suggest: Simply deport all the Palestinians across the border into Egypt, writing checks in compensation for loss of property.
Egypt is enormously larger than Israel. It's already Muslim, overwhelmingly so. It's got lots of problems but at least it usually has something resembling a functioning government, which is more than can be said for the Palestinians.
That would give Israel a cohesive and somewhat defensible geographic state. The Palestinians have proved they don't deserve one, but at least they'd be full citizens of a state with the right to participate in the political processes there. Some of them no doubt would abuse these rights and could be punished in the usual way; others would decide to make the best of things and try to succeed in business and their own personal lives, which is the best possible outcome.
John Kerry knows the one-state solution won't work. Unless he's a complete cretin, he also knows that the so-called two-state solution won't work either. It hasn't made one lick of progress in twenty years, yet we keep illustrating the definition of insanity by continually trying to do the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.
This isn't a partisan snipe - President Carter, both Bushes as well as Presidents Clinton and Obama followed more or less the same plan, with the same lack of helpful results.
At least John Kerry has accurately identified one category of potential outcomes that won't work, involving a unitary state, and braved the ensuing firestorm in pointing it out.
Maybe he's not the total lost cause we assumed him to be? Now he just has to demolish the other category of potential outcomes that won't work, namely the two-state solution as generally proposed. The ensuing fireworks would be astonishing to behold.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.