Bye Bye Negotiations

Arlene from Israel

Shabbat starts late at this season, which allows me the time to do a post – but even so, Shabbat is Shabbat and this will be brief.

The nine-month negotiating deadline of April 29 came and went with no resolution of the issues, and no promise of an extension of the talks. So we can breath a sigh of relief. It should not, however, be too large a sigh. Somewhere, somehow, it’s going to come back to haunt us yet again.

For the meantime, Kerry has actually declared that he thinks it’s best now to take a “pause” and to re-evaluate what is possible and what is not. What he means by “pause” is exceedingly vague. Is he looking at a couple of weeks or several months or even a year?

What he said was: “I personally remain convinced that as each [side] sort of works through the reasons that things began to become more difficult in the final hours, there may be quiet ways within which to begin to work on next steps.”


“sort of works through the reasons that things began to become more difficult…” How ludicrous this is. Fatah is now negotiating a unity government with Hamas. And that’s after Abbas signed for membership with international agencies in abrogation of agreements in effect during the period of negotiations.


But Kerry is something of a de facto lame duck secretary of state now anyway. There have been calls for his resignation, but undoubtedly he’ll hang in there.

The declaration that he was no longer fit to be secretary of state (they just noticed?) was prompted by a statement he made recently that crossed the line. What he said was:

“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.”


Kerry said this during remarks to world leaders at the Trilateral Commission; a recording of his words was obtained by The Daily Beast.

He also delivered other warnings to Israel – such dire warnings being his stock in trade when trying to get Israel to do what he wants. There might be a resumption of Palestinian Arab violence against Israeli citizens, he said. And he suggested that a change in Israeli leadership might made a peace deal more feasible.


The suggestion that Netanyahu should be replaced so that his [Kerry’s] goals might be advanced is terribly out of line. But it pales next to the “apartheid” charge, which rang all sorts of bells, with some calling it anti-Semitic.

The accusation that Israel is “apartheid” is a basic part of the Palestinian Arab litany of charges against Israel. It is a ludicrous charge, and any one who understands the first thing about what apartheid South Africa was like knows this. In that South Africa, blacks were kept entirely separate, had to live in their own areas, and to maintain separate, inferior services.

Here in Israel, Arabs who are Israeli citizens have full human rights – no different from those of Jewish Israelis. All professions are open to them, they can move anywhere, they are treated in the same hospitals, attend the same universities, receive the same social service benefits, vote and serve in the Knesset, etc. etc. Apartheid? Arabs in Israel receive better treatment than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East.

Of course, in fairness, Kerry just said we might become apartheid. Still ludicrous. He was painting a picture of an Israel that had annexed all of Judea and Samaria, but had not given the vote to all the Arabs in that area. But denying full citizenship with voting rights to certain groups is still not remotely the same as apartheid. Even now, Palestinian Arabs who live in areas controlled by the PA – and are not Israeli citizens – are able to come into Israel for work, and are sometimes treated in Israeli hospitals.

MK Moshe Feiglin put it thus:

“there is a clear and recognized difference between human rights and civil rights,” and that “if annexation of territory without affording full voting rights means apartheid,” then the U.S. has an apartheid regime in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.



After Kerry made his egregious “apartheid” remark, PA officials began echoing him. This has happened again and again – Kerry and Obama set the tone for the Palestinian Arabs to become more hardnosed and intransigent. Thus we had chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat declaring:

“We believe that the international community must clarify to Israel that it’s choice of settlements and apartheid over peace will have political, legal, and financial ramifications.” (Emphasis added)


We must ask, as well, how Kerry had the gall to speak of Israel as potentially apartheid, at the same time that he is championing a Palestinian state that would be Judenrein.


Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a speech in Tel Aviv yesterday, announced intention to promote a basic law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israel has no written constitution, and the body of basic law serves in lieu of that constitution.

There is hardly anything radical about this concept, as it is embedded in the Israel’s Declaration of Independence:

”the Land of Israel…was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom…

“In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.

“This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations…

“This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.” (Emphasis added)



And yet, incredibly, Minister Tzipi Livni objected to what our prime minister proposed to do because it would “disrupt the delicate balance of Israel’s Jewish and democratic values.”


To this I say Heaven help us! This is how far we’ve lost our way.

This requires a good deal of discussion, and I would like to return to this at some point. Here I must be brief:

As was pointed out above, human rights are not the same as civil rights. The concept of (collective) civil rights is often used by enemies of Israel in an attempt to destroy the Jewish nature of Israel. Collective civil rights would refer to Muslim Arabs not as individuals whose rights (to study, receive medical care, to freely walk the streets and shop everywhere, etc. etc.) must be guarded, but as a people who require opportunities for national expression.

I am not suggesting that Livni overtly intends to destroy Israel. Not at all. What I see is that, like many on the left, she has bought into these concepts in a manner that is counterproductive to Israel’s best interests.

Israel’s anthem refers to the Jewish soul. Israel’s flag has a Star of David on it. Israel shuts down on Jewish holidays. There are those who yell that this is “unfair” to Israel’s Arab citizens and demand changes. Their intention is to do away with the Jewish nature of Israel. The term they use is a “nation of all its citizens.”

There is a myriad of states that are either Arab or Muslim or both. There is one Jewish state in the world. It is ours, and it must remain proudly so. This does not mean we are not a democracy.


Barely touching the surface, and here I say Shabbat Shalom.


Execrable Harry Reid Is No Joe McCarthy

By: Diana West

Dear Victor Davis Hanson,

You suggest in your syndicated column, “Harry Reid: A McCarthy for Our Time,” that we “ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the same question once posed to Sen. Joseph McCarthy by U.S. Army head-counsel Robert [sic] N. Welch: ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?’”

First of all — that would be Joseph N. Welch, not Robert. Robert W. Welch was someone rather different — a founder of the John Birch Society. Second, I would like to ask you a question: Are you aware of the context of Joseph N. Welch’s showboating remarks?

M. Stanton Evans did the spadework in Blacklisted by History, his groundbreaking – no, orbit-reversing – book about the late Sen. McCarthy, who died in 1957. The book devastates the fact-devoid conventional wisdom (including the “no decency” fable) on McCarthy and reconstructs an evidence-based record. A very different person emerges from Evans’ research: a political leader who – alas for the purveyors of “court history” – in no way resembles the execrable Harry Reid.

Yes, Welch theatrically denounced McCarthy at a June 1954 Senate hearing for outing Welch’s assistant Frederick Fisher as a former member of a Communist front, the National Lawyers Guild. But weeks earlier, on April 16, 1954, Welch himself outed Fisher – confirming that he’d relieved Fisher from duty over his previous front membership – in the pages of the New York Times!

It sounds fantastic – it is fantastic – but somehow Welch’s baseless “no decency” accusation lingers, its staying power derived from wells of pure ignorance, laziness or mendacity. It cries out for correction.

Next, you equate Reid’s smear of the peaceful patriots supporting Cliven Bundy as “domestic terrorists” with what you describe as McCarthy’s “smearing his opponents with lurid allegations, while questioning their patriotism.” Peaceful patriots demonstrating about federal government overreach equals covert Communists infiltrating the federal government? Is that a logical pairing? Which peaceful patriots did McCarthy smear with “lurid allegations,” anyway?

I note that despite your being a widely respected historian, the historical record is not a part of this essay. That is, your examples of Reid’s allegedly McCarthy-like evil come down to the familiar buzz phrases – “Have you no decency?” and “lurid allegations,” the famous list of names, “un-American.”

Take Reid’s slander of Mitt Romney as a tax cheat and what you deservedly call Reid’s “pathetic rejoinder” on being asked for proof: “I’ve had a number of people tell me that.” You compare that to McCarthy’s 1950 list of Communists on the State Department payroll. You write: “One wonders how many names were on Reid’s McCarthyite ‘tell’ list – were there, as McCarthy used to bluster, 205 names, or perhaps just 57?”

Again, is this an apt historical parallel? Malicious slander against a GOP nominee and allegations about serious security lapses in the State Department? I don’t think so. If the implication in your use of the word “bluster” is that McCarthy had no list of names, I’m sorry, but the evidence laid out in “Blacklisted by History” (Chapter 14) tells us otherwise.

Your column continues: “When asked again to document the slur, Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly: ‘The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.’”

In what instance has “Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly”? Are you implying that McCarthy’s investigations into Communists in the federal government were based on evidence of no higher caliber or substance than Reid’s wholly unsubstantiated bombast?

Then you ask: “So how does Reid’s reckless career continue with the Senate leader avoiding the sort of congressional censure that finally did in McCarthy? Why is there is no progressive muckraker to take on Reid the way that Edward R. Murrow once exposed McCarthy?”

It would be fun to throw a pop quiz at all historians and journalists who write on this issue to see what they really know about the “congressional censure” that “did in” McCarthy. Would they know that out of the original 46 charges against McCarthy, the Senate voted to censure McCarthy on only one single count? And what was that count? McCarthy’s alleged stonewalling of the Gillette committee, a fishing expedition into the finances of his family and friends during one of multiple witch-hunt-style investigations the Senate initiated against him.

No doubt it’s easier to allude to such events than to explain them. Ditto on how “muckraker” Murrow “exposed” McCarthy. I have a hunch that the punditry’s explanation would closely track the synopsis of the completely ahistorical George Clooney movie on Murrow, “Good Night and Good Luck.” Instead, I suggest Blacklisted by History, pages 538 and 539.

Tragically, the recurring and gratuitous slander of the late, great McCarthy prevents Americans from understanding the enormous debt we owe the man for having had the unflagging courage to bring to light the dangerously lax security practices in the federal government that enabled Soviet agents and agents of influence (American traitors) in their extremely successful – I call it victorious in my book American Betrayal – covert war on this country.

More relevant to our time, so long as we profoundly misunderstand “McCarthyism,” I believe we will be unable to protect our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Meanwhile, it is a plain truth that McCarthy correctly identified more than “a few” Communists in the federal government, as other historians such as Harvey Klehr have written. In fact, McCarthy identified scores of them. In articles for Human Events and Breitbart News, M. Stanton Evans recently tallied up no fewer than 50 (when, for brevity’s sake, he stopped counting).

You conclude: “Part Tammany Hall-style fixer, part pre-civil rights Democrat, and part demagogic Joe McCarthy, Harry Reid is a throwback to a type of American politics better left forgotten.”

I don’t think the demagogy here is McCarthy’s.