Is John Kerry Right?

John Kerry Peace PlanRobert Kennedy, speaking of John Kennedy, using words they would both probably use to praise John Kerry, said that JFK’s favorite quote was this: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.”

This quote from Dante, derived from his Inferno, describes the way Kerry performs his role as secretary of State. Kerry clearly envisioned and passionately warned that the people of Israel and Palestine must choose between two alternative futures.

The first future is the negotiated creation of a two-state solution that would leave Israel and a new state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, with a prosperity that is unimaginable in a world of perpetual occupation, terrorism and bloodshed.

The alternative future is a world where Israelis live in a permanent dread of rockets and bombs aimed by terrorists to kill them, and Palestinians live in a world of perpetual poverty and misery beyond comprehension of the Western world, and the world is reduced to endlessly debating the moral calculus of how many justifiably dead terrorists excuses the deaths of how many intolerably dead babies.

Into this epic human, moral and security quagmire steps the Secretary of State. He refuses to become a candidate for Dante’s hottest place in hell by maintaining his neutrality in times of crisis. He offers strategies, champions negotiations and seeks compromises to bring a long-term peace, achieve a short-term cease-fire that addresses security concerns to end the Gaza carnage and preserve a nuclear weapons-free Iran without yet another Mideast war.

Yes, these are hard cases against long odds. What is the alternative? Give up? Do nothing? Stand by? Wait? When I see the deluge of criticism of Kerry from sources, such as David Ignatius and Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, and Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center, I ask: exactly what would THEY do as secretary of State that would bring any better chance of success? I see nothing.

The only way to avoid a century of carnage and bring true security to Israel and the Palestinians, and bring dignity and decency to Israelis and Palestinians alike, is through a cease-fire now and a two-state solution soon.

On Tuesday night, former United Nations Ambassador Ken Adelman said on Erin Burnett’s show on CNN Tuesday night that the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza serves American interests, and that the opportunity for America is that the carnage continues and someone else is blamed. I find these comments among the most wrong, sickening and despicable ever aired on CNN. Remember: former President Reagan once called a prime minister of Israel and demanded he halt the bombing of civilians in Lebanon.

On the fundamental matters discussed here Kerry was right, is right and will always be right. The only way to avoid a century of carnage and bring true security to Israel and the Palestinians, and bring dignity and decency to Israelis and Palestinians alike, is through a cease-fire now and a two-state solution soon.

Has every decision Kerry made as secretary been right? Of course not. But he has been far ahead of the curve and has been right far more often than not, which those who wage the winds of derisive war against him cannot remotely claim.

Kerry wants to stop the rockets and close the tunnels that threaten Israel. He wants to end the poverty and stop the misery that makes life unbearable for Palestinians. He understands that to achieve these goals, he must often challenge and sometimes offend all parties to these conflicts, which wise historians will someday commend and future generations of warring combatants will someday applaud.

Brent-Budowsky-175Kerry does this in faithful service to President Obama, whose Mideast polices follow the tradition of all American presidents and previous Israeli prime ministers since 1948. The repeated barrages of derision from the Israeli right toward Israel’s one great ally in a lonely world are profoundly wrong and profoundly unwise.

The God of many great faiths loves the children of Israel and Palestine equally. When the secretary of State works to save these children, John Kerry is right.

Brent Budowsky
The Hill


  1. JoeWeinstein says

    Yes, Budowsky is either truly naive or – more likely – deliberately pretends to accept a fashionable delusional fantasy – much like the rest of the Obama and EU foreign policy wonkhood.

    In the 1930s the fashionable fantasy was that the world’s most virtuous victims were the Sudeten Germans, that their fate was the world’s biggest problem (after all, they were part of the Aryan master-race!), and that solving this problem was simple: vulnerable little Czechoslovakia should simply give up its most strategic and defensible border areas in order to swell Nazi Germany. Now the fantasy is that the Palestinians and Israelis are equally keen on peaceful coexistence, and moreover the Palestinians are oppressed because they don’t have such a separate state. Like the earlier fantasy, this one too is immune both to hard facts and to openly and repeatedly proclaimed ideological commitments. The latter include both Hamas’ prime charter commitment: to fight forever, and with potentially unlimited martyrdom, for Israel’s destruction – and the overall Palestine leadership’s commitment to their decades-old Palestine charter – whose aim is not a separate Palestine Arab state (which anyhow never existed, especially not in the glory days of the greater-Syria Damascus Caliphate) but rather ‘liberation’ of ‘all Palestine’ – i.e. ensuring that there is no Jewish state anywhere west of the Jordan. The overall Palestinian leadership position has for decades been consistent with this position. Creation of a Palestinian state which would coexist in peace with the Jewish state has always been an option – but one accepted only by Israel and deliberately rejected by Palestinian leadership on several signal occasions, including 1936, 1947, 2000, and several times since.

    Hamas’ gratuitous rocket attacks piled on top of past terror have induced an unprecentedly overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews to heed closely what the Palestinian leadership and vocal masses have clearly and consistently for decades indicated in word and by deed to be their prime aim – elimination of Israel and Jews, not creation of an Arab state of Palestine (except as an interim tool for more readily eliminating Israel: this prime use of a state was made clear outright a couple years ago by Mr Abbas in an NYTimes op-ed).

    American and European fantasists like Budowsky, still caught up in the delusions of yesteryear, can use all the epithets they want, including labeling all Israelis hard-core ‘rightists’, and can preach kumbaya all they want about how nice a brace of coexisting states would be, but fantasies are fantasies and sober realities are realities. A ‘two-state-solution’ – two states for two peoples, in peaceful coexistence – is a principle which has been accepted by just about everyone except the allegedly oppressed Palestinians who presumably would have by far the most to gain.

    Do all problems have affirmative win-win solutions? Maybe in theory, but not in perverse human practice. When someone can’t take YES for an answer, there simply may be no agreeable answer at all.

  2. R Zwarich says

    Brent Budowsky displays a degree of naivete that is disappointing. The circumstances in Israel have developed so radically to the extent that a two state solution seems to most informed people to already be an impossibility.

    Israel, after they are done with their latest session of killing Arabs, wants to get back to the long term status quo of talking endlessly in public about a ‘two state solution’, while they swear oaths among themselves that they will have all of Eretz Israel, all of Palestine west of the Jordan, for themselves.

    While the talk about this proverbial ‘two state solution’ has gone on for decades, Israel has steadily used this time to steal ever more Palestinian land, with more and more Jews colonizing it. The Jewish settlers have now dug deep roots into Palestinian land, and consider it their own, and openly declare that they will never leave. They will give their blood to defend what is theirs. That is what they swear, (by the blood below their feet).

    Many senior officers in the Israeli military are reported to be every bit as highly committed as the settlers to never allowing the Palestinians to even keep the land they still have, never mind the Jewish settlers giving any back.

    The party that now controls Israel, Netanyahu’s Likud Party, has sworn in its founding charter that all the land west of the Jordan shall be forever controlled by Israel. Many informed observers think that any serious attempt at a two-state solution, at this point, would result in a civil war, (among Jews), in Israel.

    Right now it is commonplace to see right wing Jewish mobs dancing wildly in the streets, chanting “Death to Arabs”. Roving gangs randomly beat up Arabs, dragging them from taxis, or from their shops.

    A member of the Israeli Knesset, (Congress), Ayalet Shaked, recently issued a public call for open genocide against the Arabs. She called Palestinian children “little snakes”, saying their nests must be eradicated and their mothers must be killed before they can give birth to more “little snakes”. (an indirect quote; something along those lines using that kind of incendiary language).

    If this is an accurate reflection of the political alignments and conditions in Israel, (I haven’t been there, but there are a plethora of reports, some of the most poignant of which are from dissenting Israeli Jews), it sure seems that Mr. Budowsky’s glib talk of a ‘two-state solution’ is simplistically naive.

    Perhaps he could explain in more detail the steps he thinks are going to lead from where the situation is now, (with the ongoing slaughter of Arabs by Israel still in full progress), to a ‘two state solution’. How will the stark reality of these social and political conditions in Israel be addressed?

    Many think that at some point the Palestinians will give up their claims to their own state, and will fight instead for their civil rights as full and equal citizens of Israel. This is a fight they can win. Israel simply cannot remain an apartheid state, right before the very eyes of the entire world, while absurdly claiming that it is not. Jews are ALREADY a minority of the people who live under Israeli authority, (while absurdly claiming to be a ‘democracy’).

    When the 4 million + Palestinian Arabs who now live under Israeli authority in impoverished ‘bantustans’, (some of which are virtual concentration camps), who now have no political rights whatsoever to participate in the authority that controls them, win their political rights, Jews will be a minority of Israel’s voting citizens.

    • R Zwarich says

      I’m sorry to correct you, but you are mistaken, at least in one sense. John Kerry’s name (Kerry) was arbitrarily selected off a map of Ireland by his Jewish ancestors, (grandparents or great grandparents), who had converted from Judaism to Catholicism due to anti-Semitic persecution they experienced in Europe. Their Jewish family name was Kohn.

      So Kerry is a Roman Catholic, but for years he let it be thought, in his Irish Catholic home territory (Boston) that he was Irish Catholic, when in fact he is descended from Jews who arbitrarily adopted an Irish name. He claimed to be surprised to learn that he is not Irish, and is in fact descended from a Jewish family.

      I suppose that’s possible, (his being surprised), but many have had their serious doubts. His general character and honesty has been questioned before. As when he pretended to throw his Purple Heart away (in public) as he led a procession of decorated vets throwing away their medals in protest of the war in Viet Nam.

      Turns out he kept his medal. He only pretended to throw it away, although the other vets really threw theirs away. Years later Kerry’s Purple Heart was on proud display in his Senate office.

  3. Jose A. Rodriguez says

    Kerry is Jewish and can talk about a 2 state solution all he wants. It’s all talk. Israel has ben stealing more land not since 1948. In 1922 borders where given in a House Resolution 360 (Rept. NO.1172) for the legal beagles to research and read. It has boundaries given which Zionists conned US into WWI to obtain by saving UK from Germany. The Balfour declaration dated 11/2/1917 said, his ‘Majesty’s Government, lol. it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country. Zionist AIPAC controls US government House and Senate and we allow massacre of innocent civilians who throw rocks. Most stuff is made up by Israel to justify killing all of them to steal their whole country. Israel does not want peace, it’s how it exists. everyone is out to get me, lol

    • hwood007 says

      Do you think there is a clause in the Jewish books of laws that states all non Jews must be killed before a Jewish sate can be safe? Do you know there are many Palestine people living well in the Jewish lands? I doubt any peace is possible for the Jewish people until they are all under the control of Hamas. I feel all that Jose writes is backwards.

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