Standing “Idly By”

 

Secretary of State John Kerry used the word “conscience” over and over again as he attempted to explain and justify the Obama administration’s decision not to veto a one-sided UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. He added that the US could not “stand idly by” while Israel torpedoed any hope for a two-state solution.

The Obama Administration knows all about standing “idly by” – that was its all-but- explicit policy toward other troubles in the Middle East. Obama came into office with one foreign policy lodestar – Not George Bush – and has stuck with it mulishly no matter how much the facts on the ground demanded flexibility. An Obama official dubbed it “leading from behind” and, according to a well-placed journalist, Obama himself used the term “don’t do stupid [expletive].”

And so, when Syrian strongman Bashar Assad massacred up to 400,000 people by dropping barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods, shelling hospitals, and imposing sieges of cities to starve out the inhabitants, the Obama administration stood very, very idly by. Even after warning Assad that the use of chemical weapons would trigger a US response, Obama did nothing when Assad called his bluff.

When ISIS was rampaging through northern Iraq and southern Syria, beheading, crucifying, and burning people alive, the Obama administration stood idly by.

“There are 2.75 million Palestinians living in the West Bank,” Kerry thundered, without explaining why their misfortune is more urgent than that of 4.8 million Syrian refugees who are living in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and various European countries. An additional 6.6 million Syrians are internally displaced and desperately in need of assistance. The Palestinian refugees (the term is absurd after 68 years) are the only “refugees” in the world who have a United Nations program devoted exclusively to them (UNRWA) – which may be one reason they remain stateless.

Just about every single one of Secretary Kerry’s assumptions about the Palestinian/Israeli dispute is erroneous. Start with his assertion that the Palestinians want an independent state on the West Bank. They have been offered such a state at least twice. In 2000, at Camp David, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered a generous settlement including land swaps. Yassir Arafat not only rejected it, he started a new intifada. In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Mahmoud Abbas a state comprising nearly all of the West Bank (Israel would have kept about 5 percent), with East Jerusalem as the capital. Abbas rejected it. Obama administration assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, the Palestinian Authority has not recognized that Israel has a right to exist as Jewish state. Palestinian propaganda ceaselessly depicts “Palestine” as comprising all of the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. They continue, as Kerry himself acknowledged, to glorify terrorists.

Kerry suggests that “solving” the Israel/Palestinian conflict is the key to “stabilizing a volatile region.” Has he been asleep for the past 50 years? The region is roiled by Islamic extremism in both Sunni and Shiite guises. The Obama administration has heightened tensions in the region with its embrace of Iran. Civil wars, revolutions, attempted coups, and terrorism are destabilizing Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, and others. For an Arab, the West Bank is one of the safest (not to mention freest) places he can live in the Middle East.

Kerry said the administration could not “in good conscience” let Israel build new settlements in “occupied” Palestinian land and thereby sabotage the “peace process.” 1) The land in question was never Palestinian, as Kerry surely knows. It was grabbed by Jordan in 1948 and then, reluctantly, taken by Israel in a defensive war in 1967. 2) Israel, bowing to Obama’s wishes, imposed a ban on settlements for 10 months in 2009. There was no response from the Palestinians. 3) Kerry certainly also knows that the Palestinian strategy for years has been to end-run direct talks with the Israelis and force a recognition of maximal Palestinian demands through international pressure. This failure to veto, far more than a few Israeli apartments, is the true obstacle to peace because it encourages the Palestinians’ unrealistic expectations and despicable tactics. These have lately included stabbings, shootings, and driving cars into random pedestrians.

The world is aflame with threats and instability, yet Kerry and Obama, petulant leftists with an Israel fixation, could not resist this last kick in the teeth to the region’s sole democracy. They knew it would harm Israel’s moral standing – now the delegitimizers can claim that Israel is in violation of “Security Council” resolutions – and give an unmerited win to the Palestinians. Perhaps most infuriating of all, they claim to be doing it all for Israel’s own good.

Too bad they couldn’t follow their own advice: “Don’t do stupid [expletive].”

 

There are 33 comments.

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  1. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    Not “standing idly by” is hardly an excuse for making things worse, though it is one that government seems to rely on quite often.

    • #1
  2. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    So let’s line up the bad actions of both the Palestinians and the Israelis this year that John Kerry laid out today:
    Palestinians: Hundreds of terror attacks killing people.
    Israelis: Built apartment buildings.

    • #2
  3. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Hey John Kerry there’s some American Indians outside who want to talk to you about this “two state solution” idea you are working on for the Palestinians.

    • #3
  4. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    John Kerry is the world’s racist zoning officer. He supports the exclusionary Palestinian idea that Jews shouldn’t be allowed to build apartments in “their” neighborhoods.

    • #4
  5. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    The Obama foreign policy has been to undermine one’s allies and support anyone that was anti American.  This stabbing of Israel in the back at the end of Obama’s tenure is the culmination of everything Obama has stood for on the international scene.  He is a disgrace.  An embarressment to our country.  And while I am not one who believes Obama is a secret Muslim, but by golly everything about his foreign policies seems to suggest Islamic sympathy.  I agree with Newt.  Congress should formally denounce Obama’s move in the UN against Israel.

    And as to Kerry, add this to his resume of disloyalty.  I haven’t forgotten how he lied about our troops in Vietnam.  This treachery was perfectly natural for him.

    • #5
  6. Quake Voter Member
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    When people ask “Why do we need the old school conservative commentariat?”, the answer is “pieces like this.”

    Frames the issue with historical sweep, and fills in the blanks that we more workmanlike conservatives allow to pockmark our understanding of issues.

    And does it in 800 words.

    Brilliant.

    • #6
  7. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    You can’t avoid doing stupid stuff if you don’t know what stupid is.

    • #7
  8. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Brilliantly stated, Mona. Thank you for this post.

    Can you imagine listening to a 70 minute speech by John Kerry? It will be such a blessing when the two wind bags, Obama and Kerry, no longer represent the USA. As @manny said, Obama is a disgrace, and I’ll pile on and add that Kerry is too. Doing stupid [expletive] is all they know.

    Mona, what do you think of Caroline Glick’s The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East

    • #8
  9. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I found this cartoon by Stilton Jarlsberg quite appropriate and funny considering this deplorable situation. He offers good commentary, too.

    • #9
  10. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    There was a time – maybe five to eight years ago – that I would have agreed with Kerry. The fact is that Israel did embezzle US foreign aid to build roads, outposts and infrastructure on the West Bank in violation of their agreements with us in order to hold on to this land forever. I know it paled in comparison to the atrocities of the Palestinians, but sometimes a paper cut stings more than stage 4 cancer, and stopping the settlements did seem like a plausible necessary first step to find peace.

    My thinking has changed as the true character of Palestinian nationalism has expressed itself in the last few years. Any society that uniformly celebrates the stabbing of an infant in a baby stroller or the running down of a four year old at a bus stop has forfeit any claim for historical injustice. I believe mass deportations across the Jordan River is probably the only viable long-term solution at this point.

    • #10
  11. billy Member
    billy
    @billy

    I can’t quite process the irony that this post was written by a #Nevertrump-er. Are you only now grasping the stakes of the last election?

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Tommy De Seno:So let’s line up the bad actions of both the Palestinians and the Israelis this year that John Kerry laid out today:
    Palestinians: Hundreds of terror attacks killing people.
    Israelis: Built apartment buildings.

    View comment in context.

    Unfortunately there is a connection.

    If the Palestinians could just build apartment buildings for themselves instead (in Area C or Jerusalem or Haifa or Tel Aviv) they would probably do that.  (Attacking Israelis would not appear to be a great option.)

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I would point out that it is deeply unwise of Kerry to give Israel an ultimatum of either being a Jewish state or a democracy, but putting John Kerry and foolish in the same thought is redundant.

    • #13
  14. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    C. U. Douglas:You can’t avoid doing stupid stuff if you don’t know what stupid is.

    View comment in context.

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean, but I think Obama knew exactly what he was doing.

    • #14
  15. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    billy:I can’t quite process the irony that this post was written by a #Nevertrump-er. Are you only now grasping the stakes of the last election?

    View comment in context.

    I thought of that too.  But that was Mona only failing.  Her “neverTrumpism” sunk into the typical derangement.  Sometimes those things take a life of their own, following a certain zeitgeist.  Hopefully she now sees there is more to like than dislike about Trump.

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Scott Wilmot:I found this cartoon by Stilton Jarlsberg quite appropriate and funny considering this deplorable situation. He offers good commentary, too.

    View comment in context.

    Best Cartoon Ever

    It will be a  Baptist holiday, too.  At least it will for my family.

    • #16
  17. The Question Member
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    What really burns me up (or gives me delight, now that the left is gnshing it’s teeth in its electoral defeat) is that I keep hearing the drumbeat from Democrats that Trump (of whom I’m not a fan) is a xenophobe.  They say this while supporting the right of Palestinians to live in a Jew-free state.  Utter hypocrisy.

    • #17
  18. billy Member
    billy
    @billy

    Manny:

    billy:I can’t quite process the irony that this post was written by a #Nevertrump-er. Are you only now grasping the stakes of the last election?

    View comment in context.

    I thought of that too. But that was Mona only failing. Her “neverTrumpism” sunk into the typical derangement. Sometimes those things take a life of their own, following a certain zeitgeist. Hopefully she now sees there is more to like than dislike about Trump.

    View comment in context.

    I hope so too. I have always enjoyed reading Charen and many of the other prominent #Nevertrumpers, but post convention, they have simply been delusional.

    • #18
  19. Arnold Falk Member
    Arnold Falk
    @acfalk

    Mona Charen’s piece is excellent, and explains why the US policy has been what it has been for many years.  But, now look at the list of the fifteen members currently on the UN Security Council.  http://www.un.org/en/sc/members/.  What bothers me almost as much as the Administration’s betrayal in not vetoing Resolution 2334 is the fact that these particular countries went along with it: France, the UK, Spain, Ukraine.   All of these countries know perfectly well why there has been no peace in that region as it pertains to Israel.  All no doubt are aware why there has been failure of the Oslo Accords (1993) and the subsequent events at Camp David.  So, why did these democracies vote the way they did?

    AC Falk

    Stans, Switzerland

    • #19
  20. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    Mona Charen: They knew it would harm Israel’s moral standing – now the delegitimizers can claim that Israel is in violation of “Security Council” resolutions – and give an unmerited win to the Palestinians.

    This post is absolutely right on.  Unmerited is exactly right. In order for someone to deligitimize your moral status, they have to have moral status themselves. Obama, Kerry and the Security Council can’t deligitimize Israel because they aren’t acting morally in this. Israel is defending themselves against a player (the Palestinians) who have been acting disingenously and not morally, and proving that the one-state (or possibly the three state) solution is the better path to peace. The United States needs to abandon the two-state solution.

    Israeli settlers, even if their settlements are currently considered illegal, are not attacking the Palestinians, but their actions are indirectly creating a buffer zone for “Israel proper” while bringing closer the day when Palestinians and Jews will live side by side in what will someday be the former West Bank.

    • #20
  21. Kent Lyon Member
    Kent Lyon
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    The UN Resolution delegitimizes Israel only for those who already view Israel as illegitimate per se (which includes Kerry and Obama and leftist Democrats and most of American Jewry and the rest of the world). For those who support Israel, it delegitimizes the Obama administration, the UN, and all the nations that voted for the Resolution, including Britain and France.  The hubbub at the UN and in the Obama administration regarding Israel is full and certain confirmation that this administration, like the rest of the world, is insane, to attempt to delegitimize the most decent, humane, and remarkable democratic state in the entire world (an exemplar to the world, indeed). This behavior  of Obama, Kerry, et al., can only legitimately be characterized by one word:  Evil.

    • #21
  22. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Manny: And as to Kerry, add this to his resume of disloyalty. I haven’t forgotten how he lied about our troops in Vietnam. This treachery was perfectly natural for him.

    View comment in context.

    You might appreciate the picture Ace of Spades used this morning on its Morning Report post.

    • #22
  23. erazoner Coolidge
    erazoner
    @erazoner

    Arnold Falk:What bothers me almost as much as the Administration’s betrayal in not vetoing Resolution 2334 is the fact that these particular countries went along with it: France, the UK, Spain, Ukraine.

    View comment in context.

    Not to mention their hypocrisy: France and Spain (Morocco), the UK (Gibraltar), Ukraine (currently occupied!), and even Kerry’s USA (Guam) should look in the mirror.

    • #23
  24. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Manny:

    C. U. Douglas:You can’t avoid doing stupid stuff if you don’t know what stupid is.

    View comment in context.

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean, but I think Obama knew exactly what he was doing.

    View comment in context.

    One of my favorite quotes from Reagan: “It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it’s that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    The problem isn’t that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, it’s that his view of the world is skewed in leftist dogma which we find dangerously naive. In their minds, they know exactly what they are doing and they are convinced that this is going to bring us Utopia or something like that (with them safely in control).

    But that’s because they have a skewed view of humans and ignore that humans rarely do exactly as one expects. When Obama says their policy is, “don’t do stupid [coc],” that is what my rejoinder refers too. He knows so much that isn’t so, he wouldn’t recognize stupid [coc].

    • #24
  25. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Zafar:

    Tommy De Seno:So let’s line up the bad actions of both the Palestinians and the Israelis this year that John Kerry laid out today:
    Palestinians: Hundreds of terror attacks killing people.
    Israelis: Built apartment buildings.

    View comment in context.

    Unfortunately there is a connection.

    If the Palestinians could just build apartment buildings for themselves instead (in Area C or Jerusalem or Haifa or Tel Aviv) they would probably do that. (Attacking Israelis would not appear to be a great option.)

    View comment in context.

    Thanks for the hilarious link, @Zafar.  Y’all should go check it out.  The author must have had “allegedly” as a macro.  Some of the funnier quotes:

    “Palestinian eyewitness assured media that the youth carried no knife.”

    “eyewitnesses report seeing soldiers throwing a knife next to his dead body.”

    “it is unknown if he hit the soldier intentionally or accidentally”

    “Carried suicide note and knife, but did not attempt to attack anyone.”

    (I wonder how many of the witnesses were imported from Ferguson, Missouri?)

    Attacking Israelis is a great option for the Palestinian leaders.  This has been their strategy from the start:

    1. Maintain an isolated population in abject poverty and dependence.
    2. Blame all of the the problems caused by your own incompetence and corruption on an outside force (The Jews).
    3. “Educate” the children with a constant indoctrination of anti-Jewish hatred, and not much else.
    4. Lionize the morons who attack Jews as “martyrs” and pay money to their families.
    5. Encourage and abet actual attacks.
    6. After the young idiots are inevitably killed, use their bloody bodies as propaganda tools.

    This has the added benefit of getting rid of the most stupid and useless members of your society.

     

    • #25
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    JosePluma:Attacking Israelis is a great option for the Palestinian leaders.

    View comment in context.

    But it’s not a great option for Palestinians:

    1. Eight times as many Palestinians killed (181) as Israelis (21);
    2. The price the families pay when their home is demolished as [collective] punishment;
    3. The price communities pay when their ability to earn a living (ie go to work) is further constrained as [collective] punishment; and
    4. What it achieves for Palestine: nothing positive, only negatives.

    .

    So why do they do it?

    Blaming it all on “incitement” is a bit blind.

    They’re reacting to the increasing loss of hope, and settlements are one of the crassest faces of its cause.

     

     

    • #26
  27. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Bishop Wash:

    Manny: And as to Kerry, add this to his resume of disloyalty. I haven’t forgotten how he lied about our troops in Vietnam. This treachery was perfectly natural for him.

    View comment in context.

    You might appreciate the picture Ace of Spades used this morning on its Morning Report post.

    View comment in context.

    I think I saw it in the NY Post as well under one of the Op-Ed pieces.

    • #27
  28. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Zafar:But it’s not a great option for Palestinians:

    1. Eight times as many Palestinians killed (181) as Israelis (21);
    2. The price the families pay when their home is demolished as [collective] punishment;
    3. The price communities pay when their ability to earn a living (ie go to work) is further constrained as [collective] punishment; and
    4. What it achieves for Palestine: nothing positive, only negatives.

    So why do they do it?

    Blaming it all on “incitement” is a bit blind.

    They’re reacting to the increasing loss of hope, and settlements are one of the crassest faces of its cause.

    View comment in context.

    I blame it on a cultural character flaw – ever since Lawrence helped them drive out the Ottomans westerners have noticed the desire of Arabs to live in a dream palace of the imagination rather than deal with the ugly messy facts of life. Had the Palestinians ever said to the Jews you can live here too as a Jewish State the conflict could have been resolved within weeks. They have never been willing to do that.

    • #28
  29. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Petty Boozswha:

    I blame it on a cultural character flaw – ever since Lawrence helped them drive out the Ottomans westerners have noticed the desire of Arabs to live in a dream palace of the imagination rather than deal with the ugly messy facts of life.

    That’s arguably true of many groups – though to paraphrase, reality eventually has longer legs.

    Had the Palestinians ever said to the Jews you can live here too as a Jewish State the conflict could have been resolved within weeks. They have never been willing to do that.

    That’s true.  But what would you have done in their place?

    I don’t believe that it was universal, but there were certainly some support for transfer in early Zionism, and the Palestinians would have been aware of that – it wasn’t like the whole conflict only started in 1948.  They knew what Israel would mean for them.

    • #29
  30. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Zafar:

    JosePluma:Attacking Israelis is a great option for the Palestinian leaders.

    View comment in context.

    But it’s not a great option for Palestinians

    . . .

    They’re reacting to the increasing loss of hope, and settlements are one of the crassest faces of its cause.

    View comment in context.

    Who cares about the Palestinians?  Certainly not their leaders.  To them, the individual Palestinians are mere tools, no more important than the rocks and knives they use to attack the Jews.  In fact, they are more valuable as bloody corpses that can used for propaganda.

    Who causes the loss of hope?  Again, the mob bosses who control the Palestinians.  They indoctrinate them with a useless ideology of hate and resentment, teach them to be helpless and dependent.  The Grand Melenah and his consigliere want them to lose hope; otherwise they would not make the suicidal attacks against the Israelis.  The settlements have nothing to do with it.

    • #30

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