The 14th century lives on in 21st century Washington


Posted: 23 Oct 2014

…In essence, blaming the blameless for what they have no involvement in, is as morally reprehensible as the mid-14th century scapegoating of Europe’s Jews during the Black Death. Right across the continent, the recommended remedy was to accuse Jews of poisoning the wells. With adaptations, this still remains the undisputed conventional wisdom.

The%2B14th%2Bcentury%2Blives%2Bon%2Bin%2B21st%2Bcentury%2BWashington.jpg
Medieval manuscript showing Jews burned
at the stake in Flanders according to the
popular antidote to the Black Death

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
23 October ’14..

In all fairness, it’s not just the Obama Administration which is fond of insinuating that somehow Israel is to blame for all that ails the Mideast. This has been the underlying theme of the US State Department since Israel’s birth in 1948.

The variations in the stance vis-à-vis Israel derive from the intensity of antipathy – the subtlety and sophistication of the tone in which it’s expressed. Given its strident hectoring, the Obama Administration is doubtless America’s least-subtle and least-sophisticated ever.

While past presidents and their secretaries of state took greater pains to pretend not to side with glaring Arab anti-Israel falsehoods, such niceties are all but absent from Barack Obama’s and John Kerry’s rhetoric. Anti-Israel idioms and calumnies are repeated by them as an obvious and infallible politically-correct gospel.

And thus Kerry had the colossal gall last week – significantly at a White House ceremony for the Muslim fest of Eid al-Adha – to claim no less that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (i.e. the Jewish state’s struggle for survival) bolsters the mass appeal of Islamic State radicalism.

Hardly knocking Israelis for a loop, the State Department’s spokeswoman later accused us of getting it all wrong. In deadpan delivery she insisted that Kerry “did not make a linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL [Islamic State]. Period.”

But her boss’s words speak for themselves and belie her assertion.

Here, verbatim, is Kerry’s syntax-defying wisdom: “As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation.”

Translation: “peace between Israel and the Palestinians” means Israeli concessions of the sort that will critically compromise Israel’s self-preservation prospects. Only that and that alone will satisfy the “leaders” with whom the insightful Kerry met “in the region.” These were all Arab and/or Muslim and obviously they “spontaneously” gave voice to their enmity toward Israel – enmity which supersedes any discomfort arising from the hideous internecine Arab feuds.

These non-too-objective leaders are chronically prone to blaming any and all misfortunes on Israel (including the polio epidemic back in the day, followed by cancer, later by AIDS and most recently we’re told that Israel deliberately spreads Ebola). Is it then really any wonder that they would blame Israel for the Islamic fanaticism that overruns Iraq, Syria and threatens other domains?

Should Kerry have been surprised that these nameless, seemingly objective “leaders” all agreed in rare Mideastern unanimity that it is Israel which constitutes “a cause of recruitment [for extreme Islam] and of street anger and agitation” that presumably permeate the region?

Kerry should have anticipated what he’d hear. Hatred of the Jewish state in varying degrees of ferocity and of flaunted belligerence has consistently been the only glue to hold together the squabbling and mutually destructive sons of Arabia in their various guises and incompatible religious adherences.

Therefore, Kerry – had he actually had even a superficial a smattering of elementary historical comprehension – should have expected precisely such slander. Moreover, had Kerry even a superficial smattering of elementary intellectual integrity, he’d have rejected the crude attempt to reproach Israel for Arab/Muslim barbarities. He could have denounced it as the crass opportunism and as the morally abhorrent copout that it is.

Had Kerry any rudimentary decency in the role of go-between he so fancies, he’d have told his regional interlocutors that they cannot persist in portraying Israel as the source of all evil. Had he possessed a smidgeon of the statecraft he boasts about, he’d have fearlessly stood up to the host of Mideastern dictators and potentates. Instead he lent them his sympathetic ear.

He should have unambiguously challenged their very predilection to pin culpability on Israel. He should have taken Arab leaders strongly to task and pointed out that defamation intrinsically contradicts any professed peace aspirations. Relentless vilification negates the very notion of acceptance and coexistence.

But Kerry clearly lacks rudimentary decency and the statesman’s knack. Otherwise, he’d have blocked glib Arab misrepresentations and stated boldly that the slaughter in the misnamed Fertile Crescent and the misnamed “Arab spring” (that he himself avidly cheered on) have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Israel, with any conflict forced on Israel and stoked by oil-glutted Arabia’s moneybags.

Kerry might have noted that conflicts can be solved only in circumstances where the sides have specified concrete grievances for which live-and-let-live redress is feasible.

READ MORE: http://sarahhonig.com/2014/10/23/another-tack-the-14th-century-in-washington/

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