I’m a bit late on this one, but it’s such a good example of, and going into the list of Astoundingly Stupid Statements of the 21st Century, that I have to fisk it. Last year, before the Obama Administration’s final flurry of attacks on the Israeli settlements, at the Saban Forum, John Kerry denounced the settlements as a “barrier” to any peace settlement:
I’m not here to tell you that the settlements are the reason for the conflict. No, they’re not.
Unless, as the Palestinian leadership does, you define any Israeli presence a settlement, like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ashkelon. So Kerry agrees that the settlements – by which he means Israelis living on the “West Bank” (including East Jerusalem?), are not the cause of the conflict – obviously, since the conflict precedes the “occupation.”
…and you knew this was coming…
I also cannot accept the notion that they don’t affect the peace process, that they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.
And I’ll tell you why I know that: Because the left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace, and the right that supports it [them?] openly supports it because they don’t want peace.
Now this is truly a piece of work, and all the more remarkable because he actually explicitly invokes this contrast as his proof of why they settlements are a barrier. Let’s take the two one at a time:
Because the left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace…
And what if they’re wrong? What if they’re classic Liberal Cognitive Egocentrists who project their own mentality onto the Palestinians, assuming that when Palestinians say “occupation” or “settlements” they only refer to the area beyond Green Line? What if the Palestinians are using “settlements” as a cover for the fact that they don’t want to make peace, and the Israeli “left” (and Kerry) are dupes of demopaths? Just because someone wants peace doesn’t mean they’re right about what the problems or solutions are. Maybe their mistakes explain why their search for peace has been bootless at best, counterproductive at worst? None of this, apparently, occurs to Kerry.
and the right that supports it [them?] openly supports it because they don’t want peace.
Here we come up against a truly massive blindspot. It doesn’t seem to occur to Kerry that many of those he thinks are “on the right” do want peace, but not on the terms pushed hard by him, the Israeli “left,” and the Palestinians, that the opposition he runs into – including from Netanyahu – is not about who wants peace, but who worries that the wrong deal will bring war not peace.
It’s the “because” that gives him away. “I know,” he seems to say, “that because the settlements are a barrier to peace” (remember this is what he’s explaining, but has now become an axiom of his reasoning), that those who defend them don’t want peace. Maybe they think that making the settlements a major issue is actually falling into the hands of Palestinian war-mongers.
Note that at no point does Kerry discuss who wants and doesn’t want peace among the Palestinian leaders. Can one imagine him saying?
The Palestinians who insist that the settlements are the main barrier to peace and must be dismantled, do so because they don’t want peace, they want a Judenrein (i.e., non-civil) state, and it’s part of their two-phased plan for eliminating Israel.
In other words, Kerry has, by taking his cues from the Israel “left” adopted the “four dimensional Israeli/two dimensional Palestinian” view that robs the Palestinians of agency and attributes it all to Israel. Yet one more example of humanitarian racism at work – all in the name of peace.
If anyone wants an example of very smart people being very stupid, here’s a good one. Rack up another for the #ASSO21C.