John Kerry has said some criminally stupid things in his time. Recall, for example, this statement by Kerry from 2010 about Bashar al-Assad:
Let me just say that I am . . . absolutely convinced that carefully calibrated diplomacy, that if that is what we engage in, that Syria will play a very important role in achieving a comprehensive peace in the region and in putting an end to the five decades of conflict that have plagued everybody in this region.
Kerry is never merely convinced of things, he’s “absolutely convinced.” And almost invariably, he’s absolutely wrong.
Kerry is now absolutely convinced that “it’s a mistake” for Israeli leaders “again and again” to raise the PLO’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state “as the critical decider of their attitude toward the possibility of a [Palestinian] state and peace.” Apparently, Kerry believes that Israel should consider as its peace partner an entity that doesn’t accept its right to exist as it is fundamentally constituted.
Throughout human history, war has often been the arbiter when neighboring entities disagree fundamentally about the status of territory. And when that territory is one of the two entities itself, war becomes almost inevitable. So why does Kerry see error in Israel’s insistence that the PLO affirm its right to exist as constituted before concluding a “peace” with its long-time sworn enemy?
Kerry says that “[The] ‘Jewish state’ was resolved in 1947 in [UN General Assembly partition] Resolution 181 where there are more than 40-30 mentions of ‘Jewish state.’” The idiocy of this argument is obvious. Since the passage of this U.N. resolution, Israel has had to fight three major wars against forces that refused to accept it as a Jewish state. Kerry isn’t asking that Israel make “peace” with the U.N; he wants it to make “peace” with an entity that refuses to affirm what Resolution 181 “mentions.”
Kerry also sniffs that “Chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed [Israel] would be a Jewish state, and there are any other number of mentions.” But if even “Chairman” Arafat was willing to say (albeit insincerely) that Israel would remain a Jewish state, it becomes particularly telling that the current leadership won’t say it.
Kerry was spectacularly wrong about Assad’s Syria, and that’s far from the only example. But for sheer stupidity Kerry has, I think, surpassed himself with his assertion that Israel should overlook the fact that its alleged peace partner won’t affirm its right to exist.
UPDATE: If we go back far enough, of course, we find Kerry comparing the conduct of U.S. troops in Vietnam to “the Army of Genghis Khan.” That statement transcends “dumb.” It belongs in a category of its own.