The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called for the resignation of Secretary of State John Kerry after he stated over the weekend that Israel is becoming an apartheid state. This follows earlier anti-Israel proclamations by Kerry to the effect that Israel’s failure to fall in line with his peace proposals will result in renewed Palestinian violence and an invigorated campaign of anti-Israel boycotts and delegitimization. He also said that Israel’s failure to fall in line with his peace proposals would bring about its end as a Jewish and democratic state. Secretary Kerry thereby sent the damaging and terrible message that the U.S. would do nothing to stop Israel’s potential isolation. This gave extraordinary ammunition to Israel-haters and Jew-haters around the world, including on university campuses.
In remarks to the Trilateral Commission, Secretary Kerry said, “A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state … Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution” (Josh Rogin, ‘Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become “An Apartheid State,”’ Daily Beast, April 27, 2014).
As the ZOA argued at the time, Secretary Kerry’s words in February basically implied that, if talks failed, boycotting and isolating Israel is both inevitable and understandable, meaning that Israel would be held responsible and that boycotts are to be expected.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA hereby calls for Secretary Kerry’s resignation. We call upon President Barack Obama to fire him if he refuses to go. Kerry’s proclamation that Israel is becoming an apartheid state is a ridiculous lie.
“It is simply inexcusable that Secretary Kerry suggest that a failure of Israel to establish a Palestinian state under current conditions amounts to Israel becoming an apartheid regime. With this statement and previous ones, Secretary Kerry has all but justified the Palestinian violence, international boycotts and delegitimization to which he referred.
“98% of Palestinian Arabs today live either under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule or that of Hamas. Israel has little or no control over their lives and they live in territories in which Israel’s writ no longer runs. Palestinian Arabs, under their own rulers, run virtually every aspect of their lives in both Judea/Samaria and Gaza. They have their own parliament, schools, media and their own heavily armed police forces.The only difference between this and a fully sovereign, independent entity is that Israel maintain overall security because Palestinian Arab terrorist groups continue to launch terrorist attacks on Israeli territory and civilians.
“The Israeli Government has acceded in principle to Palestinian statehood and even froze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for 10 months in an effort to have the Palestinians merely resume negotiations. It has previously offered statehood to the Palestinians throughout virtually all of Judea/Samaria, all of Gaza and part of Jerusalem. Yet, the PA has refused to negotiate throughout almost the entire period of the Obama presidency up until this date. Indeed, in 2000 and again in 2008, the PA refused without counter-offer Israeli proposals of Palestinian statehood on virtually all of the territory it is officially demanding.
“Apartheid South Africa was a white minority regime which did not permit those classified as black to vote, or even to use the same post offices, banks, parks, beaches and public toilets as whites. Blacks could be randomly searched by police and jailed immediately if they failed to produce a valid ID. They could not be treated in the same hospitals as whites; an injured black man would be left to die if a non-white ambulance wasn’t available to transport him to a hospital for non-whites. In Soweto, hundreds of thousands of blacks couldn’t bring their families to live with them and could be charged in court for ‘harboring’ their wives and children if they did.
“The idea that Israel in any way resembles this repulsive and racist state of affairs in apartheid-era South Africa is absurd on it face. Israeli Arabs have always had the vote. Israeli Arabs have always sat in the Knesset. Israel has an independent judiciary. Arab judges preside over Israeli courts; one passed judgment on a former Israeli president in a criminal matter, while another sits on the bench of the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Arabs attend the same universities, use the same banks and post offices, ride the same buses, bath at the same pools and beaches, and practice medicine and are treated in the same hospitals as Jewish Israelis. Half the patients at Israel’s Hadassah Hospital, one of he finest in the country, are Arab. 20% of the student body and 10% of the faculty of Haifa University are Arab. Arab students attend every major Israeli university.
“Thus, to brand Israel an apartheid state in the making is a vicious, mindless insult to those who suffered under the genuine apartheid regime in South Africa.
“Compare that to a PA that refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and which has repeatedly said that it will not allow a single Jew to remain within its borders if and when a Palestinian state is established. Yet at no time has Secretary Kerry condemned this racist, anti-Semitic Palestinian policy, nor signaled any consequences for the PA if it refuses to make peace.
“Given these circumstances, Secretary Kerry is merely harming and weakening Israel internationally by absurdly and irrationally introducing the word ‘apartheid’ to an entirely different, unrelated situation to the brutally discriminatory policy which once governed South Africa under a white minority regime –– the more so when the PA has done nothing to advance the cause of peace while continuing incitement to hatred and murder against Jews and, just last week, concluded a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, which calls for the global murder of Jews.
“Particularly when Israel’s enemies refuse to make peace, it injures Israel to falsely suggest it is becoming an apartheid state. Refusing to place blame for the absence of peace where it belongs –– on a Palestinian partner which refuses to accept Israel as Jewish state –– while essentially defaming Israel before the world as a rights-abusing state fit to be a pariah also injures the United States, with whom Israel enjoys a long historic alliance. It harms America, because a weakened Israel which is subject to delegitimization campaigns that America signals it will not fight or meaningfully oppose makes the Middle East a more unstable and volatile place. It telegraphs the message that America will not stand by its ally Israel.
“Because of what he has said, Secretary Kerry gives aid and comfort to the vicious anti-Israel movements that are campaigning for Israel’s delegitimization and ostracism. Now, they will be able to quote Secretary Kerry to bolster their talking points.
“Secretary Kerry can no longer serve the interests of America or of its ally Israel. It is time that he were gone.”