It’s been interesting seeing Kerry’s difference in tone in an Executive Branch position (as opposed to his time as a Senator), and this is perhaps the most truthful, critical moment of his career thus far. An excerpt:
“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,” Kerry told the group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan. “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, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”
Never mind that other people, even Israeli political figures, have used this word, Kerry apologized because of the resulting shitstorm. Still, at least a few people are recognizing that what he said is true. Oh, and the other (unstated) alternative to the two-state or “peaceful” one-state solution is that Israel’s “Squeeze Box” strategy continues (and accelerates), until there are no significant numbers of Palestinians living in Israel. This is also incompatible with a sane and lasting solution.
One thing that does bug me is that at several points in the articles above I’ve seen that Israel’s strategy is somehow incompatible with our values as Americans. While the actions taken (both military and civilian) are incompatible with my values (as are the attacks on civilians engaged in by the militant Palestinians), saying that turning a substantial segment of the population into second-class citizens is incompatible with our values as Americans. While we are no longer operating with the ruthlessness we were during the pre-Civil Rights era, we are no paragons of virtue, and risk a slow-motion fall back into the madness not unlike the post-Reconstruction Gilded Age, with religion**, race, class, and gender trumping everything that makes us individuals. The class that writes our national narrative barely remembers most of us as human.
In any case: I don’t know how Kerry ended his speech, but it makes me want to thank Israel for showing us some of the darkest aspects of ourselves in a mirror. Not only do I not want them to continue down that road, I don’t want us to, either.
* In the story “Squeeze Box,” by Phillip E. High, an alien race invades and occupies Earth, forcing the surviving humans into a small enclave. Over time, the aliens claim more and more territory, while making it clear that to resist their territorial expansion will mean the extermination of all remaining human life on Earth. The protagonist, the current human leader, speculates that such a refusal is precisely the end-game the aliens are hoping for, as it will give them a pretext of aggression on the part of the humans in response to “entirely reasonable” demands.
** an often-forgotten hierarchical system