By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
It would be unfair to think ill of John Kerry because he is the grandson of an apostate Jew, who changed his name from Cohen to Kerry and pretended to be an Irish Catholic, even if such a pedigree has inevitably shaped Kerry’s views towards Israel. After all, you cannot choose your parents, grandparents or any relative. But he can be ridiculed and lambasted for making one of the dumbest comments in recent history, one that if analyzed shows either intense animus towards Israel and Jews, a warped view of life and personal responsibility or all of the above.
Intruding where he is unwelcome, has nothing to offer and can only prop up another aging anti-American dictator, Kerry is trying to “calm” tensions in Israel. He offered this gem: “We continue to urge everybody to exercise restraint and restrain from any kind of self-help in terms of the violence, and Israel has every right in the world to protect its citizens, as it has been, from random acts of violence.”
Forgive the run-on sentence (this is an administration populated by people who don’t speak intelligibly outside the four ells of the teleprompter) and parse the words themselves.
“We continue to urge everybody to exercise restraint…” Surely Kerry must know that asking the attackers and the defenders to exercise restraint is a certain formula for a massacre if the aggressors choose, strangely, not to heed Kerry’s importuning and the attacked, foolishly, comply. He must be able to intuit, on some level, the repugnance implicit in the moral equivalence of the violence used by the barbarians to stab and shoot innocent Jews and the violence used by the civilized to thwart them. The equation alone is so monstrous that only malevolent, spiteful minds – of which the world, clearly, has many – could utter such drivel and presume it sensible and reasonable. It is tantamount to saying: “Jews, die! And don’t kill anybody while in the process of dying.”
This inversion of morality placates and emboldens the evildoers – a clear Obama administration goal transparent in its dealing with Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and the Palestinian Authority – and can even be understood as evidence of the world’s corrupt double standard towards Israel and the Jewish people. It doesn’t make it right – in fact, it is very wrong and abhorrent – but not atypical enough to warrant any attention. But Kerry continued to call on all sides – but he meant the Jews – to “restrain from any kind of self-help in terms of the violence…” Before scrutinizing this breathtaking inanity, it is only fair to include Kerry’s succeeding clause, in which he conceded (reluctantly?) that “Israel has every right in the world to protect its citizens, as it has been, from random acts of violence.” How gracious of him.
Doesn’t Israel’s right to “protect its citizens” negate Kerry’s call for restraint on all sides? How can a nation defend its citizens by exercising restraint, unless the true defense that Kerry is seeking – one that will end all conflict – is Israel’s surrender to its enemies? That would, at least in his mind, end the cause for violence, notwithstanding the minor detail that Jews were savagely massacred in Hebron in 1929, across the land of Israel in 1936-1939, and victimized by Arab terror in the 1950’s and 1960s – in the former cases long before there was a Jewish state and in the latter cases long before the ”settlements” became the “obstacle to peace.” So the unctuous call for restraint, i.e., do not kill the attacker nor harm him in any way, is nothing more than a bland acquiescence to the mass murder of Jews. There is no quantity of liberal Jewish palaver about how great to Israel a friend Kerry is, was, or will be that can reverse the implications of his call to shackle the innocent so the murderous can have free reign. His moral compass is askew.
Even the phrase “random acts of violence” – the same gibberish uttered by Obama after Jews were massacred in a kosher supermarket in Paris earlier this year (where’s the last place one would think to find Jews? Obama: A kosher deli, of course) – understates the problem and does not properly assign blame to the perpetrators of these murders and attempted murders. The acts of violence might be “random” in terms of victims selected for carnage but they are not “random” in the sense of being haphazard or unsystematic. The Arab enemy is attacking innocent Jews and trying to slaughter as many as they can because of the blood lust for Jewish life, the cult of death and glorification of martyrdom that permeates the world of radical Islam, and their rejection of any semblance of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel or even any non-Islamic sovereignty over any territory claimed for Islam.
That is not “random” at all, but rather a focused effort to rid the Middle East first and then the world of any Jewish national and perhaps even individual presence. This is genocidaljihad, and the hackneyed response of liberal Jews and peaceniks has always been to attack anyone who points this out and exposes how foolishly misguided they have been. In the alternative, they seek reasons for the violence that rationalize and even justify Arab terror. Those pretexts always include the lack of a peace process, the building of settlements, the attempt to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, the lack of rainfall, etc. (For all the false clamor about Israel’s desire to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, I really wish they would.) Those who think that the genocidal jihadists can be placated – like Obama, Kerry and their acolytes, even some in Israel – should really not be allowed near a microphone or in any building where the crafting of foreign policy is taking place. They are dangerous people.
All of which leads to the one of the dumbest statements of the year, a year in which a healthy competition for that title is ongoing. He urged all sides to “restrain from any kind of self-help.” In context, Kerry must have been urging Israelis to ignore their government (the same government that he conceded has the right to “protect its citizens”), as that government has urged all Israelis who possess firearms to bear them in the streets and with them subdue and/or eliminate any terrorist who dares to raise his hand against an innocent person. In essence, “Israel” has the right of self-defense, but not the “people of Israel.” Huh?
But who in his right mind would ever demand that someone not engage in “self-help”? Answer: only a person on the political left who feels that government is responsible foreverything in the lives of the citizens. It reminded me first of Ronald Reagan’s quip: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” But Kerry’s sentiment is worse than bizarre: Who ever tells people not to help themselves? New Jersey is the only state in the Union where citizens are not permitted to pump their own gasoline, and that too is peculiar. Who would tell someonenot to defend his own life but to wait for someone else to come along and defend it for him? And if it’s too late, tsk tsk tsk, and we will shed crocodile tears and call for an end to the cycle of violence. That is beyond bizarre. Underneath that nice head of hair, what is Kerry thinking?
Self-help is the foundation of personal responsibility. The very suggestion that one should “restrain from any kind of self-help” is paternalistic, and when the self-help is actually defending one’s life it is downright cruel, and in this context, nothing less malicious. It is clear from the reaction in the Arab world and their fellow travelers in the West that they are distressed that the Arab attackers in the recent wave of Arab terror have mostly been killed while trying to kill Jews, rather than being captured, arrested, tried, convicted, incarcerated and then shortly thereafter released in a prisoner exchange – a pattern to which they became accustomed and mostly enjoyed. Maybe that is the change in status quo that has them all riled up.
Kerry’s musings show his evil intent, and his offensive ramblings prove his irrelevance to the protection of both Jewish life and Western civilization. Israel needs a stronger hand, and it needs more – not less – citizen involvement in self-defense and taking the war to the Arab terrorists.
Kerry, for his own good and for the good of the world and the Jewish people, should just go to Iran and help them build their nuclear weapon. If his engineering skills are as keen as his proficiency in diplomacy and his coherence in thought, the world will be able to rest easily for decades.