US Secretary of State John Kerry may lack that mischievous twinkle ever-present in Vice President Joe Biden’s eyes, but, despite his seemingly earnest demeanor, Kerry is no less likely than Biden to put his foot in his mouth.
Take, for example, the analogy that Kerry drew between the Boston bombing victims and the thugs who were killed in a violent battle aboard the Mavi Marmara as a result of Turkey’s 2010 provocative attempt to breach Israel’s maritime blockade on Gaza.
Even the ultra-unfriendly UN had pronounced that blockade eminently legitimate.
True, Israel quasi-apologized but that was due to American pressure and not the rights and wrongs of the case. Realpolitik considerations eclipsed the truth and had overridden our national honor. Nonetheless, that still doesn’t render the heavily armed and pugnacious Turks as innocent as the eight-year-old child and the two young women murdered near the marathon finish line. They merely cheered on the runners. They didn’t provoke, nab, bludgeon, stab or seek to kill anyone.
But what’s a crucial difference vis-à-vis diplomatic manipulation? And so Kerry solemnly informed the press at an Istanbul news conference recently that he sympathized with the pain of those who lost loved ones on the Marmara. This, he stated, was particularly so in light of the bomb attacks in his home city of Boston.
“I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that,” Kerry assured his Turkish audience in reference to the Mavi Marmara.
But “sensitive” is hardly the adjective to describe the moral equivalence which Kerry constructed. Grossly “insensitive” is more like it. The only thing which the Boston victims and the Mavi Marmara’s aggressors had in common is death.
If Kerry’s premise is that all loss of life is the same, regardless of context and circumstances, then he might as well have extended his heartfelt condolences to the parents of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who cold-heartedly murdered the marathon spectators. After all, he, too, is dead and his folks must be unhappy. They perceive themselves as the aggrieved party and blame the American government for a conspiratorial plot – just as the Turks blame Israel.
The aggressor posing as the victim doesn’t create a valid parallel.
It doesn’t stand to reason that Kerry is so obtuse as to not realize the difference between innocent victims and belligerent attackers. His analogy is plainly loaded with hypocrisy. There’s no gentler way to put it. It is what it is.
To be sure, Kerry’s bogus sensitivity is by no means the only insincerity which reactions to the terrorist outrage in Boston have highlighted.
When Israeli innocents are targeted, there is never any comparable outpouring of compassion and commiseration, even when young children are callously cut down. Indeed, their ages and identities are rarely mentioned. They are depersonalized and referred to as faceless “Israelis” or as generic individuality-deficient “settlers.”
The impression is that they vaguely somehow had it coming for being where they were, while Bostonians don’t deserve similar atrocities. The fact of course is that nobody anywhere deserves to be targeted by barbaric zealots. But at best this is only acknowledged in fleeting lip-service. Most often, when it comes to Israel, even that pretence is missing.
The London Marathon, which followed hot on the heels of its ill-fated Boston forerunner, provides a cogent case in point. It was touching to see thousands of participants, donning black ribbons, uphold 30-seconds of silence in memory of the Boston victims. It was a fitting and poignant gesture.
But when London hosted the 2012 Olympics just months earlier, the very notion of a minute’s silence to commemorate the Israeli sportsmen slain by Fatah terrorists 40 years ago at the Munich Olympics was nixed.
True, the shock over the Boston outrage was fresh. Moreover, different organizers are responsible for each of the two London events. Yet even so, the underlying impression suggests that there are those who deserve sympathy and others who deserve it less or not at all. Still back in 1972, when the savagery in Munich was played out before the entire watching world, it was hard to avoid implicit insinuations that Israelis are pesky spoilsports who disrupt everything.
Last summer, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge unmistakably bristled with annoyance at Israeli killjoys as he refused to budge on the homage to the Israeli Olympians. Driving the point home, Rogge insisted that he “cannot politicize the Olympics.” He declared: “We feel that the Opening Ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.”
In actual fact Rogge never passed up an opportunity to appease the Arabs, lest they launch a boycott or worse. And the Arabs understood and expressed appreciation for the Olympic Committee’s capitulation.
Fatah honcho Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association, phrased it thus in his thank-you message to Rogge: “Sport is a bridge for love, unification and for spreading peace among the nations, and it must not be a cause for divisiveness and for the spreading of racism.”
Rajoub cloyingly ticked all the de rigueur boxes of the sentimental claptrap that has become the hallmark of progressive prattle. He after all came out for “love” and “unification” and against “divisiveness” and “racism.”
Clearly, if we take Rajoub’s reaffirmation of goodwill to all men to its logical conclusion, we’re bound to infer that the brutal massacre smack dab during the Munich Olympics was praiseworthy. For those who forget, German neo-Nazis provided logistical support, while the bloodbath was bankrolled by Mahmoud Abbas, today’s purportedly moderate president of the Palestinian Authority.
Obviously the murder of the 11 Israelis (replete with the torture and mutilation so frequently practiced by Arab “freedom fighters” under assorted monikers for the past century and half) underpinned the “bridge for love,” underscored “unification” and “spread peace among the nations.” However, as per Rajoub’s lofty broadmindedness, remembering the victims of Arab atrocities is tantamount to “a cause for divisiveness and for the spreading of racism.”
Bottom line: Murder is good. Remembrance is bad.
Far from Rajoub’s milieu, a calculated reluctance to retain information and rationally face up to reality has almost become official policy. This is especially so when a given reality is incompatible with popularly promoted multiculturalism and political correctness.
This isn’t just harmless self-delusion. Down the line, PC posturing facilitates terrorism. It breeds an assumption that everyone is as well-meaning as Western liberals. The PC mindset allows liberal values and wishful thinking to supersede common sense.
Accordingly, American security personnel will harass elderly European nuns at airports rather than check Mideasterners who mustn’t be offended. And so, not to cause excessive offense, the warnings of foreign governments aren’t dealt with seriously and aren’t relayed to local law enforcement agencies.
In the name of tolerance, the intolerant ramblings of religious radicals are pooh-poohed. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was within his rights to proclaim that Jews are pigs who deserve to be slaughtered, but it’s unseemly for such hate-mongering to raise red flags and prompt extra vigilance.
It wasn’t that Tamerlan passed under America’s radar but that the radar was mulishly averted away from him in the hope that things wouldn’t go too wrong.
And when they do go horribly wrong, as at the Boston Marathon, broadminded public opinion is stunned and can’t fathom why. It’s as if closing one’s eyes to evil should make evil go away. When evil fails to obligingly cooperate with high-minded expectations, there is dazed disbelief.
It’s hard to digest the fact that malevolence persists even in benevolent settings. The American perception is that America’s heterogeneous society is inherently welcoming and munificent. Immigrants, therefore, should be grateful and loyal. But this hypothesis presumes that all immigrants equally exude appreciation and goodwill.
Hence it’s uncool to broach the possibility that some Muslim newcomers – and even their American-reared descendents – don’t want to integrate, that they aim to conquer and dominate rather than blend in.
In 2009, Fort Hood shooter, US Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, shouted “Allahu Akbar” while spraying bullets all around him. Nevertheless, the Obama administration preferred not to categorize the slaying of 13 and the wounding of 30 others as act of terrorism motivated by Islamic fervor. It classified the mass homicide as “workplace violence.”
This was despite the fact that a Joint Terrorism Task Force had been aware of email communications between Hasan and the Yemen-based fanatic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Hasan’s intensifying radicalization had been apparent for several years but it was socially taboo to squawk and certainly to monitor.
Another al-Awlaki protégé was the “underwear bomber,” Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. His own father had tipped off the CIA about him but Abdulmutallab’s name wasn’t added to the American No-Fly List, nor was his US visa ever revoked. This enabled him to almost murder 289 passengers on board a Detroit-bound Northwestern flight shortly after Hasan’s exploit.
Similarly, there was knee-jerk predisposition to belittle recurring Russian advisories to both the FBI and CIA about Tamerlan’s extremist links and overlook his infatuation with al-Awlaki and another incendiary cleric, Feiz Muhammad. Later, of course, after the Tsarnaev brothers placed bombs at the feet of children, there was wholesale sanctimonious bewilderment about their motives.
But on White House orders vocabulary like “jihad” or “Islamic terror” has been erased from America’s official lexicon.
Holding on to a convenient untruth becomes preferable to facing the unsightly truth. This inclination becomes all the more pronounced abroad in regard to Israel, whose self-defense was equated by Kerry with the Boston bombers’ handiwork.
This isn’t merely dishonest. It’s a moral failure.
Double-standards toward Israel won’t keep America safe from predations. They’ll only embolden the jihadists. Kerry would do well to learn and memorize Chaim Weizmann’s wake-up call to Anthony Eden after Kristallnacht:
“The fire from the synagogues may easily spread to Westminster Abbey…. It means the beginning of anarchy and the destruction of the basis of civilization. The powers which stand looking on, without taking measures to prevent the crime, will one day be themselves visited by severe punishment.”