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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Condoleeza Rice, Martin Luther King and Annapolis

Danny in Tokyo has pointed me to an article in Haaretz which is rather difficult to find from their home page (I eventually got the link from Danny and then got to the article on my other computer by searching the author's name on the home page). It explains a lot about why Condoleeza Rice is so obsessed with the 'Palestinians.' And while I believe that Martin Luther King would disagree with her equating the civil rights movement with the 'Palestinian' cause, the fact that she has done so is a result of the failure of Israeli politicians and diplomats to make the case for Israel over the last 35 years dating back to the Yom Kippur War. The issue now is how to deal with the reality.
When Condoleezza Rice talks about the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel, she sees in her mind's eye the struggle of African Americans for equal rights, which culminated in the period of her Alabama childhood.

Rice is very aware of political sensitivity, and avoids making such comparisons in public speeches and interviews, where she keeps to the official list of talking points. But in private, she talks about the [Unfortunately, a key passage is missing here. CiJ]

One can guess that the settlements, the checkpoints and the separation fences created by Israel on the West Bank bring back unpleasant memories of Jim Crow racial separation in the South. Her empathy for the suffering of the Palestinians under occupation goes beyond the strict interests of the administration in promoting the status of the United States in the Middle East and has the touch of her personal experience.


Now, Rice is comparing Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayad, to Martin Luther King. Abbas is committed to the struggle for Palestinian independence, and like Abbas [probably should be King. CiJ] he is opposed to terror and violence. Just as Tony Blair, the Quartet envoy and former British prime minister, compares the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, so does Rice recall the struggle for civil rights in the United States when she speaks about the Palestinian boy who needs new hope instead of aspiring to commit a suicide attack.
Read it all.

The fundamental problem is that Israel is playing right into the hands of the comparison between Abu Mazen and Fayad on the one hand and King on the other by its continued pretense that there is a difference between Fatah and Hamas and that Fatah does not support terrorism or violence. The key to changing the comparison in Rice's mind would be to demonstrate to Rice that the Fatah leadership supports terrorism, that it is not committed to non-violence except as another weapon in its arsenal (if that), that its opposition to terror is only lip service to Western decision makers - including Rice herself - and that the Fatah-led 'Palestinian Authority' is unwilling to live in peace and coexistence alongside the Jewish state. Though Rice is extremely stubborn, she can be convinced (or enough people around her can be convinced that she can be forced to go along), but to do it the government would have to drop the game that Abu Mazen is a 'good guy.' In other words, to convince Rice to stop obsessing with the 'Palestinians,' the Israeli government itself must make its goal the survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish state and not the creation of a 'Palestinian' state reichlet. Here are some of the arguments that can be made.

1. The continued 'Palestinian' focus on the 'right of return' to 'Israel proper' shows an unwillingness to accept the existence of a Jewish state of any size and a continued desire to undo the creation of the State of Israel by transferring people from throughout the Arab world into whatever is left of Israel after a 'settlement' is reached.

2. The continued demand for all of Jerusalem and the unwillingness to accept any Jewish presence in 'east Jerusalem' - including at the Western Wall itself - shows that the conflict is a religious conflict at its core, and that militant Islam will never accept a compromise that leaves Israel in control of any of the land that has the most religious significance to Jews even if the 'Palestinians' themselves were willing to accept such a compromise.

3. Abu Mazen's continuing obsession with aiding and seeking the release of 'security prisoners' - who are nothing like blacks imprisoned in the US for civil disobedience in the 60's (and Rice must be shown that) - shows that Abu Mazen continues to support terror and terrorists.

4. The continued promotion of violence and hatred by Abu Mazen's media shows that from Abu Mazen's viewpoint, the war is far from over, and violence and terrorism remain a viable option.

5. Abu Mazen's continuing flirtations with Hamas show that he is far from abandoning 'armed struggle.' Denials aside, when there is this much smoke there is generally a fire to be found.

6. Finally, there are Abu Mazen's own words - uttered recently - that call into question his commitment (or at least the duration of his commitment) to non-violence. In other words, if Abu Mazen is committed to non-violence, that commitment is quite new and has to be stacked against many years in which he promoted violence against Israel and Jews. Below are several examples taken from a post I did the day after President Bush's July speech:
On October 3, 2006, Abu Mazen told al-Arabiya and 'Palestinian' television, "It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel."


On January 11, 2007, Abu Mazen was reported by the Jerusalem Post to have said, “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation ... Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation.” And on February 5, 2007, Abu Mazen said, “We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada. We want a political partnership with Hamas.”


On January 11, 2007, referring to the so-called ‘right of return’ of 'Palestinian refugees' and their millions of descendants which, if implemented would end Israel as a Jewish state, Abu Mazen said, "The issue of the refugees is non-negotiable.”


You also said that those who want to attend your conference have to commit to all previous agreements between the parties. But those agreements require Abu Mazen to disarm all terrorists and fight terrorism. According to a statement that he made on May 26, 2006, Abu Mazen regards terrorists as heroes and in January 2005 he said that disarming them is "a line that may not be crossed."

All of these statements were made in the last two years, most of them within the last six months.
How can it be claimed that Abu Mazen supports a two-state solution, rejects violence, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and commits to all previous agreements between the parties as set out by President Bush in his July 16 speech? How can the 'conference' take place when the 'Palestinian' leadership does not meet the criteria set out by President Bush for attendance?

Secretary Rice needs to be shown that unlike Martin Luther King, for Abu Mazen and Salam Fayad, non-violence is not a commitment, but just another weapon in the arsenal. For Abu Mazen and Salam Fayad, non-violence is not a commitment - it's lip service. Will Israel's political leadership take up the challenge and show Secretary Rice the truth? I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.

Update 6:35 PM

Boker Tov Boulder contacted Haaretz writer Aluf Benn about his basis for the article from which I quoted above. His response was
I cannot name my sources, and as I have written, Rice did not speak in public about these matters. But I rely on firm ground.
She also got the crucial missing half sentence in the second paragraph quoted above. The second paragraph should read:
Rice is very aware of political sensitivity, and avoids making such comparisons in public speeches and interviews, where she keeps to the official list of talking points. But in private, she talks about the segregated buses of her childhood.
The highlighted part is what was missing in my original.

Hat Tip: J. Lichty


At 6:12 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

To what degree is this what Rice really thinks and to what degree is Aluf Benn ascribing his own views to her. Unless I read the article carelessly, there wasn't a single quote of hers or incident that supposedly influenced her that he pointed to.

I'm not saying that Dr. Rice doesn't have an unhealthy fascination with Palestinian statehood; just I'm not sure that she views the cause in such lofty terms as Benn does.

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I think the quote was in the paragraph that was missing. I will keep an eye on Haaretz's web site and update if they fill it in.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

He does ascribe those feelings to her without a direct quote, but according to BTB he's insisting that we trust him. Interesting.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

she talks about the segregated buses of her childhood.

I would think that she would support Israel then, because the Palestinians like to segregate busses from their passengers.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Regardless of what Rice does or does not think, she is faithfully executing her President's policy.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ebony Magazine had a lengthy interview a couple years ago with Rice, where she discussed her upbringing, race, and the civil rights movement, here's a link to the article: Ebony_Rice_interview

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

I don't think this article is accurate. What is driving Rice is the realpolitik of the Middle East, Arab oil, Arabs owning 200 billion in US treasury notes, and the need for Arab cooperation is getting Iraq up and running--and the fact that every time the US seeks cooperation, the Palestinian issue comes up first and precludes any further discussion.

The intellectual and moral case for Israel is clear cut--as is the realization that if there were no Israel the Middle East would be so unstable and so chaotic that world markets would go crazy. It's the same tightrope the US has been walking for years.

Rice makes those comparisons because there is otherwise NO moral reason for a Palestinian state. And she doesn't make these statements in private because she is smart enough to know that in her position, private doesn't exist.

She is particularly set on trying to achieve these goals now because Fatah is terrified of Hamas.


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