John Kerry and the Truth

by David Pryce-Jones

Moshe Ya’alon is probably the best minister of defense that Israel has had since Moshe Dayan. Clear-minded and determined, he has experience of military combat and its civilian equivalent of domestic politics. He must have known what he was doing when he spoke his mind to a journalist about John Kerry. In other words, he arranged a handy leak.

Kerry is probably the least impressive secretary of state since . . . oh never mind, there are contenders. With the Arab world in turmoil, and half a dozen wars shaping up over the horizon, this is the moment Kerry chooses to lean on Israel to make concessions that imperil its future. In Ya’alon’s opinion, the American plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on. What we know of it is a proposal that Israel abandons the West Bank and relies for security on technology. A lot of use that is going to be against salafists and jihadis intent on one-man suicide bombings.

Kerry, Ya’alon says, “can’t teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians.” Which of them is the most believable on the score? The Palestinians are split into two irreconcilable armed camps, Fatah and the PLO under Mahmoud Abbas on the West Bank, and Hamas under Islamists in Gaza. Ya’alon clinches his case with the observation that the Israeli army is all that maintains Abbas in power. Hamas is waiting to stage a coup. Remove the Israelis and you remove Abbas, and so you have a war with unforeseeable consequences.

Ya’alon is particularly criticized for saying that Kerry is “acting out an incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling.” Could this be expressed better? He’s been out to the Middle East ten times. His fancies about the future delights of peace are met persistently by Palestinian insistence that they will never accept a Jewish state.

The State Department finds Ya’alon’s analysis “offensive and inappropriate.” It is as good an example as any of the sad fact that people in positions of power go to any length to hide behind words and avoid analysis of their deeds and misdeeds. Ya’alon told the truth, that’s what’s upsetting them. “What is truth? said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer.” 


David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.