Jerusalem: Capital Cut-Up Kerry's Latest Joke
Twenty-five years ago, then-senator John Kerry cracked up a business audience in Los Angeles with a joke.
Responding to the victory of president-elect George H.W. Bush and his much derided running mate, Kerry said "If anything happens to George Bush, the Secret Service has orders to shoot Dan Quayle." One has only to imagine the uproar today if a conservative had said the same thing about Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But those were more civil times and Kerry had to issue an apology. It was instantly accepted and everybody, as they say, moved on.
Well, that was the only joke ever attributed to the normally dour John Kerry. Until now. As President Obama's Secretary of State, John Kerry wants to preside over a final settlement of the thorny Arab-Israeli dispute. He wants to lead off with another capital cut-up. This time, however, the idea is to divide Jerusalem.
He is working against a deadline. He wants to achieve this in his tenure as secretary. This would make a nice opening bid for a Nobel Peace Prize. And since the only Americans who seem to be eligible for Nobel Peace Prizes are those like Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Barack Obama -- Democratic Party nominees for president -- there's not a moment to lose.
Republicans, too, have succumbed on occasion to the Fix-it-Now delusion. In 2007, President George W. Bush sought a grand peace conference to kick-start negotiations for an end to the Mideast turmoil. President Bush invited representatives from many Arab states to join Israel in Annapolis, Md. The peace conference was held in Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy. This is a very imposing building with shiny parquet floors and beautiful Bohemian crystal chandeliers. Set up for a peace conference, with green baize-covered tables, the scene was impressive, even august.
There was only one problem: the Arab delegates declined to enter the building through the same portal as the Israeli delegates. And they conspicuously folded their arms when the Israeli delegates addressed the conference.
It was not to be a harbinger of Mideast peace and harmony. Far from it. President Bush banked a lot on the idea of a "Roadmap for Peace." The only problem is: in order for a roadmap to be of any value, there has to be a road. How can there be a road to peace if the Palestinian Arabs are determined to eradicate the State of Israel?
Representatives of Fatah, the core group of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was listed for decades as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. Those heirs of Yasser Arafat, may promise, in English, to stop inciting their people against Israel. But those promises are never kept. Schoolchildren in the PLO-dominated areas of the West Bank are routinely taught -- in Arabic -- to become "martyrs." They are encouraged to dress up as suicide bombers. What a hideous thought. What a horrible thing to teach children. It reminds us of the mournful statement of the late Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir: "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for making us kill their children."
The State Department has never explained why the PLO was taken off the list of terrorist groups. Nor has the State Department informed us why, if we have been fighting terrorism around the world for a decade and more, it makes sense to create another "state," another voting member of the UN whose only political expression has been terrorism.
Will cutting up Jerusalem and awarding major portions of this Holy City to the heirs of Yasser Arafat, advance peace? We do not think so.
Islamic militants have attacked all symbols of other religions. On the West Bank in 2000, Islamists attacked the Tomb of Joseph. Why? Because this burial place for the man who saved Egypt from famine reminded people of the Hebrew presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years. In Afghanistan, the Taliban in 2001 destroyed 2,000-year old statues of Buddha. They reduced them to rubble using artillery. In Iraq in 2006, Sunni jihadists bombed the Shiite Golden Mosque -- sacred site for this Muslim sect.
For Christians, there is this grim precedent: In 2002, jihadists seized the Church of the Nativity. They held it for weeks, fouling the birthplace of Jesus and holding Christian monks hostage.
"O Little Town of Bethlehem/How Still We See Thee Lie." Not since the PLO came to town. Those who took over this Christian holy place used the pages of sacred scripture as toilet paper.
Mr. Secretary: Is this the kind of scene you want played out on Jerusalem's Via Dolorosa, where Jesus carried His Holy Cross? Is this what you want to happen to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus' body lay?
Why should Americans, especially American Christians, support John Kerry's dangerous plan to carve up Jerusalem? Why should we subsidize his vainglorious quest for his Nobel Prize? Why send yet another secular liberal on a taxpayer-financed Mideast ego trip?
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are Senior Fellows at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.