Jewish Journal

This week in power: Apartheid comment and Hamas future

by Danny Groner

April 30, 2014 | 8:46 pm

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Kerry's wording
Secretary of State John Kerry "touched a diplomatic live wire last week when he predicted an apartheid situation if Israel and the Palestinians fail to agree on a two-state solution for their decades-long conflict," reported CNN. Commentators sounded off: "Honesty is a rare commodity in the Arab-Israeli peace process. It's easy to interpret Kerry's words as an accusation and Abbas's as a deflection. But if each side allows that the other may be sincerely seeking a peaceful resolution — as it must, at some point, for the peace process to move forward — then this battle over words might not be the worst way to start," wrote Danielle Weiner-Bronner at The Wire.

There were a series of measured responses, including Bloomberg View's Jeffrey Goldberg. "But if Kerry, following Barak’s lead, wants to warn about a possible apartheid future for Israel, I’m not going to condemn him as anti-Israel. Israeli leaders must open their minds to the possibility that he has their long-term interests at heart," Goldberg said. Others were less supportive. "Although prominent Israelis, such as two former prime ministers named Ehud, have used the a-word, Kerry should know that for the current government it’s a conversation-ender. In fact, he almost certainly does know that, which is why he only said it privately. That was pretty clearly botched, then," countered Marc Tracy at The New Republic.

What to do about Hamas?
Middle East peace talks stalled, again, "because of a reconciliation pact reached between the Palestine Liberation Organization and its rival Hamas, the Islamic militant group, Israel," according to The New York Times. This comes with a host of problems, said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post: "Hamas is indeed the terrorist organization Israel and the United States say it is. Its opposition to the mere existence of Israel is stated not just in the usual terms of Palestinian grievance or nationalism but also by a remarkable and stupendously stupid anti-Semitism." Others disagreed. "While it’s true Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization, the fact remains without Hamas and Fatah coming together, there can never be a Palestinian state, and thus no comprehensive peace treaty with Israel recognizing it as a Jewish state," wrote Tarek Fatah in the Toronto Sun. "That Hamas agreed to recognize Abbas as the legitimate president of the Palestinian Authority was progress, but Netanyahu chose to see the glass as half empty."

"But one truth should be emphasized to both sides: Peace in the region is the only way to create a better future for coming generations. Achieving such a peace won't require forgetting the past, but it will require putting it aside to craft a more just future for all the region's residents," said Christopher J. Fettweis in a Los Angeles Times editorial.

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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