Jewish Journal

Diplomacy - Quotes to Remember in Dangerous Times

by Rabbi John Rosove

January 5, 2014 | 7:50 am

As Secretary of State John Kerry, along with able diplomats such as US Middle East negotiator Martin Indyk, wade into the waters of Middle East diplomacy, I thought the following quotes are enlightening.

“Negotiation in the classic diplomatic sense assumes parties are more anxious to agree than to disagree.” -Secretary of State Dean Acheson (1893-1971)

“You cannot negotiate with people who say what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable.” -President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

“Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.” Mario Puzo, The Godfather (1920-1999)

“Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.” -Bill Keller, Journalist (b. 1949)

“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war–war.” -Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

"Diplomacy: the art of restraining power."  -Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger (b. 1923)

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” -Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

"All war represents a failure of diplomacy." -Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn, British MP and Cabinet Minister (b. 1925)

"Diplomacy is, perhaps, one element of the U.S. government that should not be subject to the demands of 'open government'; whenever it works, it is usually because it is done behind closed doors. But this may be increasingly had to achieve in the age of Twittering bureaucrats." -Evgeny Morozov, Russian-American writer (b. 1984)  

“Force is all conquering, but its victories are short-lived.” -President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” -President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

"Certainly the international community is putting a lot of pressure on Iran and making clear that its nuclear program must stop. If it stops with the sanctions, the combinations of sanctions, diplomacy, other pressures, I, as the prime minister of Israel, will be the happiest person in the world." -Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (b. 1949)


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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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