Kerry to Israel: A State Cannot Be Both Jewish and Democratic
by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
December 30, 2016
Our secretary of state might want to review the constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan before lecturing Israel.
Our ineffable secretary of state, John Kerry, delivered another parting shot at Israel today, offering the Obama administration's "vision" for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. There are many things to be said about it - not least that Kerry's speech, like last week's venomous, Obama-orchestrated United Nations resolution on which it builds, is something "pro-Israel" Democrats make sure to do after Election Day.
For now, I just want to highlight one gem (noted by Michael Warren at The Weekly Standard).
Kerry did not mention that Jordan was never subjected to international pressure to grant the Palestinians their own state during the 19 years that Jordan occupied Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem; nor did he acknowledge that the Palestinians would long ago have had their own state if they had recognized Israel's right to exist and abandoned jihadist terror. Leaving all that aside, Kerry accused the Israeli government of undermining any hope of a two-state solution. In this context of claiming that Israeli policy was "leading toward one state, or perpetual occupation," Kerry admonished: "If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both."
Presumably, Kerry was referring to the fact that Israel has a significant Arab-Muslim population. He conveniently did not mention, since it must never be mentioned, the vow of Mahmoud Abbas (the Palestinian leader Kerry sees as Israel's "peace partner") that, "In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - soldier or civilian - on our lands."
Implicitly, of course, if Kerry is saying that a country with a Muslim minority cannot maintain its Jewish character and still abide by democratic principles, then neither can the United States maintain its Judeo-Christian character and still abide by democratic principles - notwithstanding that our Judeo-Christian character is the basis for our belief in the equal dignity of all men and women, a foundational democratic principle. It is a principle one does not find in classical Islam, the law of which explicitly elevates Muslims over non-Muslims and men over women.
I thought it might be interesting, then, to review the Constitution of Afghanistan, which the State Department had a major role in drafting. Here are Articles One through Three:
Article One: Afghanistan shall be an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state.
Article Two: The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Followers of other faiths shall be free within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their religious rituals.
Article Three: No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.
Then there's Article Six:
The state shall be obligated to create a prosperous and progressive society based on social justice, preservation of human dignity, protection of human rights, realization of democracy, attainment of national unity as well as equality between all peoples and tribes and balance development of all areas of the country. [Emphasis added.]
A "progressive society based on social justice" that is both Islamic and democratic? According to the State Department, no problem.
Then there is the Constitution of Iraq, the drafting of which the State Department similarly oversaw. Its preamble and first article assert that the nation is "looking with confidence to the future through a republican, federal, democratic, pluralistic system," and that the Republic of Iraq's "system of government is republican, representative, Parliamentary, and democratic." There follows Article 2:
First: Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation:
A. No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.
B. No law that contradicts the principles of democracy may be established.
C. No law that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution may be established.
Second: This Constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice such as Christians, Yazedis, and Mandi Sabeans.
Note that second clause carefully. It assures that Iraq will maintain its Islamic identity no matter what. It further reaffirms that, when it comes to an Islamic country, the State Department believes a country can be fiercely Muslim in character, yet be a democratic republic that respects the rights of religious minorities.
Of course, as things have worked out, we've seen that even Muslim minorities are not granted equal rights in these "Islamic democracies." Concurrently, we watch Turkey, which gets less democratic and less respectful of minority rights as it becomes more Islamic. It is only in Israel, a Jewish state, that Muslims live with full democratic rights.
Yet, in Obama-world, Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic. Evidently, you need sharia for that.
A version of this piece also appeared on National Review Online.