By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
In shocking comments recently revealed, then US Secretary of State described the stabbing intifada in 2015 as “non-violence.” According to a report on Israel’s Channel 10 Kerry was speaking to an audience in the UAE. “The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence…When the intifada took place they delivered non-violence in the West Bank.” He went on to claim that the Israeli public was at fault for not being thankful enough. “This is overlooked by the general [Israeli] populations because it is not a topic of discussion…Why? Because the majority of the cabinet currently in the Israeli government has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state.”
Kerry was referring to the stabbing intifada that began in 2015. According to data compiled by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 59 people were killed in terror attacks and 827 wounded since September 2015. This included 186 stabbings, 132 attempted stabbings, 163 shootings and 60 ramming attacks, as well as one bus bombing. This is the “non-violence,” that Kerry praised? How many more deaths would be defined as “violence.”
He claims the Israeli public “overlooked” this. Did they overlook it, or perhaps they were distracted by daily stabbings?
Kerry is a representative of the low expectations neo-orientalism, whereby if everyone isn’t celebrating terror then supposedly they deserve praise for “non-violence.” By his logic the US South was “non-violent” in the 1950s because apparently most people were not involved in lynchings? Kerry misses the whole logic of terror. It isn’t about just the number of attacks, it is about the fact it terrorizes a society. Did Palestinian society embrace “non-violence”? Weren’t most stabbing attacks celebrated in media and the perpetrators hailed as “martyrs”? Didn’t cartoons and social media celebrate them and urge them on. The fact that most of society did not join in the attacks is evidence not of great support for “non-violence,” but rather no interest in engaging in a widespread conflict with Israel. There is apathy, not love for non-violence. There is almost no evidence that Palestinian street-level public opinion ever discusses “non-violent” protests or methods. If anything, it simply does not engage in violence. But there tends to be widespread support for types of violence. Now one could argue that this is some kind of “legitimate armed struggle” or whatever, but why obfuscate by pretending that Israelis have “overlooked” a non-existent “non-violence” trend?
Because Kerry has become a master at self-deception. At least he is now out of office.