I understand you will be looking for a new job soon, John. Do you know if Tricky Dicky ever did get that position as a used car salesman? In any case, that is not what I was thinking of for you.
I know you studied law and even worked for a few years as a prosecutor before going into politics. Seeing your performance in this last speech, I can only imagine that you went into politics because you were not a very good courtroom lawyer. Long-winded, repetitious, not really sure of your facts, I have the feeling judges told you more than once to move along in your opening and closing statements and asked if there was a point to all that verbiage.
I can imagine that defence attorneys probably got bored after a while of calling out “objection”. The judge would then wearily ask you, “Is this going anywhere?” “Do you have a question for the witness?” “Can you please stop testifying on behalf of the witness.” (None of this seems to have made you unfit for a career in politics.)
At times, judging from your last speech, you may have been so confused about the facts that you could inadvertently have even made the case for the other side. I guess this did not make you unfit for a career in politics either.
So, looks like courtroom law is out.
How about contracts law, or better yet: given your experience as Secretary of State, what about mediation or arbitration?
You seem to consider yourself an expert on the Israeli-Arab conflict over Judea and Samaria. So let me check your qualifications for a new career direction by asking you a few questions. Before I do that, I want to compliment you on being a good listener: you seem to have been paying attention to what both sides say. That is essential in mediation and arbitration.
As an Israeli, I was particularly impressed that you do recognize part of what we are up against:
This sense of hopelessness among Israelis is exacerbated by the continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians and incitements which are destroying belief in the possibility of peace. Let me say it again, there is absolutely no justification for terrorism and there never will be. And the most recent wave of Palestinian violence has included hundreds of terrorist attacks in the past year including stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks and bombings. Many by individuals who have been radicalized by social media. Yet the murders of innocence are still glorified on Fatah websites, including showing attackers next to Palestinian leaders following attacks.
And despite statements [in English] by President Abbas and his party’s leaders, making clear their opposition of violence, too often they send a different message [in Arabic] by failing to condemn specific terrorist attacks and naming public square, streets and schools after terrorists. [editorial additions]
You identified the fact that kids in Sderot have only 15 seconds to get to shelter when an alarm goes off. I imagine you understand what that means for kids and their parents and teachers. You have kids and grandkids. You get it, I am sure. You even know why:
Most troubling of all, Hamas continues to pursue an extremist agenda. They refuse to accept Israel’s very right to exist. They have a one state vision of their own. All of the land is Palestine.
You KNOW that, John. Thing is, it is not just Hamas that thinks this way. It is not just in Gaza, but the entire Palestinian Authority leadership that thinks this way. And here is where you get confused. You acknowledge that Hamas says all the land is Arab. But later in your speech you claim that the Arabs accepted Israel as a Jewish state. Here is how you put it:
It has been more than 20 years since Israel and the PLO signed their first agreement, the Oslo accords, and the PLO formally recognized Israel.
So if you were a witness in the witness box and I was opposing counsel, I would ask you for proof that the PLO formally recognized Israel. You might rely on Arafat’s two letters to Israel’s prime minister, dated 9 September 1993 and 4 May 1994, regarding the intent to change the PLO Covenant. And I would ask you if intent to change is proof of change and you would acknowledge that it is not; I would then ask you to produce proof that the Covenant was changed and you would not be able to because there is none.
So tell me, John, has the PLO or the PA formally recognized Israel? I know Abbas has stated that he would take back said recognition of Israel if he does not get his way, but that is a very shrewd manipulation of people’s minds to make them think that he ever recognized Israel. And you fell for it, John, did you not?
I guess this shows you do not have what it takes to make a mediator or arbitrator (how that made you Secretary of State material still bewilders me, but politics is a foreign country all to itself, I guess).
So here is my advice to you, John. Take your pension and retire. If you really want to leave a legacy worth anything, and seeing how your wife has made you a very rich man, you might even consider donating your pension — all of it — to a good cause that has nothing to do with other countries. Keep it in America. You were a decorated soldier and you might understand a bit about PTSD, so perhaps donate your pension to an NGO providing mental health services to veterans. But that is only a thought. I am sure there must be some cause or organization that would touch your heart and that really needs the funds.
Spend time with your grandchildren. That is where real joy is. And for their sake, I just hope that you leave your manipulative and underhanded behaviours at the office as you close the door behind you on your last day of work.
Happy retirement, John. It really is all it is made out to be.
This article originally appeared on Israel Diaries.