Dear Mr Kerry: Please stay home!

Dear Mr Kerry:
It was just announced that you will be coming to Israel during these very difficult days for us here in Israel. In your words you are coming here to  “… to re-engage and see if we can’t move that away from this precipice.” You also say you want to re-start the peace talks.

Let me make your life a little easier: Please stay home! I say this with the greatest respect, but it requires a modicum of clarification.

On a very basic and simple level, we need you to stay home for security reasons. You see, while you will be shuttling back and forth between Jerusalem and Ramallah or travelling to see some of the hot spots of “action,” Israel will need to provide you with all of the necessary security detail that you require. The problem with that is that this will remove dozens and dozens of security professionals from the streets of Israel, where they are TRULY needed. Instead of protecting its citizens from knife-wielding Arabs or ax-throwing Arabs or car-ramming Arabs, these security professionals will need to be there with YOU. Sorry, Mr Kerry, but I prefer OUR citizens be protected at the highest level with no distractions. (Obviously, you deserve proper security when you are here! My point is that this will lessen the effectiveness of security elsewhere and potentially put our citizens at risk)

Secondly, until you are able to change your language, you will accomplish NOTHING on your visit, other than eating well in the Holy Land. Not once, not twice, but dozens of times, whenever there has been violence of Arab vs Jew, your words of condemnation make a parity between both “sides.” As recently as this week, when you condemned the horrific terror that has been taking place against Jews, merely for being Jewish, your condemnation was insulting and disappointing. You stated:  “This is a revolving cycle that damages the future for everybody but when I see violence like the killing of three innocent Israelis I am going to condemn it – like we condemned the settler violence against a Palestinian family [in the village of Duma].” WHAT IS THE PARALLEL AND WHY THE NEED TO MENTION DUMA? (Until this day, there are STILL no answers on Duma; the mention of that tragedy muddy the waters, in any case)

Why can’t you just say we condemn these acts of terror: PERIOD! Just say it…repeat after me…we condemn the acts of terror against Jews. PERIOD! Stop there…no need to mention the Arabs!

But wait, there’s more. Then you had the chutzpa to say: “There’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and there’s an increase in the violence because there’s this frustration that’s growing.” Plain and simply–that is a red herring and has been from day one. There were no “settlements” in 1929 when Arabs massacred Jews. There were no settlements in the ’50’s or the early 60’s when Arabs murdered Jews–for being Jewish.

By not speaking unequivocally against Arab-incited and Arab-perpetrated terror against Jews, you are, in effect, subscribing to the false narrative and are complicit in making that the message around the world.

And finally, you want to re-start “peace talks”? Whom do you think you are kidding? You are without a doubt a very intelligent individual. How can you look at this situation and think for a minute that a people who wish to murder Jews will ever want peace? How can you make peace with a people who do not want you to even exist?
Please, Mr Kerry, do us all a favor and just stay home and deal with your domestic issues.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.