At the end of an interesting op-ed, Israeli writer Yossi Klein Halevy relates an interesting and revealing anecdote about Senator John Kerry, who is believed to be in the running for the secretary of state position should Barack Obama be reelected.
"Western naiveté about the Middle East is hardly confined to Egypt," Klein Halevy writes.
Last year, I was part of a group of Israelis who met in Jerusalem with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Mr. Kerry had just come from Damascus with excellent news: Bashar al-Assad was ready for peace with Israel. When one of the participants mentioned that demonstrations had begun to challenge Mr. Assad’s legitimacy, Mr. Kerry’s response was: All the more reason to negotiate while he’s still in power. In other words: Israel had the golden opportunity to give up the strategic Golan Heights to a dictator who might be deposed by a popular revolution, which might or might not recognize whatever peace agreement he signed.
So John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2004 election, left Damascus believing that Syrian strongman "Bashar al-Assad was ready for peace with Israel." A year later, Assad would still be killing his own people--and have come no closer to a lasting peace with Israel.
All Israel had to do, according to Kerry, was give up land to a murderous dictator to achieve peace.
Kerry likes to play foreign policy statesman, but his judgment on these issues is, well, not reliable.