Dr. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, joined Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Monday to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian “peace conference” in Paris during the weekend, which managed to exclude both Israelis and Palestinians from its deliberations.
“It’s an extraordinary thing that in 2017 you can have, you know, a convening of the great powers – although there were some less-great powers there, as well, seeing as there were 70 different countries represented – in the European capital, in Paris, evoking the time of Versailles, speaking about deals in the Middle East, and you didn’t have either of the protagonists there,” said Mendoza. “People talk about the survival of Western imperialism. Surely, here it was in all its glory. The only thing missing, I think, were the top hats.”
In addition to the irony of modern anti-imperialist politicians holding a nakedly imperialist conference, Kassam observed that most of the attendees think national borders are obsolete – with the sole exception of Israel’s.
“Well, the first thing to note is that the original division of the Middle East did occur because the British and French decided to do it on the back of an envelope, essentially,” said Mendoza. “So there is a sense already of, ‘well, we created these things, we can meddle in it.’”
“Secondly, it’s a much easier thing to look abroad, to try and resolve crises abroad, than deal with some of the tough issues at home,” he continued. “I would have suggested that if you were going to talk about, and bring 70 countries together, you might have wanted to talk about Islamic State terror attacks, or how we’re going to beat Islamic State. You might have spoken about the Russia relationship. You might have decided how to deal with the influx of immigration from less-developed to more-developed countries. Yet instead, we’re having this conference on Israel and Palestine. It seems to make no sense at all.”
Mendoza said “very little” came out of the conference in Paris, beyond a statement “basically saying, ‘Please do negotiate around the two-state solution. Don’t take unilateral steps.’”
“It was a lot less, frankly, exciting than people at one stage thought. After the U.N. resolution in December, there was talk and thought that the Obama administration might try and push through one last attempt at some kind of delineated peace deal. The ideal would be put down in Paris, people would sign up in theory, and then they’d force the Israelis in particular to accept it. But that receded. A number of countries didn’t even attend in a proper fashion. Britain, notably, didn’t send a minister along to it. And as a result, I think it’s kind of fallen about,” he said.
“The interesting thing is nobody also attacked Donald Trump for his suggestion that the U.S. Israeli embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They didn’t even attack that,” he added.
Mendoza found the relatively subdued nature of the conference “interesting,” and said it supported his theory that the U.K. Foreign Office “pulled a blinder on the Prime Minister, and basically snuck this through in the quiet period.” This put the British government in the schizophrenic position of attacking U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his language on Israel, and simultaneously backing the anti-Israel U.N. resolution that the United States merely abstained on.
“And now we have this, where the U.K. has gone out of its way to sort of poo-poo the summit and suggest that it’s not a valid meeting place, or one that serves any purpose,” he said. “There’s a recognition in the U.K. that the vote was wrong. Had they had their time again, I don’t think the U.K. would have voted in favor of it. Not sure they’d have vetoed, but they certainly would have abstained.”
“And there’s a grim realization, of course, that the mood music coming out from the new presidential camp, the President-elect Trump camp, is very different to the Obama administration, and as we said two weeks ago, why continue doing favors for Obama, when the new guy thinks something completely different? And if you’re serious about trade deals, being close to America, standing together within the free world going forward, then you’re going to want to close up to President Trump and not drive the distance between him,” he suggested.
Kassam played a clip of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is currently being observed in the United States, endorsing Israel’s right to exist and calling it “one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.” He asked why so many people on the American Left, who claim the mantle of Dr. King’s legacy, are so vigorously opposed to the state of Israel.
“I think it reflects a more general trend on the political Left,” Mendoza replied. “It could be seen as early as the late 1960s. Dr. King himself had already, by the late 1960s, before his tragic murder, had already been denounced by more radical civil rights leaders as being an Uncle Tom, working with whites – by the way many of whom, interestingly, were white liberal Jews at the time, who were helping African Americans. And basically it was a suggestion amongst the more extreme elements who slowly became mainstream over time, they couldn’t work with white people, and the Jews were bad, Israel was bad, generally whites were bad. You get this sort of politics of hatred emerging that opposed the politics that Dr. King promoted, of consensus between different peoples.”
“I think that’s the problem. The civil rights movement was overtaken. The political Left was overtaken. The original liberal values of those groupings were overtaken,” he recalled. “That’s what Dr. King stood for: liberal values, as in the classical liberal sense. They were overtaken by race hatred and other matters. You see that emerge in the Israel case. You see it emerging in civil rights discourse and human rights discourse today – where we can do no right as the West, and everyone else can do no wrong. That is where it starts. That is, of course, not where classical liberalism stood.”
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