U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week were so dangerously out of touch with reality that it is worth asking whether he is an evil person, or simply ignorant beyond belief.
Blinken repeated his insistence that a Palestinian state is a necessary prerequisite to peace in the Middle East — despite the proven example of the Abraham Accords, an Israeli-Arab peace agreement that occurred despite Palestinian objections, and despite any actual evidence that Palestinians want to build a state of their own that doesn’t involve destroying the Jewish state.
That wasn’t the worst of it. The most bizarre comment came when Blinken claimed that Arabs want peace more than Israelis:
And as I said before, the profound difference now I think is in the mindset of leaders throughout the Arab world and in Muslim countries, and in a way it’s a reversal, it’s a flip, as you know so well better than anyone. When in previous times we came close to resolving the Palestinian question, getting a Palestinian state, I think the view then – Camp David, other places – was that Arab leaders, Palestinian leaders, had not done enough to prepare their own people for this profound change. I think a challenge now, a question now: Is Israeli society prepared to engage on these questions? Is it prepared to have that mindset? That’s challenging. And it’s, of course, doubly challenging when you’re focused intensely on Gaza and all of the security questions that are the day-in/day-out life for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
If you look at the Middle East and you conclude that Palestinians — who subsidize terror, who celebrate the October 7 attacks, who raise their children to hate Jews — have a “mindset” that is more conducive to peace than Israelis, then you may be insane.
That is certainly a possibility. Blinken made his remarks in an onstage “interview” with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, whose anti-Israel rhetoric has descended into antisemitic fulminations against the “Jewish lobby” in Congress.
It is also possible that Blinken is simply a very bad person. Recall that Blinken was the apparatchik who organized the fraudulent letter in 2020 by 51 national security “experts” who claimed that Hunter Biden’s laptop must have been Russian disinformation.
The Biden campaign knew the laptop was real. So did the government. But Blinken and his associates in the intelligence world were prepared to abuse their access to information to mislead the American people so that Biden could lie to them in a debate.
Casting the Israelis as the bad guys who don’t want peace provides retroactive justification to the Hamas terrorists who carried out October 7, and it fuels the antisemitic hatred against Israel on college campuses and American cities.
It is also simply false.
Israelis have yearned for peace since before the founding of the state itself. There is no country in history that has made such enormous, painful sacrifices for peace. Israeli children are brought up on songs of peace; Israelis seek it at every opportunity.
As late as 2012, 61% of Israelis supported a Palestinian state, as opposed to 30% who did not. Meanwhile, Hamas was firing rockets and building terror tunnels; the Palestinian Authority continued paying terrorists and indoctrinating children to hate.
Opinion polls of Palestinians suggest that roughly 75% support the October 7 attacks. Public opinion is similar in the rest of the Arab world: a recent poll found that two-thirds of Arabs back the October 7 attack, and 89% reject any recognition of Israel.
It is true that the Abraham Accords have held strong despite the war. But the leadership of Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia, have hardened their demands of Israel, at least in public, since the war began.
There is simply no basis for Blinken’s claim.
It is true that Israelis are not prepared to accept a Palestinian state in the aftermath of the October 7 attack. A recent poll by Gallup suggests 65% of Israelis are now opposed to such a state — a complete reversal of public opinion from a decade ago.
But that is not because of some problem with the Israeli “mindset.” It is a direct reaction to the terror attacks of Hamas — from the rocket war of 2014, to the mass murder of 2023.
Note that this was also the decade of the Iran deal, when Blinken’s bosses in the Obama administration decided to lift sanctions on Iran and give it access to billions of dollars that it used to fund and arm Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Houthis, and other terrorists. That, more than anything else, drives war in the region.
Perhaps Blinken is trying to say that the Israeli government is the problem (though he specifically referred to Israeli society). The Biden administration, and the Democrats generally, hate Benjamin Netanyahu for standing up to their efforts to appease Iran.
But when he talks about Palestinian leaders being ready for peace, to whom is he referring? To Mahmoud Abbas, who recently defended Adolf Hitler and justified the Holocaust?
Perhaps Blinken has blinded himself to the true nature of the Palestinian leadership.
After all, he actually said these words at Davos: “[T]he Palestinians are looking very hard at how they can come up with a more effective governance that can actually deliver what the people want. Some of what needs to be delivered is the basic – the basic function of government, services, no corruption, transparency in the way government is pursued.”
Did no one laugh? Maybe they did in Ramallah: 87% of Palestinians themselves believe their own government is corrupt. Who are the reformers?
Perhaps he resents Israel, or he is just clueless. Or — perhaps — Blinken finds it easier to blame Israel than to confront Iran, which he largely ignored at Davos.
Perhaps he is simply a coward, rather than a hateful fool — though one does not preclude the other.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.