John Kerry and Yasser Arafat
The Human Gaffe Machine
Democratic presidential nominee-to-be John Kerry called Yasser Arafat a “statesman” and a “role model” in a 1997 book that Kerry cites as proof of his own foresight about foreign policy.
John Kerry calls Yasser Arafat a “statesman” and a “role model”.
Kerry expressed the opposite view eight days ago, when he told Jewish leaders in New York that he shares President Bush’s belief that Arafat must be isolated because he’s not a “partner for peace” – much less a statesman.
The revelation of Kerry’s comments in his 1997 book “The New War” comes on the heels of his contradictory remarks about Israel’s security fence and whether or not he’d rely on Jimmy Carter as a Mideast envoy.
“Terrorist organizations with specific political agendas may be encouraged and emboldened by Yasser Arafat’s transformation from outlaw to statesman,” Kerry wrote in “The New War,” now out of print.
Kerry added that terrorists “whose only object is to disrupt society require no such ‘role models [as Arafat].’ ”
Kerry’s remarks came as he was dismissing noted historian Paul Johnson as out of date for saying the Palestinian Liberation Organization is “the quintessential terrorist movement” but has achieved nothing for its people.
Just last month, Kerry pointed to his book and told Fox News that it shows he’d be “a president who does see ahead.”
Kerry changed his mind “in the years when Arafat rejected peace proposal after peace proposal and failed to stop the violence,” said spokesman David Wade.
News of Kerry’s about-face on Arafat comes as Bush is seeking to paint Kerry as a waffler who can’t be trusted because he flip-flops on key issues.
Last July, Kerry told the Arab American Institute that Israel’s security fence is “provocative” and a barrier to peace, but last week, he told Jewish leaders at a New York debate that the fence is “necessary to the security of Israel.”
“There’s no question that I was none too pleased with reports on what he said [to Jewish leaders],” said Arab American Institute head Jim Zogby, a member of the Democratic National Committee who backs Kerry.
Zogby said he contacted Kerry aides and was told that the Democrat objects to the location of the fence.