Leading pro-Israel groups criticized Secretary of State John Kerry today over his comment on Friday that if his diplomatic efforts fail, Israel will become either "an apartheid state" and cease being a Jewish state.
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Secretary Kerry's musings on the Jewish state's dire future have become a regular feature of his public remarks. His latest prediction follows other statements in recent months that have in effect threatened Israel—never the Palestinians—with a list of disasters should his diplomatic efforts fail: violence, isolation, delegitimization, boycotts—and now "apartheid."
It is no longer enough for the White House to clean up after the messes John Kerry has made. It is time for John Kerry to step down as Secretary of State, or for President Obama to fire him.
Even if [Kerry] used the repugnant language of Israel's adversaries and accusers to express concern for Israel's future, it was undiplomatic, unwise and unfair. Such references are not seen as expressions of friendship and support.
[Kerry's comment] will further encourage the Palestinians to act and speak as if only Israel must make concessions in the peace process, even as the Obama administration has stressed that the Palestinians must make "very, very tough decisions" for peace.
President Obama must clarify whether Secretary Kerry's statement reflects his administration's views and policy.
The reported remarks on apartheid by Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday are deeply troubling. Any suggestion that Israel is, or is at risk of becoming, an apartheid state is offensive and inappropriate. The Jewish state is a shining light for freedom and opportunity in a region plagued by terror, hate and oppression.
However, Kerry's remarks were warmly received in the anti-Israel community. The pro-Palestinian lobby J Street defended Kerry's statement as accurate:
Instead of putting energy into attacking Secretary Kerry, those who are upset with the Secretary's use of the term should put their energy into opposing and changing the policies that are leading Israel down this road.