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December 31, 2012 12:15 am

John Kerry’s Record on Israel—In Letters

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Senator John Kerry speaks with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on March 1, 2010. Photo: U.S. Department of State.

Where does U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), President Barack Obama’s pick for Secretary of State, stand on foreign policy matters pertaining to Israel and the Middle East? Below are the highlights of 10 letters signed by large majorities of the U.S. Senate, noting whether Kerry signed or not.

DECEMBER 2012

Letter: Urging further pressure on Iran and asking President Obama to reiterate his readiness to exercise a military option if necessary

Number of signatories: 74

Kerry: Did not sign

SEPTEMBER 2012

Letter: Urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization

Number of signatories: 75

Kerry: Did not sign

JUNE 2012

Letter: Supporting Israel’s right to self-defense and affirming that Israel’s naval blockade is legal following the Gaza flotilla incident

Number of signatories: 87

Kerry: Did not sign

APRIL 2010

Letter: Stressing the need for “direct, face-to-face negotiations without preconditions on either side” for Israelis and Palestinians and affirming the “unbreakable bonds that tie the United States and Israel together”

Number of signatories: 87

Kerry: Did not sign

APRIL 2010

Letter: Calling for crippling sanctions against Iran

Number of signatories: 81

Kerry: Did not sign

NOVEMBER 2009

Letter: Supporting a strong international affairs budget for fiscal year 2010, including security assistance for Israel

Number of signatories: 58

Kerry: Signed and initiated

AUGUST 2009

Letter: Supporting President Obama’s effort to encourage Arab states to normalize relations with Israel

Signatories: 71

Kerry: Did not sign

MAY 2009

Letter: “Peace Principles” letter stating that “every effort should be made” to realize peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and insisting on “absolute Palestinian commitment to ending terrorist violence and to building the institutions necessary for a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side, in peace with the Jewish state of Israel”

Number of signatories: 76

Kerry: Signed

JUNE 2008

Letter: Reiterating Israel’s right to self-defense, calling on the U.S. to stand strongly with Israel at the UN, and urging pressure on Arab states to do more to support Israeli-Palestinian talks

Number of signatories: 77

Kerry: Signed

MARCH 2007

Letter: Request for “no direct aid and no contacts with any members of a Palestinian Authority that does not explicitly and unequivocally recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce terror, and accept previous agreements”

Number of signatories: 79

Kerry: Did not sign

JUNE 2005

Letter: Expressing support for Israel’s disengagement plan from Gaza, calling disengagement a chance for Palestinian leadership “to prove to the world and, more importantly, its own people, that it is capable of governing”

Number of signatories: 73

Kerry: Signed

Letters and signatories obtained from the archives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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