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April 28, 2014 12:28 pm

Group Calls for U.S. Secretary of State Kerry to Resign Over Israel Comments

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Secretary of State John Kerry, pictured here with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni. Photo: State Department.

The Emergency Committee for Israel on Monday called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to resign after describing Israel, in the absence of a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority, as having scope to become an “apartheid state,” a term specifically condemned by U.S. President Barack Obama when running for office in 2008.

On Friday, Kerry told a closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Commission with European and Asian leaders that, “A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative,” according to a recording obtained by The Daily Beast. “Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry said.

The Emergency Committee for Israel said, “It is time for John Kerry to step down as Secretary of State, or for President Obama to fire him. And it would go a long way toward repairing the damage Kerry has done if his predecessor as Secretary of State, who is the likely Democratic Party nominee for president, explained why this kind of rhetoric had no place in her State Department and why it will have no place in her presidential campaign.”

“Secretary Kerry’s musings on the Jewish state’s dire future have become a regular feature of his public remarks,” the group said. “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.'”

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Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League on Monday described Kerry’s statement as “startling and deeply disappointing.”

“It is startling and deeply disappointing that a diplomat so knowledgeable and experienced about democratic Israel chose to use such an inaccurate and incendiary term,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said, in a statement.

“We appreciate Mr. Kerry’s deep concern for Israel and his desires to ensure that it have a future of peace and security. Even if he 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.”

Pro-Israel lobby AIPAC also voiced criticism of Kerry.

“The reported remarks on apartheid by Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday are deeply troubling,” the group said. “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.”

“Israel is the lone stable democracy in the Middle East, and protects the rights of minorities regardless of ethnicity or religion. The Jewish state is proud to have a robust free press and elections, respect for women’s rights, and the representation of minorities across its government, including the twelve Arab members of its legislature and Salim Joubran on its Supreme Court.”

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