John Kerry is not an envious position. As Secretary of State, he has to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the appearance of taking sides. He did that previously when he said that Israel would become an “apartheid state” if an agreement wasn’t reached. As you can imagine, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa got Kerry plenty of criticism and how he’s taking a little step back.
Politico reports that Kerry recently said that he chose poor words when he said Israel was an apartheid state. Interestingly enough, he didn’t apologize for the meaning of what he said. Instead, he blamed conservatives for blowing his comments out of proportion. After all, Kerry loves Israel for the “vibrant democracy” that it is.
Here’s his full statement:
“I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe. First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution.”
In short, Kerry wanted a way to describe what Israel would look like if a two-state solution wasn’t reached. It’s not far out to say that Palestinians are treated unfairly as it currently stands. While it’s debatable over whether or not things are as bad as they were for South Africans under apartheid, the sentiment is the same. Without a two-state solution, Palestinians will feel like second-class citizens.
Despite apologizing for his poor word choice, pro-Israel senators will use Kerry’s comments against the Obama administration. Sen. Ted Cruz has already called for Kerry’s resignation over the comments and it may well be used as ammunition when criticizing the administration’s thus far failed attempts at brokering a peace deal between Israel and Palestine:
Speaking of the peace deal, it has seemingly failed for now. The deadline to reach a deal was today with no deal in sight. The U.S. has also called back its envoy to the region and has no immediate plans to see him return.
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