Echoing the rhetoric of the worldwide anti-Israel movement, Secretary of State John Kerry told influential decisionmakers at the April 25 meeting of the Trilateral Commission that Israel is poised to become "an apartheid state." Secretary Kerry, a former Democrat Senator from Massachusetts, said that a leadership change in either Israel or Palestine might lead to progress in so-called peace process that has sputtered for many years in between terrorist attacks on Israel and the Jewish state’s responses. Media reports suggest that after labelling Israel, Kerry said both Israel and Palestine share the blame for the current stall in the talks.
The BDS movement, which calls for boycotting, disinvestment and sanctions on Israel, has long termed Israeli policy as a form of modern apartheid – which was once the racist policy of South Africa that denied rights to African blacks and separated them from whites. The BDS movement seeks to compel governments, businesses, and other institutions to terminate their relationships with Israel in order to compel Israel to change its policies.
According to the Daily Beast, the chief U.S. diplomat also predicted that Palestine will ramp up their violent attacks should Israel not cave into Palestinian demands. This comes just days after the announcement of a powersharing deal between the Palestinian Authority – led by Mahmoud Abbas – and Hamas, a group recognized internationally for its terrorism. The Daily Beast reported that Kerry added that a change in Israeli leadership would make peace more possible, while also critiquing Israel for building settlements in contested areas. He also reportedly said that he will propose a deal to both sides on a “take it or leave it” basis.
The Obama administration’s relations with the current Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been at times quite stormy. During the 2012 presidential election cycle, Netanyahu was widely viewed as favoring the candidacy of Republican Mitt Romney – a personal friend.
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air opined that at least one of Secretary Kerry’s comments may be unintentionally humorous. Said Morrissey, “Really? Take it or leave it — or what? The US will quit trying to mediate in the dispute? At least with the track record of incompetence in this area from the Obama administration and the longer track record of utter failure in every American administration in memory, that may be an improvement.”
At least one organization in the United States is calling for Kerry to leave his post. In a statement, the Emergency Committee for Israel said, “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. 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.”