News / Middle East

Kerry's Boycott Remarks Anger Israel

FILE - Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs for International Relations of Israel Yuval Steinitz listens during a news conference.
FILE - Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs for International Relations of Israel Yuval Steinitz listens during a news conference.
Robert Berger
As U.S. mediated Middle East peace talks enter their seventh month, mounting tensions have emerged between Israel and Washington.   

Israeli officials are furious after Secretary of State John Kerry warned that if peace talks with the Palestinians fail, Israel could face growing international boycotts.  Kerry was speaking at a security conference in Munich.

“You see for Israel there is an increasing deligitimization campaign that has been building up.  People are very sensitive to it," said Kerry. "There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things.  Are we all going to better with all of that?”

At the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli ministers took these remarks as a direct threat: Make concessions to the Palestinians, or pay a heavy price.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel would not negotiate with “a gun pointed at its head,” especially when its vital national interests are at stake.  

He described Kerry's remarks “as damaging, unfair and intolerable.”

The State Department issued a clarification saying Kerry’s remarks were taken out of context.  It said the Secretary of State staunchly opposes any boycotts against Israel and was only referring to actions taken by others.

The European Union, for instance, has been threatening to boycott products from Jewish settlements, and several European companies have stopped doing business with Israeli companies operating in the West Bank.

At the opening of the Cabinet session, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said international pressure on Israel harms peace efforts because it causes the Palestinians to harden their positions.

“Attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust,” Netanyahu said, and he said “they will not achieve their goal."
The latest dispute points to growing suspicion in the Israeli government over Kerry’s push for the creation of a Palestinian state.  Kerry has visited the region 11 times in the past year, and Cabinet hawks fear that he is forcing Israel into dangerous territorial concessions that would harm national security.  Israel’s defense minister made headlines last month when he described Kerry as “messianic” and “obsessive.”

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Paul from: USA
February 05, 2014 9:55 AM
John Kerry is not a smart man. Never was ...

by: Geoffrey Munyae from: Kenya
February 04, 2014 5:05 AM
John the Baptist was here , John the Kerry is here.

by: Anthony from: EU
February 03, 2014 5:35 PM
I think comments by Israeli officials would carry more weight if they would liberate themselves of tens of billions in US military aid every year.
In Response

by: Dr. Alex S. from: Russia
February 03, 2014 11:46 PM
by that standard the viscous corruption of the EU should just shut up...

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
February 03, 2014 4:59 AM
Let's see if the world understood the meaning of US's New World Order:
Rule number ONE:
America is always right.
Rule number two:
If America is wrong, go back to rule number ONE.
Got it?

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
February 03, 2014 3:21 AM
it looks that Israel will be a big problem for USA. until after 7 years if USA and other European countries don't take a positive action against Israel. see scale of both countries leaders [Afghanistan and Israel] who was Karzai. a cashier in the five star hotel in New York city. but, today he is as a president to criticize USA, NATO, ISAF and Asia countries like, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Iran. Netanyahu is as same as Karzai. Israel was and is a develop country by the cooperation of European countries and USA. Israel leaders and Karzai are like greyhound. when they are full of bread or feed. they will kick allies when they're hungry they will tailing [respire] for EU's and USA.

by: ali baba from: new york
February 03, 2014 2:24 AM
The Israel-Palestinian conflict started on 1948 when state of Israel was established . so many peace talk had not yield any positive effect. Mr. Kerry believe that the magic spell to reach an agreement.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

by: PermReader
February 03, 2014 2:21 AM
Israel between Iranian Bomb thread, Hamas` rockets ,Al Kaeda in Syria is undergoing the Kerry`s blackmail! He has the just reaction.
In Response

by: Brian from: UK
February 03, 2014 11:48 PM
the US should refuse to recognize Saudi Arabia as an Islamic State... maybe we should insist on having Hindus imported to Mecca...

by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
February 02, 2014 10:28 PM
Refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish State seems unfair -- but it's no deal-breaker. We can still move forward to close this 70 year old wound.
No more nitpicking by either side.
Sure the agreement isn't perfect and not everyone is 100 percent satisfied. But that's a good thing, so the deal would last.

by: Dr. Karla Freiburg from: USA
February 02, 2014 9:36 PM
Kerry is simply not going to survive this... the US is not going to reclaim its credibility after such idiotic statement. After Germany, Egypt, Syria, Benghazi, Iran... the US must reassess its direction. We are losing stanched friends and our enemies rejoice at our incomprehensible stupidity.

by: Vlad from: Russia
February 02, 2014 8:28 PM
Oh I am so glad Kerry actually said it... you see Israel, we told you you should be on our side... we told you these American sleazoyds will betray you... we told you these Americans are scumbags... so why you still so much admire and respect these filthy liars..?? why..?? We will never betray you... you join Customs Union and we make sure Arabs never lift head again.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs