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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More