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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs