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.”

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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.
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