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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs