Skip to comments.ADL raps Kerry, says talk of boycott invites anti-Israel backlash if peace talks fail
Posted on 02/06/2014 5:52:46 AM PST by SJackson
The Anti-Defamation League, one of the US's most powerful Jewish organizations known for its advocacy on behalf of Israel, criticized Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday for comments he made in Munich regarding the negative consequences that Israel can expect if efforts to achieve a two-state solution break down.
In a letter to Kerry, ADL chief Abe Foxman said that while he appreciated Kerry's efforts to move the peace process forward, the remarks about Israel's likely ostracism in the event that no deal is reached will only spur the pro-boycott elements and the Palestinians to become further entrenched in their positions while being less likely to compromise.
"In speaking about the price Israel will pay if the peace talks break down and Israel is blamed, you may have thought you were merely describing reality," Foxman said. "But as the key player in the process, the impact of your comments was to create a reality of its own."
"Describing the potential for expanded boycotts of Israel makes it more, not less, likely that the talks will not succeed; makes it more, not less, likely that Israel will be blamed if the talks fail; and more, not less, likely that boycotts will ensue," Foxman wrote. "Your comments, irrespective of your intentions, will inevitably be seen by Palestinians and anti-Israel activists as an incentive not to reach an agreement; as an indicator that if things fall apart, Israel will be blamed; and as legitimizing boycott activity."
Kerry's comments, which also drew sharp reaction from Israeli politicians, including cabinet ministers in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government, were initially made during his appearance at last week's Munich Security Conference.
"You see, for Israel theres an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up, Kerry said. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?
Israeli politicians sharp criticism of Kerry led to the State Department issuing an unusual statement Sunday imploring Kerrys critics not to distort his words.
Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israels security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki wrote.
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice came to Kerry's defense on Tuesday after he was roundly criticized by a number of Israeli government officials over comments that he made on the weekend about the Israeli Palestinian peace talks.
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We are writing to you at this moment with great respect for the exemplary and devoted efforts you are putting in to try to move peace forward between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
We have all witnessed the suffering and loss on all sides as the conflict continues year after year, decade after decade. We welcome your perseverance and optimism in trying to accomplish something that has eluded others time and again.
It is with this perspective in mind that we regretfully read of your comments this past weekend in Munich. In speaking about the price Israel will pay if the peace talks break down and Israel is blamed, you may have thought you were merely describing reality. But as the key player in the process, the impact of your comments was to create a reality of its own.
Describing the potential for expanded boycotts of Israel makes it more, not less, likely that the talks will not succeed; makes it more, not less, likely that Israel will be blamed if the talks fail; and more, not less, likely that boycotts will ensue. Your comments, irrespective of your intentions, will inevitably be seen by Palestinians and anti-Israel activists as an incentive not to reach an agreement; as an indicator that if things fall apart, Israel will be blamed; and as legitimizing boycott activity.
What is particularly troubling about your comments is the absence of similar tough talk about the consequences for Palestinians should the talks fail. We make this comment not in search of some theoretical balance. Rather, its absence suggests a historical amnesia about why there has been no peace and no solution all these years. Israel always must be willing to compromise for peace and at different times it is not unreasonable to ask Israel to do more.
But the core of the conflict was and remains Palestinian unwillingness to accept Israels legitimacy and permanence as a Jewish state. That is why the Palestinians rejected the 1947 partition, that is why they rejected recognizing Israel after the 1967 war, and that is why Israeli offers at Camp David in 2000 and Annapolis in 2008 were rejected or allowed to go unanswered. It is Palestinians who must hear the message that not only has their rejectionism been the major obstacle to peace, but it has also been the main source of their suffering and misery over the years. It is time for them to make the qualitative leap toward peace and acceptance of the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
It is encouraging that reportedly in the talks you are raising these matters with the Palestinians. Your comments in Munich, however, threaten to undo all this by ignoring the historic compulsion of the Palestinians to look for ever new reasons and incentives to reject the Jewish state. Concerns of the kind you expressed therefore would have been better left unsaid or at most discussed in private conversations with Israeli representatives.
We wish you continued success in moving this process forward. We urge you to understand, however, that those who are most against peace are the ones who will benefit the most from the unintended encouragement in the comments you expressed in Munich.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
The adl rolls over, utters the word ‘Israel’, rolls over sends a fundraising letter, rolls back over and goes back to sleep for another 20 years.
The last time I heard, Israel was a COUNTRY of its own...so therefore, if KERRY doesn’t want anyone in the USA to come over here and take control of this government, I suggest that THIS GOVERNMENT keep their noses OUT of Israel’s business!!!!
What? That’s a bad thing?/sarc
KERRY: “Nice economy you got there, Israel. Be a real shame if anything happened to it, knowwhatimean?”