The Anti-Defamation League has "welcomed" an apology from Secretary of State John Kerry for suggesting that Israel could become an "apartheid state" if it fails to reach an accord with the Palestinians.
Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said in a statement: "We welcome Secretary Kerry's clear affirmation that Israel is not an apartheid state nor headed in that direction should talks with the Palestinians fail.
"He now has publicly acknowledged that he made a mistake in using that term. Apartheid is a particularly loaded epithet that has repeatedly been used by Israel's worst enemies to delegitimize the Jewish state and suggest it promulgates abhorrent racial policies similar to those of the apartheid regime in South Africa."
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He added, "While we may disagree from time to time, we have never doubted Secretary Kerry's commitment to Israel's security and his good-faith efforts to find a fair, equitable, and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a true friend of Israel. His statement makes that clear, and we consider this chapter closed."
Founded in 1913, the ADL is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also welcomed Kerry's apology, saying his original comment was "truly outrageous by any objective eevaluation."
"We don’t have a stronger ally than Israel," McConnell added. "To suggest that Israel is anything other than a completely open democracy with a free press, with Palestinian minorities represented in the Knesset, was certainly inappropriate.
"I am glad that he is trying to walk it back and he definitely should."
Kerry made his controversial remarks during a closed-door hearing of the Trilateral Commission on April 25, which were secretly recorded by a reporter for The Daily Beast.
In his apology,
Kerry said that if he could have a do-over he would "have chosen a different word," while also lashing out at partisan attacks against him for "political purposes."
He added, "I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone. Israel is a vibrant democracy, and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one."
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