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Israel Apartheid Comments Leads to Backlash Against John Kerry

Image: Israel Apartheid Comments Leads to Backlash Against John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Sunday, 30 Nov 2014 11:25 AM

As tensions between Israelis and Palestinians reached new heights in April 2014, U.S. Secretary State and former presidential hopeful John Kerry made controversial remarks comparing Israel to an apartheid.

Use of the word “apartheid,” in and of itself, has been controversial — particularly with pro-Israeli groups — as the country’s policy decisions have been compared to the decades-long apartheid movement in South Africa that drew sharp divisions between the rights of whites and blacks. Nelson Mandela is credited with ending the practice.

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In Israel-occupied territories, policies have been in place that have separated the rights of Israelis and Palestinians. An identification system has resulted in inequities in infrastructure, land and resource access, legal rights and job availability.

In late April 2014, Kerry described Israel as an “apartheid state” as he cited the stall in reaching a peace agreement on a two-state solution. Pro-Israelis have balked at the term. In Israel, the policy decisions leading to different rights has been described as Hafrada.

Kerry, lamenting the breakdown of talks between the two fractions, made the apartheid comments at a meeting of the Trilateral Commission. Kerry’s comments allegedly were recorded by a reporter and were considered private, according to Politico. 

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative,” Kerry said in the recording. “Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”

As the recording went public, several politicians and advocacy groups decried Kerry’s remarks. One such group was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

“Any suggestion that Israel is, or is at risk of becoming, an apartheid state is offensive and inappropriate,” AIPAC representatives wrote in a statement that was included in the Politico report.

Feeling heat for his comments, Kerry almost immediately back peddled on his original statement.

“I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for
partisan, political purposes,” Kerry said, according to a report on CNN.com. “I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.” 

At the time, Kerry said, “I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution.”

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As tensions between Israelis and Palestinians reached new heights in April 2014, U.S. Secretary State and former presidential hopeful John Kerry made controversial remarks comparing Israel to an apartheid.
israel, apartheid, john kerry
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2014-25-30
Sunday, 30 Nov 2014 11:25 AM
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