Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Middle East | adl | john kerry

ADL's Foxman Wary of Kerry's 'Exuberance' in Mideast Talks

By Todd Beamon   |   Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 07:04 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry's "exuberance" in the current Mideast peace negotiations "causes some issues," Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman told Newsmax TV.

"He's very well intentioned, very intense — maybe a little bit super-intense," Foxman told John Bachman in an exclusive interview on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

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Kerry's statements in the current round of talks — including a claim that Palestinians in the West Bank haven't killed anyone in Israel in the past year — have raised eyebrows among American and Israeli observers.

"[H]e warns Israel that it must make compromises [or]...  it will be boycotted," Foxman said. "Instead of getting up in Munich and saying to the Europeans: 'The last thing you should do is threaten Israel with a boycott because that undermines the country's strength, it undermines its ability to compromise.' My feeling is he legitimizes boycotts.

"Unfortunately, threats in Israel don't work," the ADL leader said. "Israel faced an onslaught of terrorism and it stood firm. Certainly economic threats won't work.

"He understands. He listens. I know him. I like him — and some days, he's just a little overzealous."

Foxman told Newsmax that Kerry must "criticize and challenge both sides.

"We've primarily heard him say what the Israelis need to do, what consequences will befall the Israelis if they don't make the critical decisions. I haven't heard him say, 'What are the consequences for the Palestinians?'

"It would help for everybody if they heard consequences, that they have something at stake," he said. "In terms of Europe, he needs to say to the European countries: 'Don’t threaten. Don't boycott.'"

Turning his attention to the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran on its nuclear efforts, Foxman said that he was "comfortable at this stage" with how the talks were proceeding — because economic sanctions remained in place along with the threat that Congress would strengthen them if Tehran did not follow through with a final agreement.

"Those sanctions need to be there. It's an important message to Iran. Whether or not they move forward, Iran has gotten a message.

"Fifty-nine senators, Democrats and Republicans, have publicly said, 'We want sanctions in place in case the Iranians do not make an agreement or fulfill it,'" Foxman said. "The message is there. It's a clear message.

"All of us who believe that since it was sanctions that brought the Iranians to the table, if they're threatening that they're going to walk away from sanctions, they've got something to lose."

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