Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on Monday evening apologizing for comments he made last week about Israel’s risk of becoming “an apartheid state.” Kerry originally made the comments to the Trilateral Commission, according to a report from Josh Rogin at The Daily Beast.
Kerry’s comments drew criticism from Jewish organizations. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee called the suggestion “offensive and inappropriate.” Republican Senator Ted Cruz also saw the chance to draw blood, announcing, “Secretary Kerry has thus proven himself unsuitable for his position and that before any further harm is done to our alliance with Israel, he should offer President Obama his resignation and the President should accept it.”
Kerry invoked his decades of service and voting record in the Senate to clarify his remarks. The statement reads, in part:
First, 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. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.
Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, 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. In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said.
In addition to Kerry’s own clarification, Joseph Nye, the North American Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, wrote to Kerry to apologize for Rogin allegedly attending and recording the private meeting. In his two articles on the meeting, Rogin cites his sources as an attendee and a recording he obtained. Regardless, Nye apologized to the Secretary of State for the supposed intrusion that led to his remarks becoming public.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.