The New York Times has reported that Secretary of State John Kerry has apologized for saying Israel could become “an Apartheid state” at a closed door meeting of the Trilateral Commission late last week.
But it wasn’t really an apology, but rather a lame attempt to save face. Kerry strikes a defiant tone stating, “I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes.” He continued this defiant tone with the following, “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.” Well, he did say Israel could become an Apartheid state at the Trilateral Commission last week. Details, details.
Kerry went on to say “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.” I could think of many other words one could use to describe having a Jewish state with two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace such as co-operation, respect and trust. Apartheid would not be among those words.
For good measure, Kerry notes that current Israeli politicians like Tzipi Livni and former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have used the Apartheid analogy themselves although Kerry concludes “it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.”
Kerry’s explanation might be satisfactory to some. Yet I see no apology here much less any indication of contrition or regret on Kerry’s part. All I see is a self-serving statement from a man who was caught saying what he really thinks behind closed doors (kind of like L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling) now finding himself in the awkward position of having to explain himself. The damage has not been undone. We have had five years worth of bad faith from the Obama Administration where it concerns Israel and this is but the latest chapter of this sorry spectacle.
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