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      Report: Kerry Letter Supporting Gaza Flotillas Misread

      Maariv: Kerry letter allegedly supporting Gaza flotillas was auto-signed; US State Dept. denies connection with pro-Palestinian activists.
      By Tova Dvorin
      First Publish: 11/15/2013, 8:45 AM

      John Kerry
      John Kerry
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Maariv report published earlier this week claiming that US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a letter of support for an extreme leftist Gaza march has been denied by the US State Department. 

      A State Department official reportedly told The Blaze, “The letter from then-Senator Kerry regarding the humanitarian mission in Israel and the Palestinian territories was a form letter that was auto-penned — standard constituent mail that congressional members send out as a common practice,” the official said. “Senator Kerry never saw it, nor did his senior staff see it. It was put together by his Boston office, and would also not have involved senior staff members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

      “Moreover, the text of the letter has nothing to do with the flotilla incident or even Gaza. It focuses purely on a humanitarian mission in Israel and the Palestinian territories in support of the peace process,” the official concluded.

      Maariv also published a copy of the offending letter, which circulated around several blogs in 2010. 

      "I am writing to express my strong support for members of the humanitarian delegation from Massachusetts that will be traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories from December 27th to January 15th," the letter reads. "[T]hey plan to meet with non-governmental organizations, assess the healthcare system, and observe human rights and trade union conditions among Israelis and Palestinians." 

      "I respectfully request that every courtesy be given to members of the delegation during their visit," Kerry concludes, noting that he is "impressed with their ability, dedication, and commitment to the peace process." 

      The letter makes no mention of pro-Palestinian activism in general, nor the Gaza flotillas in particular. The Blaze reports that initial claims that the letter had been authored by Kerry in an expression of pro-Palestinian support originated with both Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and Jodie Pink, a US anti-war activist.