'Kerry Never Meant to Threaten Israel,' State Department Claims
Sometimes, even the US eats its words.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki took to Twitter Sunday to defend the remarks of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who threatened Israel with boycotts if peace talks fail.
"Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable. It’s illusionary," Kerry stated on Saturday night at the Munich Security Conference. "You see for Israel there’s an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up [. . .] there are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?"
Kerry's comments were widely perceived as threats by not only the media, but the Israeli government. Both Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sharply criticized Kerry's comments.
"Attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust," Netanyahu stated, at the opening of his weekly cabinet meeting. "Moreover, they will not achieve their goal. First, they cause the Palestinians to adhere to their intransigent positions and thus push peace further away. Second, no pressure will cause me to concede the vital interests of the State of Israel, especially the security of Israel's citizens.
"For both of these reasons, threats to boycott the State of Israel will not achieve their goal," Netanyahu concluded.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon responded to Kerry's threats of boycotts, saying "we respect Secretary of State Kerry but will not hold talks with a gun to our head. Friends don't put ultimatums on the security of the state of Israel."
"We will make decisions that guard the interests of the state of Israel," Danon continued. "If we made choices based on the various forecasts of boycotts, we wouldn't be here today. In the past we saw that wherever the IDF wasn't present terror takes root."
Psaki: That Never Happened
Psaki's form of damage control: denial.
"Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over 3 decades of staunch support for Israel's security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts," Psaki insisted. "Just last year, while briefing Foreign Ministers at the EU conference in Vilinius on peacemaking efforts, he urged them to refrain from these measures."
"At the Munich Security Conference yesterday, he spoke forcefully in defense of Israel's interests as he consistently has throughout his public life," Psaki continued. "In response to the question about the peace process he described well known and previously stated facts about stakes for both sides if the process fails. Secretary Kerry's only reference to a boycott was a description undertaken by others that he has always opposed."
"Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process and expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements."
Psaki is apparently unaware that this is not the first time Kerry has made threats against Israel. Last November, Kerry threatened that Israel would face a "Third Intifada" - or violent uprising - if talks did not end with a "Palestinian state" in Judea and Samaria.
"Failure of the talks will increase Israel's isolation in the world,” Kerry said then. “The alternative to getting back to the talks is a potential of chaos. I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?”