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Liberman: Kerry Isn't an Anti-Semite

Liberman attacks critics of Kerry's pressure and boycott threats on Israel, defends Kerry as honest broker of peace.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/9/2014, 4:44 PM

John Kerry and Avigdor Liberman
John Kerry and Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman expanded on his statements last Friday, in which he called US Secretary of State John Kerry "a true friend of Israel," a remark the US State Department praised. On Sunday, he attacked critics of Kerry's plans, stating "we shouldn't take friends and turn them into enemies."

"It's natural to have differences of opinion, but to call somebody anti-Semitic or an enemy of the people, or not an honest-broker because of differences of opinion?" opined Liberman, talking with IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal). "The man has a record of 29 years in the Senate. You can see all of his votes, all of his speeches."

Earlier in the day, Liberman, who lives in the Judean community of Nokdim, said "I would be willing to vacate my home if I believed that we have a permanent agreement," justifying his words by calling them "pragmatic."

After Kerry last Saturday threatened Israel with international boycotts, a warning made more troubling by the fact reports have indicated Kerry himself is orchestrating the European boycotts, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan criticized Kerry for not being a fair intermediary, constantly pressuring only Israel.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon similarly criticized the threats, saying "we cannot negotiate with the Palestinians when Secretary Kerry is pressuring Israel, threatening Israel, that we must sign the deal 'today, now.' That is not the way to support an ally."

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett joined in, warning "I would suggest that all these people making these threats think twice. Israelis are stronger than these threats, and no one will persuade us to destroy our national home with these threats." He added that he didn't think anti-Semitism lay behind Kerry's pressure on Israel.

Kerry's tongue got him into more hot water last week, when he stated "last year, not one Israeli was killed by a Palestinian from the West Bank." The claim is patently false, leading the widow of one of the Israelis murdered by Judea and Samaria Arabs in 2013 - Evyatar Borovsky - to assess Kerry as "living in a world of his own."

Aside from Liberman, several other MKs have jumped to Kerry's defense since then, including far-left MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

Kerry's plan reportedly includes the establishment of an Arab capital in Jerusalem, and Israeli withdrawals from over 90% of Judea and Samaria.