United States Secretary of State John Kerry finally issued an apology on Monday evening after he was caught using the word apartheid in discussing the Middle East peace agreement at a private appearance, according to a New York Times report. When word got out that Kerry had spoken behind closed doors at a meeting of the Trilateral Commission last week – when a peace agreement had not been reached between Israelis and Palestinians – Kerry was severely criticized by American Jewish organizations for suggesting apartheid would result in the region.
Beyond the Jewish communities crying foul for Kerry’s assessment of the situation, United States citizens have expressed severe dissatisfaction with the secretary of state. Additionally, American politicians have been extremely critical of Kerry for the wording and apparent position he has taken on the Israeli state. Some politicians have even called for Kerry to step down before he does more damage with his comments and beliefs, according to the Guardian.
Speaking for many, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee made a statement regarding Kerry’s apartheid assertions. The group said that any suggestion that Israel is – or is at risk of becoming – an apartheid state is both offensive and inappropriate. The statement continued by saying that Israel is the lone stable democracy in the Middle East, and protects the rights of minorities regardless of ethnicity or religion. Politicians in the U.S. such as Sen. Marco Rubio – who represents Florida in Washington, D.C. – called Kerry’s remarks to be totally outrageous and disappointing.
Quite incredibly, Kerry has said that he believes the criticism of his remarks are politically bipartisan. Though he has apologized, there are those who suggest his leaning on a claim of bipartisan politics to defend his poor choice of words indicates that he does not understand the severity of his comments by claiming apartheid is a possible future for Israel. The man representing the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks does not seem to understand the concern that the masses have with him warning that Israel risked becoming an apartheid state if it did not reach a peace deal with the Palestinians. Kerry's suggestiong that 'dirty politics' has anything to do with the backlash for his comments is being called insulting to Americans' intelligence.
Kerry minimizes his comments by suggesting that his comments were only an expression of his strong belief that a two-state solution was the only solution to end the ongoing conflict in Israel. Quite unfortunately, Kerry’s insensitive wording regarding the peace talks and the ongoing conflict have come at a very bad time – a sensitive time – in the failed negotiations. The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have ended without any resolve after the nine-month deadline was reached. Many feel that such careless comments coming from United States Secretary of State John Kerry are only going to be more detrimental to a bad situation in the Middle East.
Kerry is having more closed-door meetings on Tuesday. He is meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. The meetings are to take place in Washington, D.C. at the State Department.