Israeli leaders cry foul over Kerry's boycott warning
By The Washington Post
Published: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
JERUSALEM — A chorus of Israeli politicians warned Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Sunday that they would not be bullied into a peace deal with the Palestinians by growing threats of boycott and isolation.
It didn't seem to matter that Kerry wasn't threatening the Israelis but appeared to be worrying aloud about what the international reaction might be if U.S.-brokered negotiations to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict collapse.
The testy tit-for-tats — which included a tart on-the-record comeback from a State Department spokeswoman — occurred as Kerry prepares to return to the region.
Talk of an Israeli boycott is in the mainstream because actress Scarlett Johannson resigned her post as global ambassador for the anti-poverty group Oxfam last week in order to appear in a Super Bowl commercial on Sunday night for the Israeli company SodaStream, which has a factory in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The U.S.-Israeli flap, between two of the closest allies in the world, began on Saturday when Kerry said in Munich that allowing the peace talks to stumble would only incite Israel's critics, who are pushing for boycotts against Israeli products and institutions, in a campaign to isolate and pressure the country to end its occupation of the West Bank.
“You see, for Israel there's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycotts and other kinds of things,” Kerry said.
He added: “Today's status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It's not sustainable. It's illusionary. There's a momentary prosperity, there's a momentary peace.”
Israeli economic minister Naftali Bennett, the third most powerful figure in the coalition government, flailed Kerry for his linkage of peace and sanctions.
“We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not to be their trumpet,” Bennett said.
At his Sunday morning cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust” and will not succeed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria; militants blamed
- U.N. Security Council views purported photos of Syrian war dead
- Iran blasts ambassador visa denial
- Ukraine bares teeth as troops repel rebels
- Pistorius testimony elicits laughter from prosecutor, warning from judge
- Journalists: Egypt trial a joke
- Iran president ends monthly cash payment to 90 percent of citizens
- Russian military spending increases
- Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi to serve time helping seniors
- $36M ‘chicken cup’ cracks auction record for Chinese art
- Crossbow attacks on dogs sweep through Managua, Nicaragua