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HomeNewsPoliticsSec. John Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Comment Shows Dems Divide On Israel

Sec. John Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Comment Shows Dems Divide On Israel

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Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in Washington, Monday, June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Secretary of State John Kerry again fell under heavy fire Monday for making controversial comments about Israel and the prospects of a one-state solution. But Kerry’s latest blunder resurrected what most in the Beltway know, which is that an anti-Israel position is becoming the dominant view within the Democratic Party.

While straddling the fence by trying to show his support for Israel and the prevailing pro-Palestine position emerging on the American left, he said Israel would end up an “apartheid” regime without a two-state solution.

After a firestorm erupted Monday, Kerry attempted to back off his “apartheid” comments. “I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” Kerry said.

But, the truth, is that this is far from the first time the word “apartheid” has been used by prominent Democrats to characterize the state of Israel.

Evelyn Garcia, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) member and 2012 candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, accused Israel of “crimes against humanity” and of running “mass concentration camps” in a series of revealing emails released in July, 2012., She apologized and resigned from the DNC.

Garcia actually sent the emails in 2011, but they were first released by BizPacReview.com in 2013. In an email dated May 24, 2011, Garcia wrote: “Slavery was ended, apartheid was ended and so this occupation must end.” And, again, two months later on July 26, Garcia wrote that “by supporting Israeli occupation with US foreign aid, we are all complicit and guilty of their crimes against humanity.”

“I deeply resent U.S. taxpayer funds being used to continue Israeli aggression, (yes, confiscating other peoples’ land and building illegal settlements is aggression), not to mention ‘incursions’ that kill PEOPLE, destroy civilian homes and infrastructure all over, mass concentration prison camps, etc, etc, etc.”

In fact, Kerry isn’t even the first cabinet member to make outrageous comments regarding Israel. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel got the go ahead from senators only after facing a slew of cutting questions from Sens. Cruz (R-TX), Graham (R-SC) and McCain (R-AZ). Cruz played audio of an interview Al Jazeera conducted with Hagel in 2009, during which he refused to rebut the pro-Palestinian press on their claim Israel is committing war crimes when they defend themselves against Islamic terrorist attacks.

President Obama, himself, has no love for either Israel or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and while it may be a secret in America, Israelis are well-aware of it. America, under Obama, has lost the faith of Israelis, with recent polls showing they no longer trust in America’s ability to negotiate with Iran. Further, they correctly believe Obama doesn’t have their best interests in mind.

The poll asked if Israel can rely on the United States to ensure Israel’s security regarding negotiations with Iran. The survey found 55 percent of Israelis said that it could not, while only 31 percent said it could. And while 70 percent of respondents who identified with the right-wing said that Israel could not trust us, on the left, as well, just 40 percent said that they could.

Further, just 24 percent believed that the Obama administration was giving Israel an “accurate picture” of the negotiations, while 42 percent believe that Israel is not being told all of the details. And the Israeli people aren’t the only ones on to the Obama administration.

Recently, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was forced to apologize for saying Secretary Kerry was “obsessive and messianic,” and that he hoped Kerry “gets a Nobel Prize and leaves us alone.” Yet, there are some in the Democratic Party who remain hopeful they can reconcile the divide. It isn’t at all clear whether the few remaining pro-Israeli Democrats are simply aware of large Jewish constituencies in their districts, or are being genuine. Out of all the Democrats on Capitol Hill, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was the first one to push back on Kerry’s recent comments, though vulnerable Alaska Senator Mark Begich played follow the leader shortly after.

“Reports that Secretary Kerry has suggested Israel is becoming an apartheid state are extremely disappointing,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who is Jewish, said in a statement. “The use of the word apartheid has routinely been dismissed as both offensive and inaccurate, and Secretary Kerry’s use of it makes peace even harder to achieve.”

Both Kerry’s comments and Cantor’s response come as recent reports claimed that the Palestinian Authority made a deal with Hamas, which was a deal-breaker for Netanyahu. In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Netanyahu said that peace talks are “essentially buried” if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas goes ahead with the agreement.

“It’s a blow to Israel; it’s a blow to peace,” he said. “It’s a terrible blow to the Palestinian people, because they must choose, too, whether they want to go forward or go backward. Yesterday, with the pact with Hamas, the Palestinian people went, took a huge step backward, away from peace, away from a good future for themselves.”

While Cantor called for an apology for Kerry’s comments, which further threaten to undermine any hope for Israel’s willingness to negotiate, Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz called for Kerry’s resignation on the Senate floor.

“Mr. President, it is my belief that Secretary Kerry has thus proven himself unsuitable for his position and that before any further harm is done to our alliance with Israel, he should offer President Obama his resignation,” Cruz said. “And the president should accept it.”

Considering the administration’s propensity to ignore calls for cabinet resignations, Cruz shouldn’t hold his breathe. However, is doesn’t even matter if the current secretary of state resigns or not. His comments, once again, have highlighted the anti-Israeli view that has become the dominate view in the increasingly farther left-moving Democratic Party.

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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