Tuesday was originally supposed to be the deadline for U.S.-brokered talks to reach a Mideast peace deal. Instead, talks have broken down and Secretary of State John Kerry has apologized for his comment, recorded surreptitiously, that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state if it does not find a way to achieve peace with Palestinians.
Kerry’s remark drew expected condemnation from the right: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he should resign. But it also was condemned from the left. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, didn’t mention Kerry, but she tweeted that any correlation between Israel and apartheid is ridiculous.
In a written apology, Kerry pointed out that a number of current Israeli officials have used the same term, but he added that it has no place in the discourse.
“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,” he said.
A reporter for The Daily Beast first published an article including the apartheid comment Sunday night, after Kerry gave what was supposed to be a private talk as part of the Trilateral Commission. How reporter Josh Rogin got the audio is a mystery. The commission, a group formed to foster cooperation among Japan, Europe and North America, apologized to Kerry for the leak.