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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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February 3, 2014 - 2:58 pm

The State Department today defended Secretary of State John Kerry against criticism over his mention of boycott movements at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend.

Kerry was outlining what would happen if his Middle East peace process effort broke down. “You see, for Israel there’s an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up,” Kerry said. “People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?”

Without mentioning Kerry by name at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the boycott efforts “cause the Palestinians to become entrenched behind their intransigent positions and push peace farther away, and secondly, no pressure will cause me to give up vital Israeli interests, first and foremost the security of Israel’s citizens.”

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz called Kerry’s words “offensive, unreasonable and unacceptable,” adding, “It is impossible to expect Israel to negotiate with a gun to its head.”

In an open letter to Kerry today, Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman said “describing the potential for expanded boycotts of Israel makes it more, not less, likely that the talks will not succeed; makes it more, not less, likely that Israel will be blamed if the talks fail; and more, not less, likely that boycotts will ensue.”

“Your comments, irrespective of your intentions, will inevitably be seen by Palestinians and anti-Israel activists as an incentive not to reach an agreement; as an indicator that if things fall apart, Israel will be blamed; and as legitimizing boycott activity. What is particularly troubling about your comments is the absence of similar tough talk about the consequences for Palestinians should the talks fail,” Foxman continued. “…Its absence suggests a historical amnesia about why there has been no peace and no solution all these years.”

When asked about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement at today’s State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “we are absolutely opposed, we have been opposed at boycotts boycotting Israel.”

“Secretary Kerry, himself, personally — who of course is the world’s chief — or the United States’ chief diplomat at this point — has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well being, including staunch opposition to boycotts,” Psaki continued.

“…There is no greater advocate, or opponent, I should say, to boycotts, or proponent of Israel’s security and their future.”

She maintained that Kerry’s “only reference to a boycott in his remarks was a description of action undertaken by others that he has been a vocal opponent of, he has taken actions to oppose. So, there should be no confusion or question about his record or his view on this interest.”

“What’s important is that the people of Israel understand and know that you cannot find a greater opponent of boycotts from Secretary Kerry and his record speaks to that,” Psaki said. “And all we can do here is continue to convey what is accurate and what the facts are and so, yes, he does expect that the parties and whether they’re for or against his efforts or any efforts at all, will not distort his facts or his record. And that’s why we’re speaking forcefully on this issue.”

Psaki claimed that the Mideast talks are “at a point in the process where we are discussing a framework for negotiations moving forward.”

“The parties who are negotiating over this are committed to sitting down at the table, addressing the tough choices,” she said. “We can’t make a prediction of what the outcome will be, but it is not a surprise that at this challenging time in the process, given that we are talking about the core issues, that things have become more challenging politically.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
How would you feel with the likes of Obama and Kerry supposedly "having your back." Why not go ahead and use Chicago style tactics on Israel for not bowing to these best eva Pres and Sec of State? Every US president wants to be the one that solves the mid-east crisis. In this case the option of killing off Israel to solve the crisis is more likely than ever. Obama is a liar and a con man with absolutely no experience. His freind Kerry is another big talking BS artist and an empty suit. So you have these clowns running foreign policy and Israel surrounded on all sides by Arabs with all the land in the world and 200 million people who want to kill them off. Now after about 100 trips to Europe sipping wine and eating brie well Bozo Kerry has convinced the Eurpeans to put on their Anit Semite hats and do it to Israel one more time for old times sake. Not hard to do with a bunch of rapid Anti Israel wack jobs in the EU who are now tripping over each to roll out the red carpet for Iran's oil money. These are the other Bozos that "have Israel's back". Bebe you are on your own. I pray for Israel but do NOT listen to the USA any more. Go it alone and do what you gotta do.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
“…There is no greater advocate, or opponent, I should say, to boycotts, or proponent of Israel’s security and their future.”

She simply forgot which audience she was addressing.

The State Department has refined talking out of both sides of ones mouth to high art.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
“The parties who are negotiating over this are committed to sitting down at the table, addressing the tough choices,” she [Psaki] said.

Uh, the Palestinians aren't sitting down at the table - not with the Israelis at least. They're only talking to Kerry and his team. And with the media and with the Europeans and with the Arab League, but not with Israel. That's why Kerry is shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah, barely 30 minutes drive away.

Kerry can be quite obtuse sometimes (well, most of the time), but as the US' chief diplomat and emissary, his words convey "signals". His words in November warning of a Third Intifada if peace couldn't be reached sparked a rise in terror attacks that could then be blamed on Israel. And his recent talk of boycotts, following so closely more explicit warnings from Europe that Israel - and Israel alone - would face increased isolation and boycotts if peace wasn't achieved has been followed by (surprise!) announcements of new boycotts.

Platitudes from Kerry or State Department shills like Psaki aren't convincing those subject to these latest assaults.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"What is particularly troubling about your comments is the absence of similar tough talk about the consequences for Palestinians should the talks fail"

That's because they have nothing to lose if they fail. All experience tells the PA that the more they refuse, the more they get.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Psaki's statement sounds a little bit like, "Some of my best friends are Jews." Also, why would anyone take seriously anything this Administration says. After all, always remember: If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare. Period.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
my buddy's step-aunt makes $82/hr on the computer. She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $18010 just working on the computer for a few hours. read this…. www.works12.com
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was really sick of you people to stick an ad on the recent obituaries. Perhaps someone can go and complain to your web service provider.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kerry is a marching moron with a dash of sociopathology.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
An amusing clip of what Israelis think of Kerry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBXvrVgWToM
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kerry should be condemed to drowning in a bathtub of his wife's ketchup.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bridget,
When Obama sat down with O'Reilly and said that there was "not a smidgeon of corruption" in the IRS scandal; how the hell did he know? There is not only an ongoing investigation; but non of the victims of the IRS political adversaries probing have even been interviewed. In the meantime, Eric Holder consistenly refuses to answer questions relating to any of the scandals because of "ongoing investigations". Obama is clearly a hypocrite and a liar when the statied the "smidgeon" stuff; he vowed to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal and make heads roll. O'Reilly should have respinded to the "smidgeon" statement by pointing out that Lois Lerner pleaded the fifth and refused to testify; why would she do that iof there isn't even a smligeon of wrongdoing?
They're not "obtuse" the moron leftists; they're deliberately lying in order to deceive because to them; the "end" game justifies it. Obama and Kerry are AWOL and have nowhere to go ... it's sad.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
How would you feel with the likes of Obama and Kerry supposedly "having your back." Why not go ahead and use Chicago style tactics on Israel for not bowing to these best eva Pres and Sec of State? Every US president wants to be the one that solves the mid-east crisis. In this case the option of killing off Israel to solve the crisis is more likely than ever. Obama is a liar and a con man with absolutely no experience. His freind Kerry is another big talking BS artist and an empty suit. So you have these clowns running foreign policy and Israel surrounded on all sides by Arabs with all the land in the world and 200 million people who want to kill them off. Now after about 100 trips to Europe sipping wine and eating brie well Bozo Kerry has convinced the Eurpeans to put on their Anit Semite hats and do it to Israel one more time for old times sake. Not hard to do with a bunch of rapid Anti Israel wack jobs in the EU who are now tripping over each to roll out the red carpet for Iran's oil money. These are the other Bozos that "have Israel's back". Bebe you are on your own. I pray for Israel but do NOT listen to the USA any more. Go it alone and do what you gotta do.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
“…There is no greater advocate, or opponent, I should say, to boycotts, or proponent of Israel’s security and their future.”

She simply forgot which audience she was addressing.

The State Department has refined talking out of both sides of ones mouth to high art.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
She thought it was the PA legislature or maybe the university faculty at Columbia or Wisconsin or Berkeley...touche.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
KERRY'S AS BIG A LIAR AS OBAMA
Kerry is actually encouraging the Europeans to boycott Israel so that he, then,
can use the threat of a boycott to blackmail Israel into a 'peace' treaty.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
“The parties who are negotiating over this are committed to sitting down at the table, addressing the tough choices,” she [Psaki] said.

Uh, the Palestinians aren't sitting down at the table - not with the Israelis at least. They're only talking to Kerry and his team. And with the media and with the Europeans and with the Arab League, but not with Israel. That's why Kerry is shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah, barely 30 minutes drive away.

Kerry can be quite obtuse sometimes (well, most of the time), but as the US' chief diplomat and emissary, his words convey "signals". His words in November warning of a Third Intifada if peace couldn't be reached sparked a rise in terror attacks that could then be blamed on Israel. And his recent talk of boycotts, following so closely more explicit warnings from Europe that Israel - and Israel alone - would face increased isolation and boycotts if peace wasn't achieved has been followed by (surprise!) announcements of new boycotts.

Platitudes from Kerry or State Department shills like Psaki aren't convincing those subject to these latest assaults.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
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