US Secretary of State John Kerry does not support an economic boycott of Israel, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Sunday, in an effort to defuse tensions with Israel. Some Israeli politicians had responded derisively to Kerry’s statement this weekend that Israel would face a growing international boycott movement if peace talks failed.
Psaki said Sunday that Kerry’s only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others, which he has always opposed.
“Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts,” she said in a statement.
“Just last year while briefing foreign ministers at an EU conference in Vilnius on peacemaking efforts, he urged them to refrain from these measures,” Psaki said.
“Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.”
Over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference, Kerry said that Israel faces an “increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things.” He warned: “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.”
Kerry’s remarks, which were slammed by right-wing cabinet members including Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, were rejected by Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, who said “immoral and unjustified” boycotts would only only “push peace farther away.”