Right-wing Knesset members on Saturday slammed US Secretary John Kerry for saying that if peace talks with the Palestinians fail, there will be a “high risk” of increased boycotts, as well as a higher likelihood of international isolation, in store for Israel.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Kerry said failure to reach a peace deal would damage Israel’s capacity to be “a democratic state with the particular special Jewish character that is a central part of the narrative and of the future.”
In response, Economics Minister and Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett accused Kerry of incitement and of serving as a “mouthpiece” for anti-Semitic elements attempting to boycott Israel.
To Kerry “and all advisers,” Bennett wrote in a Facebook post, “the Jewish people are stronger than the threats against them.” He added that the Jews would not “surrender their land” as a result of economic pressure.
“Only security will bring economic stability, not a terrorist state close to Ben-Gurion Airport. We expect our friends around the world to stand by our side to face the anti-Semitic attempts to boycott Israel, not to be their mouthpiece,” Bennett added.
“In any case, we knew how to stay strong in the past and we will now as well,” he concluded.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) was also quick to respond to Kerry’s comments.
“Kerry said today that Israel’s economic prosperity and security are an illusion, and that if peace talks fail, Israel will be boycotted. But the truth is that the only illusions are the peace slogans Kerry is trying to sell to Israel. Slogans that cover up an existential threat to the state of Israel,” Ariel posted late Saturday on his official Facebook page.
“The Palestinians can hardly believe how lucky they are to have such a ‘fair’ mediator,” he added. “This is what incitement looks like.”
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely, meanwhile, said Kerry’s “threats of an unprecedented boycotts” were “attempts to intimidate Israel in an effort to impose a dangerous agreement that runs contrary to the position of the Israeli government.”
Hotovely said such an agreement, which would “jeopardize Israel’s security,” would be “worse than any economic boycott.”
She recalled that Israel underwent its worst financial crisis during “the Oslo era.”
Likud MK and deputy minister Ofir Akunis also lambasted Kerry for his remarks, saying they were indicative of Washington’s “aggressive policy towards Israel.”
He added, “We were here before Kerry, we’ll be here after him as well.”