WASHINGTON — Two leading American Orthodox bodies rebuked a group of Israeli rabbis who warned of divine retribution against Secretary of State John Kerry.

“While the people of Israel and Jews around the world may properly possess serious concerns about proposals Secretary Kerry is putting forth, such concerns must only be expressed with civility and on the substance of the issues, not degenerating into personal venom and threats,” said a statement posted Feb. 5 by the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union.

The two Orthodox groups were responding to a letter put out by the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel. The committee’s letter likened Kerry to Nebuchadnezzer, the Babylonian king who destroyed the First Temple, and warns him to “immediately halt this process of destruction,” referring to his peace push, in order to “prevent heavy divine retribution, God forbid, on all those associated with you.”

A statement on the committee’s website says “dozens” of rabbis signed a letter to Kerry but names only five, affiliated with various Israeli municipalities.

“The letter of the ‘Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel’ may represent the views of its signators,” the RCA and O.U. statement said. “It does not represent ours.”