ADL and AJC Demand Israeli MK Apologize for Calling Kerry 'anti-Semitic'

In the midst of spat between Likud and Habayit Hayehudi, MK Moti Yogev says Kerry puts 'obsessive pressure' on Netanyahu.

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Both the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee condemned Knesset Member Moti Yogev for his remarks accusing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of "anti-Semitic undertones," a statement said Friday.

Yogev, of Habayit Hayehudi, said in an interview to Israel Radio on Thursday that Kerry puts "obsessive pressure" on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move the peace process forward. According to Yogev, Netanyahu has to maneuver under Kerry's relentlessness and "unprofessionalism, which may also have anti-Semitic undertones to it." Yogev also claimed that many Likud members share his view.

Yogev added Thursday that Kerry has "anti-Israel elements to him," which is why he does not seek compromise but only "unequivocal answers that could only mean shrinking Israel's borders."

In an open letter released on Friday, ADL chairman Abraham H. Foxman decried Yogev's remarks as “offensive, inflammatory and totally without any basis.”

"In this period of intense US-led negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, it is understandable that political tensions would arise regarding the implications for Israel of a future agreement," the letter read. Yet "it is beyond the bounds of legitimate critique to disparage the intent of the Secretary’s intensive […] investment in the negotiations, and simply indefensible to accuse him of harboring anti-Jewish beliefs."

“Such assertions are totally unfounded, dumb, and damaging,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said in a statement. “Anyone who has followed Secretary Kerry’s long public career knows that he has been a rock-solid friend of the U.S.-Israel relationship and the Jewish people.”

“MK Yogev certainly has the right to express his concern about the direction of the peace process, but his personal attack on Kerry is unwarranted,” said Harris, “Yogev should offer a heartfelt apology or his party’s leader, Naftali Bennett, should take swift action.”

“Let’s remember, Bayit Yehudi is part of Israel’s governing coalition, which is dealing with Washington on a minute-by-minute basis not only on the peace process, but also on a range of vital security, defense, intelligence, economic, and other key fields,” Harris added.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos January 24, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Kerry and Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, January 2, 2014.Credit: Reuters

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