Misreading Kerry


Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks in no way imply that the U.S. might join a
boycott of Israel, as your Editorial charges (“Kerry Adds Fuel To BDS Fire,”
Feb. 7). To the contrary, he warns that further sanctions by Israel’s
critics would be disastrous.

The distortion comes of snatching a few sentences out of context from a long, wide-ranging, public discussion of global affairs at an international
security conference. There, Kerry briefly referred to the effort to
delegitimize and boycott Israel that your Editorial describes in detail.

The secretary was simply mentioning a reality, not condoning it. However
outrageous the boycott campaign is, neither Israel nor the U.S. can stop it. Kerry’s point was that time is not on Israel’s side in reaching a
comprehensive peace settlement with the Palestinians. For now, it negotiates
from a position of strength, but delay will increasingly expose it to
isolation by the sanctions movement.

Twisting Kerry’s words into a threat to turn against Israel suggests a
deliberate misreading. The only purpose of that would be to derail
negotiations for a two-state solution.