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U.S., Israel React To Kerry's Boycott Comments

The U.S. State Department has responded Israeli politicians\' criticisms that Secretary of State John Kerry is encouraging a boycott against Israel.
Posted at 10:43 AM, Feb 02, 2014

​​U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is under attack from Israeli politicians again — this time, they say, for encouraging an international boycott against Israel should peace talks with the Palestinians fail.  

The U.S. State Department has now issued a statement urging Kerry's words be portrayed "accurately" after Israeli politicians lashed out at the secretary of state. 

Here's what happened: Kerry was in Munich, Germany for a security conference when he was asked a question about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the peace process. 

"Today's status quo ... is illusionary. You see for Israel there is an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up ... talk of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?" (Via The U.S. State Department)

And to his critics, that sounded like Kerry encouraging​ a boycott of Israel. In response to those comments, Israel's economic minister, who's a fierce critic of Kerry, posted to his Facebook page: 

“Let us be clear to all of the advice givers: Never has a nation abandoned their land because of economic threats..."

And other right-leaning Israeli politicians jumped in to slam Kerry. The country's deputy defense minister said a peace deal can't be brokered with "a gun to our heads." 

While the construction and house minister weighed in, saying: “The only fantasies are the slogans of peace Kerry is trying to sell to Israel.” (Via The Jerusalem Post)

This isn't the first time this year Kerry's support for Israel has been called into question. 

In January, Israel's defense minister called Kerry "obsessive" and "messianic" in the peace process, something he later apologized for after the State Department and White House issued a stern rebuke. 

In response to the latest criticism, State Department Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to clarify, saying "[Kerry's] only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others that he has always opposed." 

European officials have warned Israel could face economic isolation if it continues the additional construction of more settlements in the West Bank. Just Saturday, Denmark's largest bank blacklisted some Israeli banks because of their ties to West Bank settlements.