B’nai B’rith Deeply Disappointed by Secretary Kerry’s Use of “Apartheid” When Discussing Israel’s Future
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is deeply disappointed and concerned to learn U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly used the term “apartheid state” when discussing Israel’s possible future during a closed-door meeting with international leaders at the Trilateral Commission on April 25.
While B’nai B’rith appreciates Kerry’s commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, we are troubled that America’s chief diplomat would invoke a term often favored by Israel’s harshest detractors, including proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The word “apartheid,” which resonates painfully with victims of South Africa’s former system of segregation, is commonly used by Israel’s opponents to castigate the Jewish state and brand it as an outlaw government.
Use of the term “apartheid” in any connection to the State of Israel is wholly inappropriate and insidious, as it plays directly into the hands of Israel’s enemies. Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is a lone defender of human rights in a region where it is surrounded by dictatorships, many of them egregious violators of basic moral principles. Injecting this deeply fraught word into a discussion about Israel’s future is severely offensive, regardless of the intention behind the term’s usage.