Ted Cruz: John Kerry Should Resign Over Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comment

The Texas Republican is upset with comments the secretary of State made at a closed-door meeting.

US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) waits to speak at the Heritage Foundation January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Cruz and others spoke about the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi and Russia's human rights record.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
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Elahe Izadi
April 28, 2014, 1:35 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz wants Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry to resign over his com­ment that without a two-state solu­tion to the Is­raeli-Palestini­an con­flict, Is­rael risks be­com­ing an “apartheid state.”

The Texas Re­pub­lic­an, who’s pos­sibly run­ning for pres­id­ent in 2016, took to the Sen­ate floor Monday to call for Kerry to step down. {{ BIZOBJ (video: 4910) }}

“Sadly, it is my be­lief that Sec­ret­ary Kerry has proven him­self un­suit­able for the po­s­i­tion he holds,” Cruz said. “There­fore, be­fore any fur­ther harm is done to our na­tion­al se­cur­ity in­terests and to our crit­ic­al al­li­ance with the na­tion of Is­rael, that John Jerry should of­fer Pres­id­ent Obama his resig­na­tion and the pres­id­ent should ac­cept it.”

Kerry’s re­marks, made in a closed-door meet­ing with world lead­ers and cap­tured on au­dio ob­tained by The Daily Beast, warned of the con­sequences of fail­ing to reach a res­ol­u­tion to the Is­raeli-Palestini­an con­flict:

A two-state solu­tion will be clearly un­der­scored as the only real al­tern­at­ive. Be­cause a unit­ary state winds up either be­ing an apartheid state with second-class cit­izens — or it ends up be­ing a state that des­troys the ca­pa­city of Is­rael to be a Jew­ish state,” Kerry said. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that real­ity, which is the bot­tom line, you un­der­stand how im­per­at­ive it is to get to the two-state solu­tion, which both lead­ers, even yes­ter­day, said they re­main deeply com­mit­ted to.”

Sen. Cruz was one of just three sen­at­ors to vote against Kerry’s con­firm­a­tion to be sec­ret­ary of State last Janu­ary.

The State De­part­ment re­leased a state­ment from Kerry Monday night re­af­firm­ing his sup­port for Is­rael, say­ing “I will not al­low my com­mit­ment to Is­rael to be ques­tioned by any­one, par­tic­u­larly for par­tis­an, polit­ic­al pur­poses.” “Is­rael,” Kerry said, “is a vi­brant demo­cracy and I do not be­lieve, nor have I ever stated, pub­licly or privately, that Is­rael is an apartheid state or that it in­tends to be­come one.”

And the sec­ret­ary ad­dressed his word use ex­pli­citly:

I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to cre­ate a mis­im­pres­sion, even when un­in­ten­tion­al, and if I could re­wind the tape, I would have chosen a dif­fer­ent word to de­scribe my firm be­lief that the only way in the long term to have a Jew­ish state and two na­tions and two peoples liv­ing side by side in peace and se­cur­ity is through a two state solu­tion.

Kerry’s ini­tial re­marks have sparked oth­er con­gres­sion­al re­sponses. House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor called on Kerry to apo­lo­gize, say­ing in a state­ment Monday that “the use of the word ‘apartheid’ has routinely been dis­missed as both of­fens­ive and in­ac­cur­ate, and Sec­ret­ary Kerry’s use of it makes peace even harder to achieve.”

Pres­id­ent Obama has pre­vi­ously re­jec­ted the use of the term “apartheid” to de­scribe the cur­rent state of af­fairs in Is­rael, say­ing it’s “emo­tion­ally loaded, his­tor­ic­ally in­ac­cur­ate, and it’s not what I be­lieve.”

And the power­ful Amer­ic­an Is­rael Pub­lic Af­fairs Com­mit­tee called Kerry’s re­marks “deeply troub­ling” in a rare state­ment re­leased Monday.

“Any sug­ges­tion that Is­rael is, or is at risk of be­com­ing, an apartheid state is of­fens­ive and in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” AIPAC said. “The Jew­ish state is a shin­ing light for free­dom and op­por­tun­ity in a re­gion plagued by ter­ror, hate, and op­pres­sion.”

This post was up­dated Monday night with the state­ment from the State De­part­ment.

Matt Berman contributed to this article.
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