Kerry: ‘If I Could Rewind The Tape, I Would Have Chosen a Different Word’

By Patrick Goodenough | April 28, 2014 | 8:52pm EDT

Secretary of State Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 8, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday defended his support for Israel, declared that he has never stated that it was or intended to become an “apartheid” state, but acknowledged he should not have used the term in reference to Israel.

“I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional,” he said in a statement. “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.”

“In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve,” he added.

Kerry issued the statement after a report on his remarks to closed-door meeting on Friday unleashed a storm, with calls for an apology and even for his resignation.

“I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe,” he said.

“Israel 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. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.”

Kerry noted that some Israeli leaders, including Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, “have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future.”

But, he conceded, “it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.”

MRC Store