Kerry: US must reject boycotts of Israel

Secretary of State John Kerry plans to tell the largest pro-Israel lobbying group on Monday that the United States must reject “arbitrary and unwarranted” boycotts of Israel. 

“In order for Israel to continue thriving economically, we must also stand together and with a single voice reject arbitrary and unwarranted boycotts of Israel," Kerry will tell the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual policy conference on Monday evening.  

The State Department released advance excerpts of Kerry’s speech, in which he says that, for more than 30 years, he has "staunchly, loudly and unapologetically opposed boycotts of Israel," and will continue to do so. 

"That will never change," he says. 

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Kerry’s remarks come just a month after some Israeli officials accused him of supporting a boycott against their country — an effort which Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called “anti-Semitic.” 

The debacle happened after Kerry warned a security conference in Munich that Israel risked international isolation if they didn’t try to bridge a two-state deal with the Palestinians.  

The Obama administration slammed the hawkish officials for their personal attacks against Kerry and defended him by citing his longtime commitment to Israel’s security.

“And every time Israel is subjected to attacks on its legitimacy, whether at the United Nations or from any nation, the United States will use every tool we have to defeat these efforts — and we will stand with Israel,” Kerry will tell AIPAC delegates on Monday.

Kerry will also touch on the negotiations with Iran to slow its nuclear program and warn that all options remain on the table if Iran doesn’t comply with the interim deal.

“If Iran fails this test, America will not fail Israel,” Kerry says. “We have taken no options off the table. But so far, there is no question that tough sanctions and strong diplomacy is already making Israel and America safer.”