WASHINGTON – In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, blasted Secretary of State John Kerry for saying that Jewish people of Israel are risking guilt for the crime of apartheid by not agreeing to Kerry's two-state solution.
In the heated speech, Gohmert said Kerry should "stand down or be removed from office," because he "stands for those who support Israel's destruction."
"It is Israel that has fought against such racism and hatred. He said that about Israeli Jews who the U.N. unanimously provided a nation after the worst genocide in world history. Secretary Kerry is ignorant of both history and the offense of apartheid. Our secretary of state has effectively cursed Israel," said Gohmert, the vice chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
Gohmert cited history to illustrate his point that Jewish Israelis fight against racism and hatred.
"It is not Israel who sent suicide bombers against Palestinians, nor denied the right of Palestinians to work in Israel. It was not Israel who advocated for completely wiping others off the map nor taught children in their textbooks to vilely hate others as rats and vermin. It was not Israel who named landmarks and holidays for murderers using suicide bombs to kill innocents nor launched rockets every day hoping to terrorize and kill innocent people," he said.
Kerry issued a statement Monday expressing regret for the politically charged comments he made during a meeting with influential world leaders Friday.
He said he had a 30-year history of "walking the walk when it came time to vote and fight."
"As Secretary of State, I have spent countless hours working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister Livni because I believe in the kind of future that Israel not only wants, but Israel deserves. I want to see a two-state solution that results in a secure Jewish state and a prosperous Palestinian state, and I've actually worked for it," Kerry said.
He had been talking to a closed meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington when he said Israel risked becoming an "apartheid state" with two classes of citizens if it didn't agree to a two-state solution.
Kerry seemed to blame partisan politics for the controversy over his apartheid comment but in the same breath said he wished he "would have chosen a different word" when describing his desire for "two people to live side by side in peace and security through a two-state solution."
"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," Kerry said. "First, 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."
But it was not the only controversial remark on the Middle East Kerry made during Friday's talk. The Daily Beast said it had a recording in which Kerry repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to the resumption of Palestinian violence against Jews and Israeli citizens.
"Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to 'take it or leave it,'" the report said.
Kerry's apartheid remark was seen as particularly insensitive by many Jewish and world leaders because it came at a critical time – Holocaust Remembrance Day – that honors the memory of millions of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust.
WND reported that just a couple of weeks ago. during Passover in Israel, old wounds were opened when Ukrainian rebels dropped anti-Semitic leaflets dictating Jewish citizens register with the local government.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Kerry should resign.
Christians United for Israel executive director David Brog told WND his group is pleased that Kerry apologized.
"But while it's good that he's revisited this offensive choice of words, it does not seem that he's revisited his fundamental assumptions," Brog said. "The real issue is whether Israel needs to be persuaded to seek peace and whether Israel is an obstacle to peace. We believe that the answer to both questions is no. The administration still seems to think that the answer to both questions is yes."
The use of "apartheid" immediately takes listeners to the decades-long policy of racial separation and inequality in South Africa. The understood implication in Kerry's comments is that Palestinians living in disputed territories controlled by Israel would suffer from prejudice, persecution and inequality if a two-state solution is not achieved.
As WND reported, while Kerry didn't say Israel currently employs apartheid policies, his utterance of the term evokes the position of Palestinian leaders and allies in academia and the United Nations who have used it to brand Israel as a racist government whose policies are motivated not by self-defense against an existential threat, but by racism. In one of countless instances since the early 1990s, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used the term in his 2011 address to the U.N. General Assembly.
Mike Evans is a Middle East expert and a longtime personal friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said the U.S. and the Palestinians are demanding that Israel make concessions in the full knowledge that the Palestinians want to exterminate them.
"What this is about is terror strategy. It works like this: 'Israel, you give us what we want, or we kill you. We'll kill you.' Therefore, (Abbas is) going back to full-blown terror. They've done it many times before, and they're doing it again," Evans said.
"So what does John Kerry do? Instead of condemning them, he goes after Israel. 'Israel, what's wrong with you? Geez, just because they want to kill you and on the week of the Holocaust Memorial they want to blow you up,'" he said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Mike Evans below:
Apartheid is defined under the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as: “Inhumane acts ... committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.