Kerry and Netanyahu
Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem on April 9. (Matty Ster/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

Top American Jewish leaders, in interviews published Sunday by the Algemeiner, blasted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his comments last week on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kerry had said that failed Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations could lead to a third Palestinian intifada and that the U.S. agrees with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) position that Israeli construction beyond the 1967 lines is illegitimate and presents an obstacle to peace.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the Algemeiner, “The danger [of Kerry’s comments] is that you legitimate an escalation by saying that ‘because there is no progress it can start an intifada.’ There are elements there that will use this to legitimize what [the Palestinians] are doing.”

Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, said Kerry “introduced views that can only complicate the [negotiations] process.”

“It would be more productive to exhort the parties to work toward compromise, rather than speculating on worst-case scenarios,” Mariaschin said.

“Why would the Palestinians negotiate on anything when the secretary of state calls settlements ‘illegal,’ when he says Israeli troops have to leave West Bank, when he increases aid to the PA when their corruption infuriates the Palestinian street and seems to make no demands for Palestinians to once and for all stop the attacks on their neighbor’s legitimacy?” said Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Read the full story from The Algemeiner here

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