US State Department's spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry is opposed to any form of boycott against Israel, and rebuked anyone attempting to misrepresent his stance on the issue by "distorting" his recent statements.
The US is "absolutely opposed… to any attempt at boycotts, boycotting Israel. Secretary Kerry himself personally, who of course is the world's – or the United States' chief diplomat at this point, has a proud record of over three decades of past support for Israel's security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts."
Psaki noted that Kerry "has consistently been opposed to any form of boycott," stressing that any implications that Kerry is anti-Israel
or anti-Semitic were "Absolutely incorrect," insisting "There is no greater advocate – or opponent, I should say, to boycotts or proponent of Israel's security and their future."
The spokesperson added that Kerry "always expects anyone, even those who are against the efforts underway moving towards a peace process, not to distort his words or his record. And so I think that's frustrating for not just him but for any of us."
Saying that "there are stakes" for both the Israelis and the Palestinians for both sides, Psaki stressed that "What's important is that the people of Israel understand, know that you cannot find a greater opponent of boycotts than Secretary Kerry, and his record speaks to that.
The US secretary of state came under attack Monday by Israeli hawks who accuse him of manipulating the threat of an economic boycott to pressure Israel into peace concessions.
The latest war of words between the two allies erupted Saturday after Kerry warned that Israel was facing a growing campaign of delegitimization which would likely worsen if peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed.
Hardliners in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
were quick to lash out at Kerry.
One described his remarks as "offensive" and another accused him of working "to amplify" the boycott threat, prompting a terse statement from Washington urging Kerry's critics to get their facts straight.
Cabinet ministers continued their tirade on Monday, but Netanyahu appealed for calm later in the day.
AFP contributed to this report