Religious nationalist politician Moshe Feiglin has reacted to a perceived sleight from America’s top diplomat John Kerry by saying that Israel is the only white nation to bring blacks back from Africa for reasons other than slavery.
The right-wing Likud MK took aim at the US Secretary of State, after he warned that Israel risked becoming an apartheid state without a peace deal.
Feiglin (pictured, right) said: “Clearly, his words were directed at the Israeli public in order to create internal pressure for additional retreats. What is the truth?
“The only case in history in which a ‘white’ nation has sent its armed forces to Africa and brought back ‘blacks’ in order to make them citizens with equal rights – not slaves – is Israel’s rescue of Ethiopian Jewry.”
Recalling the American “capture” of the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Guam, Feiglin adds: “Nobody accuses the US of apartheid because the people in its territories do not have federal voting rights.”
The angry response comes in the aftermath of Kerry’s apology, following a barrage of criticism from American groups, which he described as “partisan political” attacks.
The Middle East’s would-be peace-maker said in his climb-down that – in retrospect – he would have rephrased it, saying: “If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word.”
But despite the apology, many have seized on Kerry’s remarks as a watershed moment, representing a significant departure for senior US officials, who have historically avoided the word “apartheid” in relation to Israel.