Secretary of State John Kerry does not believe that Israel is an apartheid state, according to his spokesperson, who refused to confirm that he said the country could turn into "an apartheid state with second-class citizens" if the peace talks fail.
"The secretary does not believe and did not state publicly or privately that Israel is an apartheid state," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday, adding that he regards Israel as "a vibrant democracy and he continues to believe that there should be an can be a path toward a two-state solution."
The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin obtained audio of a private conversation that Kerry had with international officials on Friday.
"A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens -- or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Rogin quotes Kerry as saying. "Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to."
When asked if Kerry understands that Israeli leaders and supporters oppose comparing Israel to an apartheid regime, Psaki replied that "We're certainly all familiar with the term."