WASHINGTON - In a rare move, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday protested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about strong criticism of US foreign policy by his outspoken defense minister.
In a telephone call, Kerry told Netanyahu the comments made by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon are inconsistent with reality, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
“Clearly his comments were not constructive,” Psaki told reporters, after Yaalon slammed the US administration for showing weakness around the world.
“Secretary Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning and protested to him his concerns about these comments,” she said, adding that the US has an “unshakeable commitment” to Israel’s security.
“It is certainly confusing to us why Defense Minister Yaalon would continue his pattern of making comments that don’t accurately represent the scope of our close partnership on a range of security issues and on the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel,” Psaki added. It is not Yaalon’s first diatribe against the administration of President Barack Obama and Kerry himself.
In January, the State Department denounced as “offensive” comments made by the defense minister accusing Kerry of an “incomprehensible obsession” with his push for Middle East peace.
Yaalon was later forced to apologize to the top US diplomat, who has been trying to hammer out a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
Psaki refused to divulge what Netanyahu’s response was, nor whether Kerry had asked the Israeli prime minister to fire Yaalon.