The Anti-Defamation League on Friday called on MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) to apologize to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for saying Kerry had made comments laced with "undertones of anti-Semitism."
Speaking to Israel Radio on Thursday, Yogev accused Kerry of being an unfair mediator in the peace talks, and said the secretary of state had "anti-Israel elements to him."
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is acting under Kerry's obsessive pressure, which may have anti-Semitic undertones. ... Kerry is not here to reach a compromise. He wants to decrease the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel and create a Palestinian state," Yogev said.
The ADL denounced Yogev's comments as "offensive, inflammatory and totally without any basis," and said that Kerry deserved a "full and prompt apology" from the MK.
"In this period of intense U.S.-led negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, it is understandable that political tensions would arise regarding the implications for Israel of a future agreement," ADL Chairman Abraham Foxman wrote in an open letter to Yogev, released on Friday.
"While you and other members of the Israeli government and Knesset may disagree -- even strongly object -- to the initiatives of the U.S. and Secretary Kerry, it is beyond the bounds of legitimate critique to disparage the intent of the secretary's intensive commitment to and investment in the negotiations, and simply indefensible to accuse him of harboring anti-Jewish beliefs."
Yogev said in response that his criticism was of the situation and not personal, and he did not believe an apology was warranted. Yogev said the Prime Minister's Office and U.S. Embassy had contacted him after his statements.