WASHINGTON–Former Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., slammed Secretary of State Kerry for comparing Israel to an “apartheid state” with Kerry using a phrase he later retracted, still touching a nerve in the U.S. Jewish community and Israel. 

Support for Israel is a major issue in the north suburban 10th congressioanal district, where Dold is battling Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., to reclaim the seat he lost after one term in 2012.

“We work so hard to combat international attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel, so it is particularly disturbing to hear our very own Secretary of State, who is supposed to be our ambassador to the world and represent our values, embrace the delegitimization rhetoric of those who seek harm to Israel. Secretary Kerry’s remarks about Israel simply should not be tolerated,” Dold said in a statement.

“It is also disappointing to see Congressman Schneider, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, opt for silence rather than action in the wake of these remarks. I for one will never shy away from standing up and speaking out on behalf of our friend and ally, Israel.” 

Read Kerry’s full statement taking back his words HERE.

Excerpt: “First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.

“Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution. In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.”