James Taranto: The ‘apartheid’ slur has a long history.

“I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone,” John Kerry pronounced in a press statement yesterday. Far be it from us to defy an order from the secretary of state. It is clear to us, however, that there is something to which Kerry’s commitment is far deeper.

On Friday the secretary spoke to what the Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin characterizes as “a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting” of the Trilateral Commission. “The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa,” Rogin reported, citing a recording of the talk “obtained” by the Beast. Politico’s Dylan Byers reports that Rogin himself “allegedly taped” the talk, to which Rogin responded: “I don’t comment on my sourcing.”

In his statement, Kerry takes 72 words to distance himself from a single inflammatory one: “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…”

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