The U.S. State Department is denying that a 2009 letter bearing then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s signature was meant for pro-Palestinian activists protesting Israel, saying it was an autopenned form letter from Kerry’s staff in support of a “humanitarian mission” and was never actually seen by the senator, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported (in Hebrew) Wednesday that the Kerry letter was used by members of the Gaza Freedom March, a planned march from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, to try to bolster their credentials to authorities in Egypt. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website and a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, and Jodie Evans, co-founder of the U.S. antiwar group Code Pink, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the letter was presented at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to try to gain support for the group to march into Gaza.
Egyptian authorities ultimately denied the march, but Abunimah told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the letter was “an example of the support people in our group received. Others had letters from others reps too. People had been encouraged to contact their elected reps prior to Gaza Freedom March.”
But a State Department official told TheBlaze in a statement that the letter was provided only “so that Massachusetts residents could receive meetings while they were in Israel and the Palestinian territories. That is all. And if it was used for anything else, it was used under false pretenses.”