Republicans in Congress and pro-Israel groups are criticizing Secretary of State John Kerry for reportedly saying Israel could become an apartheid state if it doesn’t reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.

The Daily Beast said that Mr. Kerry was speaking privately to European, Russian and Japanese officials when he made the comment. It’s a warning Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Barak previously has made.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday, Mr. Kerry sees Israel as a vibrant democracy, not an apartheid state

Mr. Kerry’s effort to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace framework has crumbled recently amid Israeli settlement construction and reconciliation between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ government and the Islamic militant group Hamas.

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