Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday condemned an unnamed senior Obama administration official calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "chickens**t" as "disgraceful, unacceptable" and "damaging."
"We condemn anybody who uses language such as was used in this article," Kerry said at the Washington Ideas Forum. "That does not reflect the president, it does not reflect me, it is disgraceful, unacceptable, damaging and I think neither President Obama nor I — I've never heard that word around me in the White House or anywhere."
Secretary of State John Kerry gestures while participating in the Sixth Annual Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Despite Kerry's words, there has been no formal apology for the epithet from the U.S. government. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday that officials were not trying to find out who made the remark to the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.
Kerry defended the Obama administration's relationship with Israel, which has been notoriously rocky, saying the president has been very committed to the Iron Dome air defense system and has consistently supported Israel's right to defend itself. He said Obama wants to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together to resolve their differences.
"I don't know who these anonymous people are who keep getting quoted in things, but they make life much more difficult. We are proud of what we have done to help Israel through a very difficult time," Kerry said.