Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement released Monday, warned: "I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don't believe."
Well, certainly America's top diplomat should strive to be "crystal clear" about where he - and our nation - stand.
But Mr. Kerry should also clearly understand that while his office carries ample clout, it does not grant him the power to "not allow" the questioning of his commitments.
He also should have known that when he told a meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington last Friday that Israel could become an "apartheid state" if it doesn't reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, that "a-word" would spark such questions.
Mr. Kerry did try to set the record straight about his admittedly ill-chosen "apartheid" reference, which was revealed Sunday by The Daily Beast. He conceded, in his Monday statement, that "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."
Secretary Kerry also hailed Israel as a "vibrant democracy."
Still, some U.S. supporters of Israel - and some Israeli officials - were understandably alarmed by that "a-word."
Meanwhile, concerns persist about the Obama administration's lack of clarity, and logic, on assorted international challenges. Among them: Russia's westward expansionism, China's provocative new claims in the South China Sea, the West's dubious nuclear deal with Iran, the continuing carnage in Syria, and yes, the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.
So we don't just need better word choices from our secretary of state.
We need better foreign-policy choices from our president.