I think the word “cowardly” in the title is much too strong. Perhaps a variety of negative words could be used to describe something done by Sec. Kerry, a politician who may have drifted far from his youthful ideals, but I think “cowardly” is never an appropriate word to describe him or something he thinks or does.
I think Sec. Kerry has been routinely using the word “apartheid” to describe the possible situation or perhaps even the present situation. When he saw the over-reaction, which he probably wanted and expected, he made the apology. Making such apologies is part of his job as a diplomat. However, his statement is not much of an apology, and it restates his main points.
I agree with the essence of the article: The focus on the word “apartheid” is a giant blunder.