Many American political figures expressed shock and sympathy over the murders of the three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank. Some of these statements have also included political points. Here is a roundup of some of the remarks, including ones from Jewish groups.
First, here is the White House statement from yesterday afternoon. It refers to terrorism, and Obama identifies as a father, a theme echoed by his aides.
Secretary of State John Kerry condemned terrorists in his statement of condolence, and also identified with the parents of the three boys.
The news of the murder of these three Israeli teenagers — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach — is simply devastating. We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way. As a father, there are no words to express such a horrific loss that shakes all people of conscience. We pray for these three boys and their families, and together we grieve with all the people of Israel. Knowing that Naftali was also an American citizen makes this an especially heavy blow not just to Israel, but to the United States.
We condemn this despicable terrorist act in the strongest possible terms. The killing of innocent youths is an outrage beyond any understanding or rationale, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is a time for all to work towards that goal without destabilizing the situation.
Kerry seems to echo Samantha Power, who also called the news devastating:
Join POTUS in sending condolences to families of 3 murdered Israeli teens, including 1 who was American. Devastating.
Here are three tweets from national security adviser Susan Rice. She also identified with the parents:
As the mother of a 16 year old boy, I can only imagine the horrific pain the families of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are suffering — Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) July 1, 2014
Later Rice wrote:
I had a chance to convey my condolences directly to my Israeli counterpart and friend Yossi Cohen when he visited the WH today — Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) July 1, 2014
And Rice echoed the president’s statement, expressing concern about escalation:
It is vitally important that all parties avoid steps that could further increase tensions and destabilize the situation — Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) July 1, 2014
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made this statement, which places the murders in Israel, though they surely occurred in the West Bank:
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo:
I am deeply shocked and saddened at the murder of #EyalGiladNaftali. Our thoughts & prayers are with their families and the state of Israel.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 30, 2014
The Florida congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee:
My thoughts are with the families of the three Israeli teens. I am so sorry for your loss. — D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) June 30, 2014
Pro-Israel congressman Eliot Engel issued a lengthy statement chiefly of condolence.
“Every parent’s greatest fear is harm coming to his or her child, and so I can’t imagine what the parents of Gil-ad, Naftali, and Eyal are experiencing on this sad day. …
“I’m heartbroken today at the loss of these three boys. I wish comfort upon their families. And I hope whoever is responsible for this evil is brought swiftly to justice.”
Here is AIPAC’s statement on the “terrorist murder of the Israeli teens” which places blame on Hamas– though Hamas denies responsibility.
AIPAC stands with the people of Israel at this moment of sorrow and loss. We express our deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the innocent teenage boys who were murdered by terrorists with no respect for human life.
Americans and Israelis understand that terrorist barbarism cannot be tolerated. We have once again witnessed that Hamas is an enemy of peace, reconciliation and fundamental human decency. For the sake of peace, all people of goodwill should distance themselves from this terrorist body.
Israel is not alone at this terrible time of mourning. America and all civilized people share Israel’s loss and identify with her determination to defend her people. Terror must be given no quarter.
By contrast, the ADL statement is almost purely one of condolence to the families and their country. ADL’s Abe Foxman says nothing about Hamas.
We are opposed to any violence against civilians, which is a violation of international law and an affront to our values. We hope that the punishment of Palestinian society as a whole – itself a violation of international law – will not intensify in place of real justice in the aftermath of this tragedy.
May we honor their memories through our commitment to a just peace.
J Street’s statement is similar to that one:
We condemn these brutal killings and express hope that those who carried them out will be brought quickly to justice.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the three boys and with the people of Israel at this moment of profound sadness. Tonight, we join them in the mourners’ call that “He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles issued a statement, excerpted, with an emphasis on terrorists:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorists involved in the senseless murder of three innocent teenagers, and pray that justice will be served. As always, we stand in solidarity with Israel, especially during this difficult time. It is imperative that we do not forget Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. May their memories always be a blessing. Tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 1st) at 7pm, Beth Jacob is holding a memorial service that is open to the public and being planned in partnership with our Federation, the Israeli Consulate and Lihi Shaar, aunt of Gilad Shaar, who is a member of the congregation. The address is 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 90211. The entire community is invited to attend.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has political points to make:
Can’t help throwing this one in too, from Mitchell Plitnick: