Among US expressions of outrage and condolence, Obama, Kerry and Rice identify with Israeli parents

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Susan Rice
Susan Rice

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.

President's statement
President’s statement


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:

Later Rice wrote: 

And Rice echoed the president’s statement, expressing concern about escalation:

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:

The Florida congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee: 

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.

The Jewish Voice for Peace statement is also one of pure condolence:

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:

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Interesting. No doubt not one of these people had any such expressions of grief and regret when the Palestinians boys were murdered on Nakba day. (Mr. Boteach, how many of you rabbis condemned their murderers???) They must have all been busy getting the car washed or something.

As an American this is embarrassing. You would expect some kind of pretense at neutrality, and mentioning deaths on both sides, at least. Reality is totally different, but it seems our President, and his administration, like congress, and many others, are obvious hypocrites, when they do not mention the brutal deaths of Palestinians prior to this incident. At least there was some effort at the UN to “condemn” the unnecessary arrests of Palestinians, (hundreds actually),… Read more »

I think Col Pat Lang is on the same theme here with his story on narrative and access.

It’s all so transparent. The US government says nothing about those two Palestinian boys murdered in the street for no reason other than they were Palestinians, which was filmed, and then the camera was confiscated by Israel. US said nothing. Now, there’s no evidence produced as to who kidnapped and murdered 3 Jewish Israeli teens, but the US officials are falling all over each other expressing sympathy. I’m embarrassed to be complicit by virtue of… Read more »


In the USA mindset, Jewish lives are invaluable.

Palestinian lives are not worth a twitter.