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

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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:

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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17 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on July 1, 2014, 9:22 am

    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.

  2. Kay24 on July 1, 2014, 9:57 am

    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), and the killing of some who were most probably innocent (going by how Israel usually acts), in true Israeli overreaction to this kidnapping.

    UN statement on Palestinians arrested and killed:

    • Walid on July 1, 2014, 10:48 am

      Kay, this is the first time in about 10 years that I hear Jeffrey Feltman say something that could be construed as negative towards Israel; most probably the first time he does. As to America’s lack of neutrality, I’ve gotten used to it and it no longer upsets me. America has a right to its preferences and in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it’s on the side of Israel, no matter what Israel does and being on the side of Israel means you can’t say anything sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, so I understand its position. Politics aside, remember what Obama and Sarkozy were saying about Netanyahu behind his back when they were in Cannes.

      • Kay24 on July 1, 2014, 11:46 am

        Well, if it is the first time Jeffrey Feltman sounded critical of Israel, Hell must have frozen over! I do not think I will ever get over the fact that as a US taxpayer we keep shoveling our money to this ungrateful and arrogant nation, and every American institution including almost all our leaders and officials, walk on egg shells when it comes to criticizing Israel’s crimes. I remember very well Sarkozy calling the warmonger Bibi, a LIAR, and Obama complaining he has to “deal” with him every day.
        He certainly is deceptive, and very dishonest, and reminds me of a
        poisonous snake. It must be hard for world leaders to deal with this man.

    • Robert Brooks on July 2, 2014, 12:53 am

      Except for AIPAC, none of the citations mentions Hamas. That’s about as pro-Palestinian as one can expect.

  3. atime forpeace on July 1, 2014, 10:30 am

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

  4. Citizen on July 1, 2014, 10:31 am

    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 being an American. My only defense is we Americans live in a plutocracy, our foreign policy is the result of bribery by AIPAC matrix, and there’s no chance in sight to change the US campaign finance policy.

    The Rice [women…] they can’t see any analogies between what’s happening to the Palestinians and what happened to their ancestors? Were the Jews less involved in the African slave trade than the Arabs? I don’t get how they think unless it’s simply business as usual, which was once used to keep their ancestors enslaved.

    • Kay24 on July 1, 2014, 11:50 am

      They are all shameless kissing up to Israel, trying to outdo each other showing sympathy and love for it. Next time you see the Israeli ambassador watch him play the part of “injured party”, and also note NONE of the journalists, especially CNN, will dare to ask about the deaths, kidnappings, or arrests of Palestinians.

  5. amigo on July 1, 2014, 11:09 am


    In the USA mindset, Jewish lives are invaluable.

    Palestinian lives are not worth a twitter.

  6. MahaneYehude1 on July 1, 2014, 2:15 pm

    President Obama, John Kerry, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo, D. Wasserman Schultz and Eliot Engel

    Thank you very much for your condolences, sympathy and warm words.

    From Jerusalem, Israel

    • talknic on July 1, 2014, 3:03 pm

      @ MahaneYehude1

      Keep living your illegal fantasy

      1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

      2. Strongly deplores the continued refusal of Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly;

      3. Reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

      Resolution 476 (1980) Adopted by the Security Council at its 2242nd meeting on 30 June 1980

      YOU are the problem!

    • just on July 1, 2014, 3:06 pm

      MY1– wrong address.

      You really are “challenged”.

  7. Woody Tanaka on July 1, 2014, 2:41 pm

    Thank you very much for your condolences, sympathy and warm words.

    From Jerusalem, Israel

    P.S., now please look away while we murder some Palestinian children.

  8. John Salisbury on July 1, 2014, 5:42 pm

    Are only the deaths of young Israelis worth noting? Are some lives worth more than others?

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