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State Department forced to retract statement suggesting Israel incites violence

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State Department spokesperson Admiral John Kirby left Israeli officials outraged  yesterday by his remarks during the daily State Department Press Briefing when he suggested Israel was, at a minimum, at least partly to blame for the current eruption of violence in Jerusalem and throughout the Palestinian Territories.

Responding to the question “Is it the Administration’s position that the status quo at the Temple Mount has been broken?” State Department spokesperson Admiral John Kirby responded:

MR KIRBY: Well, certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.

Shortly thereafter Kirby tweeted a “clarification”:

While no one implied Israel forced this retraction, Haaretz’s lede read:

U.S. Department of State Spokesman John Kirby has been forced to retract a comment he made on Wednesday that Israel had violated the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Kirby’s damning remark followed a series of questions aimed at providing context for the “upsurge in violence,” and specifically where the blame and responsibility should lie. Initially Kirby responded to questions surrounding the massive increase in settlements with a bunch of mumbo gumbo about challenges on both sides, and “not trying to affix blame .. too particularly” (seriously folks). He mentioned there was “nuance and context behind the violence”.  

And then he was asked point blank why it was so important “not to affix blame”. He was dodging bullets and redirecting the focus to de-escalation of tension, restoring calm, and moving forward “towards a two-state solution”.  But this didn’t stop the questions which included recognizing Jewish acts of terrorism (yes, “And we do”). Queried on whether the administration considered Israeli visits to Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount incitement Kirby tiptoed carefully:

MR KIRBY ….. Incitement can take many forms..I mean, the Secretary spoke specifically about incitement yesterday, and we recognize that incitement can go both ways here. But it’s the – whether it’s action or rhetoric, it’s things that encourage others to continue this cycle of violence. 

Israel wants free rein to incite. Even though this exchange and the subsequent fall out was reported in Haaretz, the Jerusaem Post, the Jewish Press, the Times of Israel the mainstream press in the U.S. will not touch what’s behind the explosions of violence in Palestine. Even when the discussion is taking place in our own State Department Daily press briefings.

Last night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a lock down on East Jerusalem, forcing the closure of Palestinians businesses, and used an identical incitement strategy that has been used repeatedly towards the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount by having the police then escort fanatical settlers through the streets of a locked down East Jerusalem:

Will the U.S. ever dare demand repercussions for this incitement? Will our mainstream media ever acknowledge these harsh actions as instigating violence?

State Department Press Briefing October 14, 2015:

QUESTION: The other – let me go to some of the other things that he mentioned. There’s been quite a bit of, I don’t know, uproar maybe is the right word about his comments about settlements contributing to – massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years being responsible for the current upsurge in violence. Recognizing that the settlement issue is one that is of serious concern to the Palestinians, is it the Administration’s view that settlement activity is, in fact, to blame for or is responsible for the current surge in attacks that we’re all seeing?

MR KIRBY: I think the Secretary was very consistent yesterday and has been over time in not trying to affix blame for the recent violence too particularly, and he was unequivocal yesterday, as you saw, in condemning the terrorist attacks against Israelis. What he has talked about is the challenges that are posed on both sides by this absence of progress towards a two-state solution. So – and he’s also highlighted our concern that current trends on the ground, including this violence, as well as ongoing settlement activity are imperiling the viability of eventually getting to a two-state solution.

QUESTION: So it is not, then, the Administration’s view that a massive increase in settlement activity in the last years is directly responsible?

MR KIRBY: I think the Secretary well understands that there’s a lot of nuance and context behind the violence that’s occurring recently. And as I said, he was careful not to affix blame in either direction on this in terms of past practices. What he did talk about – and you might have seen it if you saw him at Harvard last night – is that he understands there’s disenfranchisement, there’s disgruntlement, there is – there’s frustration on both sides that have led to this.

QUESTION: Can I ask, why is it so important for him or for the Administration not to affix blame or not to call out who it believes is responsible for what’s going on right now? Is it the case that the Administration does believe that both sides bear responsibility for this?

MR KIRBY: I think he’s been very clear that he wants both sides to take affirmative actions, both in rhetoric and in action, to de-escalate the tension, to restore calm, and to try to move forward towards a two-state solution. He also recognizes, as a public servant with a long career associated with foreign affairs and the diplomatic relations of this country, that many of these issues are ages old. And when there’s a specific attack such as we’ve seen, we are not shy about calling it out. And as I said last week on – if we believe it’s terrorism, to say it’s terrorism. We’re not shy about that in terms of affixing responsibility for it. But in terms of the general scope of the violence that we’re seeing and the unrest, he’s been very clear that rather than to affix blame specifically on all of that, to try to focus on moving forward and restoring calm.

QUESTION: Okay. But isn’t one of the things that you have to do if you’re going to move forward and restore calm is to address what has happened previously, no? Isn’t it?

MR KIRBY: Yeah, of course. I mean, you have to deal with this issue in the context of the times and in the context of what’s going on. I mean, how far back do you want to go in terms of some of these – some of the ill will? He’s trying to keep it in perspective of what we’re seeing right now, which is obviously not constructive and not helpful to getting us to a two-state solution.


QUESTION: All right, this will be very brief. I understand that you have decided now how to qualify the stabbing attack on the Palestinians in Dimona?

MR KIRBY: Yes, we’ve had a chance to look at that attack more deeply, and I think you’re going to ask me what – do we consider it an act of terrorism. And we do.

QUESTION: You do consider it an act of terrorism. Okay, so that would suggest then that you believe that this is – that both sides are, in fact, committing these —

MR KIRBY: Well, I would say certainly individuals on both sides of this divide are – have proven capable of and in our view guilty of acts of terror.

QUESTION: All right. And then the visit to Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif by Israelis, is that – does the Administration consider that to be visits to there – does the Administration consider that to be incitement?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to be able to characterize every single act with terminology. What the Secretary has said and stands by is that we want to see the status quo restored, the status quo arrangement there on Haram al-Sharif and the Temple Mount, and for both sides to take actions to de-escalate the tensions. So incitement can take many forms. Again, I’m not going to – I’m not going to go through a laundry list of what is or what isn’t. I mean, the Secretary spoke specifically about incitement yesterday, and we recognize that incitement can go both ways here. But it’s the – whether it’s action or rhetoric, it’s things that encourage others to continue this cycle of violence, it’s just not helpful and not going to get us to what we really want to see there.

QUESTION: Is it the Administration’s position that the status quo at the Temple Mount has been broken?

MR KIRBY: Well, certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.




QUESTION: Can I ask —

MR KIRBY: Go ahead.

QUESTION: The Secretary spoke about re-engaging last night. That’s the word he used. Was – is that – what does that mean? I mean, re-engaging since last year’s failure of the talks? Does that mean that he’s even looking at trying to get the sides together?

MR KIRBY: Well, I don’t want to get ahead of – I don’t want to get ahead of things here. But when the Secretary talks about re-engaging, he – it speaks directly to his desire to continue to pursue a two-state solution there. And he recognizes that that’s hard work, that’s complicated, that that’s going to take some time. It doesn’t mean by saying re-engaging that we were disengaged. It just means that I think the Secretary obviously believes that this is an effort worth pursuing and worth pursuing as energetically as possible.

QUESTION: So he’s – what I understand what you’re saying is that he does – he is thinking of trying again to mediate in bringing these two sides together.

MR KIRBY: No, I wouldn’t go that far, at least not at this point, Lesley. What he’s interested in doing right now, immediately – and you heard him talk about this yesterday – is trying to see if there’s ways where we can reduce the violence and to help restore some sense of calm there so that meaningful work can be done to try to find a two-state solution. But right now it’s difficult to have that kind of a discussion when there’s so much violence going on, and you see it again just today. So I think that’s where his chief concern right now is on communicating his desire to see that – the violence be reduced.

QUESTION: So does he believe that bringing the sides together would be helpful, or is it premature?

MR KIRBY: When you say bring the sides together, I —

QUESTION: Bring the leaders —

MR KIRBY: To work on a two-state solution.

QUESTION: Two separate rooms, same house, same building?

MR KIRBY: Again, I’m not going to get into modalities here. The Secretary’s made clear his concerns over what’s going on there and his desire to travel to the region to engage and to discuss and to try to find ways to reduce the tensions, restore the calm, and then start to work collaboratively, hopefully, towards a two-state solution.



QUESTION: What would be the practical steps that both sides can take immediately to defuse the situation? What would be, like, practical suggestions to both sides that they must do now?

MR KIRBY: Well, again, I wouldn’t get too specific here. I think the Secretary spoke about this yesterday very clearly that the violence needs to stop. So to the degree leaders on either side can help lead to that outcome, that would be useful. The incitement needs to stop.


MR KIRBY: So to the degree to which leaders – whether they’re responsible for it or not, to the degree that they can contribute to an atmosphere which isn’t encouraging more violence, more killing, that would be useful. And then, again, to sort of put in place and then keep in place, maintain a sense of calm. All that would useful right now, and I think that’s really again where the Secretary’s head was yesterday. It’s where it is today, and it’s why he’s interested in pursuing travel there soon.

QUESTION: For instance, the Israelis put a great many checkpoints in the last, let’s say, 24 hours in and around Arab neighborhoods, Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, and so on. Would that be something that the Secretary or you would call on the Israelis to undo, so to speak, to sort of – to alleviate some of the frustration or the feeling of being cooped in and so on by these young men and women?

MR KIRBY: Well, I don’t think it’s going to be useful for me to stake out a position on each and every decision that the Israeli security forces are making. They certainly have an obligation towards their citizens and we understand that. Again, what the Secretary wants to see is the violence cease.

QUESTION: Mahmoud Abbas just made a speech, a short speech, a little while ago. I wonder if you’ve had the chance to see it.

MR KIRBY: I have not.

QUESTION: But he’s – he’s basically accusing Israel of conducting summary executions, and so on. He’s threatening to take it to the international court – the International Criminal Court. He’s saying that we will not be held hostage to agreements that Israel is not adhering to, and so on. Apparently he’s talking about Oslo. He’s saying that the Palestinians must have a recourse to resist an occupation. Do you agree that the Palestinians must have some sort of a method or recourse, and so on, by which they oppose this occupation that has gone on for so long?

MR KIRBY: Well, again, without getting into specific terminology here, Said, what we would like to see is progress made on both sides in both rhetoric and in action towards a meaningful two-state solution. That is very difficult to get to, to even get to the process of pursuing that when there’s so much violence going on, which isn’t doing anything but spiraling the tension upward rather than downward. And so again, what we want to see is both sides take the actions to calm things down so that we can have meaningful discussions and progress towards a two-state solution.



QUESTION: — you’ve called this wave “terrorism.” You now have 28 attacks over 14 days, 7 dead, over 70 wounded. Just a couple hours ago you had Ambassador Saperstein come here and he said to hold Israel to different standards than other – any other country isn’t just inappropriate; it’s anti-Semitism. What would you have – in terms of these checkpoints, what would you have Israel do? And I’ll follow up on that, because the exact quote from yesterday wasn’t actually read. Kerry said, “And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years,” and “Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.” Is the suggestion that what Israel should do is stop settlements? And if that’s the suggestion, are you not also suggesting that the terrorism that is happening at the current moment, as you describe it, has legitimate political motivations?

MR KIRBY: On settlements, our policy has not changed. We continue to believe – to continue to take the position that they’re illegitimate. So there’s been no change on our policy on settlements, and – now hang on, just let me finish. You ask a whopper of a question, so you got to give me a chance to answer here. So no change in our position on settlements. And obviously, we don’t want to see that practice continue, okay? That’s crystal clear. And you’re right the way you read the quote back, and I’m actually glad you did because it just reinforces my point earlier. The Secretary wasn’t saying, well, now the settlement activity is the cause for the effect we’re seeing. Is it a source of frustration for Palestinians? You bet it is, and the Secretary observed that. But he’s not – this isn’t about affixing, as I said, blame on either side here for the violence. What we want to see is the violence cease, and we want to see it end.

And so to your other question, well, what do you want to see the Israelis do? I think you mentioned checkpoints. I’m not – I’m not – it’s not our – we’re not going to dictate immediate security requirements onto Israel. Again, the Israeli Government has a right and a responsibility to protect its citizens. Now, we have seen some – I wouldn’t call the checkpoints this, but we’ve certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force. Obviously, we don’t like to see that, and we want to see restrictions that are elevated in this time of violence to be as temporary as possible if they have to be enacted. What we want to see, though, to your second question, is for both sides to take – to take the leadership responsibilities of calling for calm, maintaining that calm, and being able to restore a sense of normalcy so that people can get on with their lives safely and not have to worry, but also so that we can really begin to have again a meaningful discussion towards a two-state solution – which we continue to believe is the outcome that is – that’s best for the people there in the region.

QUESTION: But Abbas seems to be losing complete control. I mean, apparently these – a lot of these people are very young and they are not – they’re not listening to him. They really – he had no authority over them. They move about. A lot of them are from East Jerusalem, where he exercises no authority whatsoever. So what would you have him do? I mean, in fact, his leverage with the Palestinians seems to have dissipated. In such a situation, what would be a course of action that the United States, as someone who has garnered this peace process or the pursuit of a two-state solution has done for over 20, 25 years?

MR KIRBY: Said, I can’t give you – and I wouldn’t, just like I’m not – we’re not going to dictate from this podium temporary security restrictions that the Israeli Government may or may not need to put into effect. I’m not going to dictate from this podium specific steps that President Abbas has to take. I mean, he’s the leader. And the Secretary was very clear yesterday our expectation of leaders is that they’re going to do what they need to do to get calm restored, to reduce the violence, and to begin to start again on a process of dialogue here towards a two-state solution.

QUESTION: Doesn’t that leave you in a very awkward position because – or a difficult position, not awkward – the fact that he was elected 10 years ago and does not really have a great deal of credibility among his people?

MR KIRBY: My position up here is never difficult or awkward. Look, I – the —

QUESTION: Really? Never difficult? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) All right.

MR KIRBY: I think I’ve answered this. I don’t think I really can answer it any better than I have in the past. I think my answer will be the same.

QUESTION: Could I just follow up on logistics? Now you said that the Secretary may meet in the region. But he could also go to the West Bank and to Israel, right? It is possible on his trip?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to – I don’t have any —


MR KIRBY: — specifics on his travel to announce, Said. And I think you can understand. When we have something that we can talk about in terms of dates and places and agenda items, we’ll do that. We’re just not at that point right now.



About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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64 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen on October 15, 2015, 5:11 pm

    Fox News The Five, on now, four of them are blaming the knifings on “a coordinated attack” by Palestinian youth, except Juan Cole, who says we should look at the context, e.g., the role of the Israeli military & fact that area does not belong to Israel. The other four jump all over him. Israelis are only defending themselves. Juan: The Palestinian youth is angry at Israelis coming in and taking over their lives. The other four pounce on him, saying Israel is our only ally in the Middle East; we shouldn’t be calling Israel to account!

    • Boomer
      Boomer on October 15, 2015, 7:38 pm

      I don’t have cable and thus don’t see Fox. I’m surprised and pleased to know that they have Juan Cole on, even if only to be the token liberal who gets abused. Maybe some of the audience are smarter than the other four you describe, and will learn something. It must take a lot of courage for Prof. Cole to go on, knowing the odds against him.

    • thedirtydemocrat
      thedirtydemocrat on October 16, 2015, 1:04 pm

      Why is it that Americans have to back off from telling the truth? Why is it?
      America doesn’t buy oil from them. We don’t buy food stuffs from them. Why do we keep kissing the ass of every slimy leader of the racist, murdering, Israel?

      • Doubtom
        Doubtom on October 16, 2015, 5:46 pm


      • DavidDaoud
        DavidDaoud on October 17, 2015, 8:49 am

        I suspect something along the lines of The Samson Option.
        There is something they know that we don’t, some great fear.

  2. talknic
    talknic on October 15, 2015, 5:23 pm

    The State Department is simply pathetic!

    There, fixed the pic

  3. lysias
    lysias on October 15, 2015, 5:31 pm

    Why is a Navy Admiral the spokesman for the State Department? (I take it from the fact that he still is wearing his naval uniform that he hasn’t even retired yet.)

    • lysias
      lysias on October 15, 2015, 5:40 pm

      A mystery! Kirby‘s Wikipedia entry says: “He appears to be secretive about personal information such as date of birth. “

    • annie
      annie on October 15, 2015, 6:10 pm

      lysias, he wasn’t wearing his uniform yesterday. here is a video i was unable to download,AAAAiWK0n2E~,K4CQP-D8fMxFj9_qdpjQ-OlGBFzMO-sW&bctid=4559859211001

      i think once an admiral always an admiral but i don’t think he’s currently serving in the military.

    • Doubtom
      Doubtom on October 16, 2015, 5:50 pm

      I question the same thing. Last I checked, the Navy was NOT a part of the State Department. Why are military officers part of the CIA, is another question I’d like answered! Who decided this was a good thing?

      • annie
        annie on October 16, 2015, 6:15 pm

        Last I checked, the Navy was NOT a part of the State Department

        doubtom, certain gov and military officials keep their titles once they leave service. for example. president carter was not serving in a federal executive position when he was building houses for habitat for humanity yet he was still called pres carter. just because an ex naval officer is serving as a spokesperson for the state dept does not mean the Navy is a part of the State Department.

        the title is used to denote his experience. just like an ex ambassador is called an ambassador after they leave their position unless they pick up another title. i’m sorry if this is confusing for you. as for military officers being part of the cia i’m not sure if that’s accurate. they are probably required to leave the military (formally) to serve in the cia although they could appear to be serving the military (embedded covertly) without military oversight.

      • lysias
        lysias on October 16, 2015, 6:32 pm

        When P.J. Crowley, a retired Air Force colonel, was the chief spokesman for the State Department (before he was forced to resign because he expressed disquiet over the way Bradley Manning was being tortured), I don’t recall anybody calling him “Colonel Crowley”.

        I also don’t recall Colin Powell being called “General Powell” when he was Secretary of State. I think he was called “Secretary Powell”.

  4. Kay24
    Kay24 on October 15, 2015, 5:33 pm

    What a pathetic bunch. Even Kerry pacified Bibi when he hollered at the US. They are all afraid of Bibi’s wrath and whining. This time Abbas should dig his heels and demand the occupation ends.

    “Netanyahu: I’m Willing to Meet Abbas to Restore Calm
    Netanyahu tells U.S. not to draw false symmetry between Israel and Palestinian terrorists; Kerry condemns terror attacks after spokesperson causes storm by saying Israel may have used excessive force.
    read more:

    • inbound39
      inbound39 on October 15, 2015, 9:17 pm

      My hunch is this is going to get bigger than Bibi thinks. Iran and Russia are in the picture now and they haven’t said a thing so far. You can bet they are watching though as America self destructs in front of the World……all thanks to Bibi and his moody men.

  5. Boomer
    Boomer on October 15, 2015, 7:34 pm

    re: “outrage”

    Israelis are “outraged” by the least bit of a hint of truth from an American? Well, this American is outraged by his government’s craven complicity in Israel’s crimes.

  6. wondering jew
    wondering jew on October 15, 2015, 9:23 pm

    Not really OT: Here’s Roger Cohen on Obama and American declinism.

    (The nuance of statements by state department spokesmen in Obama’s administration really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Obama drawing a red line against Syria two years ago and then stepping back, that was the end of Obama’s credibility in the world and no muscular statement from the state department or even handed statement from the state department is going to change history’s verdict on Obama by a millimeter compared to the overall policy of disengagement from US exceptionalism. Maybe 8 years of another Republican will help Obama’s image, because by comparison to whatever that Republican president’s catastrophes in over muscular-izing America’s foreign policy will “accomplish” will make Obama’s omissions look wiser, but at this point: do you really think Obama will make one whit of difference in the next 12 months regarding Israel-Palestine?)

    • Mooser
      Mooser on October 16, 2015, 6:16 pm

      “Yonah”, he said all that parenthetically? Are you that afraid of quotation marks?

      “but at this point: do you really think Obama will make one whit of difference in the next 12 months regarding Israel-Palestine?)”

      Hey, “Yonah” here’s a question: Do you think Israel will make “one whit of difference in the next 12 months regarding Israel-Palestine?”
      Maybe, just maybe, Israel could take some responsibility and try to make “one whit of difference”. And now I’ll play a chorus of “Everything Happens to Me”

  7. MaxNarr
    MaxNarr on October 15, 2015, 10:53 pm

    Stop incitement. Stop stabbing Jews.

    • annie
      annie on October 16, 2015, 1:53 am

      Stop stabbing Jews.

      barking up the wrong tree. i’m afraid israeli policy serves this action rather than deterring it. perhaps you should be appealing to the powers that be if that’s your concern, rather than ineffective sniping on non zionist websites.

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra on October 16, 2015, 3:35 am

      Seems like incitement is the buzzword of the month in hasbara central. What, de-legitimization lost its luster?

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick on October 16, 2015, 8:49 am

        “Delegitimization” is also incitement but without the knives.

    • bryan
      bryan on October 16, 2015, 3:48 am

      You’re probably not too fanatical to understand the principle of cause and effect. The vast majority of the relatively small number of stabbings occurring take place in the occupied territories and in response to Israeli outrages like the burning to death of peaceful villagers and the merciless and unnecessary gunning down of students at checkpoints or at demonstrations.

      Therefore end the occupation; stop building illegal settlements; stop stealing land, water and natural resources; stop settler violence and the destruction of farmland; remove the wall and the checkpoints; stop imprisonment without trial; stop executions and assassinations; stop the demolishing of houses, wells and goat-sheds; stop attacks on Christian and Islamic holy sites; end apartheid; stop proclaiming that Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel and that you will recreate some ancient theocracy from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates. The throwing of stones, the burning of tyres, and even acts of random violence are merely a reaction to this oppression. Go read the bible and understand what justice comprises.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on October 16, 2015, 6:47 am

      Stop provoking by occupying, stealing lands, and sending precision bombs into homes. Then the Jews will not have to be stabbed, or face the anger they are causing, as a result of their own actions. The Arabs are only doing what is natural after years of oppression. The apologists for the Jews must start thinking logically if at all possible.

      • Doubtom
        Doubtom on October 16, 2015, 6:06 pm

        Exactly! The Secretary of State ought to get up off his knees and catch up on International law, which, among other things, holds that people under occupation have the right to oppose that occupation and to defend themselves with whatever means are at their disposal,,,yes, Melvin, that includes stabbing!

    • Xpat
      Xpat on October 16, 2015, 8:57 am

      This blog is located in the United States. The United States was founded on the principle that it is ok, even commendable, to use violence to win liberty. Every American sports event celebrates “the bombs bursting in air.” So, the State Department should be advocating for the Palestinian popular uprising as a kindred liberation movement.

    • thedirtydemocrat
      thedirtydemocrat on October 16, 2015, 1:35 pm

      Max Narr.
      Why not give back the stolen lands and restore clean water, electricity, money, and homes? Or are you gonna skip over that illegal thefts and murders of thousands of legal residents of Palestine?
      Zionists are making the Jews wonder how the hell they got to take over the country when before 1940s Jews, Arabs, Ethiopians, Africans were ALL living in peace and, pretty much, tranquility. Tell me Mr. Narr what happened oh wise one?

    • Doubtom
      Doubtom on October 16, 2015, 5:54 pm

      Hey! How bout Jews stop stealing Palestinian land and building illegal settlements??

  8. Neil Schipper
    Neil Schipper on October 16, 2015, 3:03 am

    That video.. the walking.. the singing.. it might be the 773rd most violent, aggressive, and intolerant group political action seen in the ME/NA within the last seven days.

  9. Ossinev
    Ossinev on October 16, 2015, 6:21 am

    “Existential threat” seems to be off the menu for the moment as well.

  10. Boomer
    Boomer on October 16, 2015, 8:50 am

    re “State Department forced to retract . . .”

    If you read the Constitution, you might conclude that the only person able to “force” the State Department to do something lives and works at 1600 Penn. I wonder if that is what happened in this case, or if the people who set U.S. policy live and work elsewhere?

    • Boomer
      Boomer on October 18, 2015, 6:53 am

      When I saw the headline “State Department forced to retract . . . ” I wondered whether it was “forced” by Mr. Obama. Evidently so:

      “The latest deaths came as US President Barack Obama offered unqualified support for Israel’s “right to maintain basic law and order and protect its citizens from knife attacks and violence on the streets.”

      Obama’s comments at a press conference Friday appear to walk back the timid criticisms offered by the State Department earlier this week over Israel’s use of “excessive force” against Palestinians.”

  11. RockyMissouri
    RockyMissouri on October 16, 2015, 9:30 am

    Thank you, Annie, for what you do. I admire you so very much for caring to speak out…and speak the truth fearlessly. If only the rest of us could be as brave.

    Truth matters.

  12. Ossinev
    Ossinev on October 16, 2015, 9:30 am

    On this side of the pond there is a mixture of cringe and sheer disbelief at the outright Arslikhanism amongst mainstream American politicians (notably Republicans) when it comes to unconditional support for the Middle East`s only democracy. Presidential” hopeful” Ted Cruz the Presidential hopeful (as in “hopeless”) has weighed on this one – as follows from the Times of Israel:

    Republican Senator Ted Cruz called on Secretary of State John Kerry to either resign or distance himself from comments made by State Department spokesman John Kirby that some Israelis were guilty of terrorism.
    “Once again, Secretary Kerry and his staff have proven themselves utterly unfit for the positions they hold,” the presidential hopeful complained. “Mr. Kirby should immediately retract his offensive assertion that Israel is ‘guilty of acts of terror’ or resign, and Secretary Kerry should immediately disavow these remarks or resign.”

    This is the same Ted Cruz who said in July ref Obama`s decision to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba “unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem.”

    I know the original bottom line is funding for campaigns with these cretins but it would appear that once they have entered the Zionosphere they genuinely lose whatever marbles they started out with.

  13. CigarGod
    CigarGod on October 16, 2015, 9:41 am

    And just now on NPR, our good John Kerry says the Palestinians need to stop inciting violence and stop stabbing Israeli’s.
    Even our top leaders are propaganda media created zio-zombies.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on October 16, 2015, 12:08 pm

      It is disappointing when our educated leaders pretends it is hard to fathom this all out.

      The side that is inciting violence are the Israelis. To keep this brutal occupation going on for decades, and refusing to set oppressed people free, is inciting, provocation, and it is bound to result in those shackled to revolt, protest, and throw stones, and show their anger.

      Kerry and the zionist servants in the US are in total denial, and making senseless statements.

      End the occupation and there is no reason to revolt.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on October 16, 2015, 11:21 pm


        Try them on these ten.

        What is the relationship between gravity and the lapse rate?
        Who wrote Oedipus the King?
        What are the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn?
        How was Russell’s Paradox relevant to the Hilbert programme?
        What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?
        What is an electron shell?
        Quote three consecutive lines from any Shakespeare play.
        Name either the first Roman Emperor or the last Chinese Emperor. (Extra credit if you know both.)
        Is Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive? Explain your answer.
        What is Carl Linnaeus famous for?

        Then decide how educated they are.

      • straightline
        straightline on October 17, 2015, 10:57 am

        Next question? Though I didn’t know the last Chinese Emperor – bad – so no extra credits. And I was in a two minds about Schroedinger’s cat.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on October 17, 2015, 8:30 pm

        I expected no less from you, straightliine. But will your average pollie be able to manage better than, say, Miss Teen South Carolina?

        Though pollies will probably make a fair stab at the Schrödinger’s cat question. They are usually pretty good at indecisive waffle.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        PeaceThroughJustice on October 17, 2015, 9:46 pm

        Here’s the Miss Teen South Carolina video —

      • RoHa
        RoHa on October 19, 2015, 2:05 am

        Actually, I feel a bit sorry for the girl. No, she isn’t likely to be classed as the Greatest Intellect of the Age. If left to her, Higgs Boson could feel safe in obscurity, and Fermat’s Last Theorem would remain resolutely unproven. But, due to that one, flustered, answer, she is now held up (yes, by me, too) as the internet archetype of total cluelessness. She must get a bit fed up with it, at times.

  14. TerryHeaton
    TerryHeaton on October 16, 2015, 11:38 am

    Thank you, Annie. Thank you, Bryan. Israel has no divine right to the promised land, for the covenants with Abraham and Moses were conditional. A few weeks ago, CBN produced a propaganda piece on “What’s the big deal about Israel?” and several times mentioned that “God always keeps His promises” as a justification for the Nakba and subsequent, including current, actions that establish a return to the promised land. If God always keeps His promises, then the Christian fans of CBN should also know that there are promises for disobeying the covenants, and that’s where we are today. Unfortunately, this is mysteriously ignored by the lock-step nature of certain unquestioning Christian support for Israel.

  15. Mooser
    Mooser on October 16, 2015, 6:02 pm

    “And so to your other question, well, what do you want to see the Israelis do? I think you mentioned checkpoints. I’m not – I’m not – it’s not our – we’re not going to dictate immediate security requirements onto Israel.”

    “Immediate”? Uh, hasn’t this checkpoint system been going on for decades? Hasn’t the occupation been going on for decades? Where did the immediacy come from?

  16. RoHa
    RoHa on October 17, 2015, 1:26 am


    Bring back Mr. Toner. We know where we are with him, even though he doesn’t.

  17. DavidDaoud
    DavidDaoud on October 17, 2015, 7:18 am

    From the Jerusalem Post article:

    ••• The US administration “can say whatever it wants, and we will do what is needed,” Ayelet Shaked said. •••

  18. just
    just on October 18, 2015, 7:54 am

    Check this out from David Sheen:

    “This is the State of Israel’s top foreign diplomat.

    I never want to hear another Zionist whine about my reporting.”


    “Over an Arab in the nursery:
    “Scum must be isolated”
    “I hope they burn your village”
    “You’re the slave of the Jews””


  19. Kay24
    Kay24 on October 18, 2015, 8:16 am

    These Israeli politicians are so arrogant and ungrateful. The woman insults and disrespects our nation by criticizing us on American soil. I guess Netanyahu showed her how:

    Justice Minister Shaked: U.S. Criticism ‘Unacceptable’ and ‘Distorts Reality’

    “Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked strayed from diplomatic protocol Saturday night by attacking the U.S. administration on American soil. Shaked described recent American statements that were critical of Israel’s handling of the recent outbreak of Palestinian violence as “unacceptable.” She said that “any comparison between Israel and the Palestinians” like the ones made by the administration “is a distortion…
    read more:

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on October 18, 2015, 8:19 am

      Yeah, the criticism is unacceptable, but not US aid eh?

      • just
        just on October 18, 2015, 8:50 am

        The faint “criticism” is way overdue. US sanctions and a final divorce should have happened long ago.

        From Shalev:

        “U.S. Dragged Back Kicking and Cursing Into the Netanyahu-Abbas Abyss

        Obama administration’s reactions to outbreak of violence colored by enduring resentment over Iran deal and suspicions of Israel’s ultimate motives.

        Barack Obama needs an Israeli-Palestinian flare-up like a hole in the head. Trapped in Afghanistan, mired in Syria, stumped by Putin, confounded by Iran, worried about Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and what not, the last thing the U.S. president needs right now is a war over the Temple Mount that could serve as a recruitment poster for Islamic State and inflame the Middle East as a whole.

        Never mind the very thought that he was going to have to deal once again with nebbish Mahmoud Abbas and nemesis Benjamin Netanyahu.

        From the outset, there were clear indications that the administration was in denial. After initial reports of the outbreak of violence and terror, the U.S. buried its head in the sand and prayed that things would blow over without the need for it to get involved. Then

        Secretary of State John Kerry and his spokesman John Kirby issued a series of hasty statements somewhat divorced from reality that they had to retract within hours; finally, Obama was cornered at a press conference on Friday and his response to was to insinuate that Netanyahu and Abbas had equally failed in containing incitement. The usually keen Kerry will meet with Netanyahu on Wednesday in Berlin with what seems to be a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

        Many people in the administration and in the American media – including conservatives and Republicans, who were unusually reticent – appeared unperturbed by what seemed to be the umpteenth bloody chapter in the depressing Israeli-Palestinian saga. Netanyahu’s melodramatic statements about the situation seemed to diminish in the shadow of his apocalyptic overkill over the nuclear deal with Iran. And while Netanyahu had been quick to announce that he was turning the page in relations with Washington, Americans, like Israelis, are quicker to forget their own sins than to forgive the insults of others; their statements about “excessive use of force” and “Israeli terror” reflected the resentment still lingering in Washington while the mortified Israeli reaction highlighted the short memory span of Jerusalem.

        Into this mix a new layer of suspicion was added: Just as administration officials were acutely aware, far more than the Israeli public, of the great gap between Netanyahu’s description of the Iran deal as a colossal catastrophe and the much more positive view of Israel’s security establishment, they are now closely monitoring the blatant dissonance between the onslaught of Netanyahu and his ministers against Abbas and the relatively positive reviews of Abbas’ efforts to quell the violence that army and Shin Bet sources have been studiously leaking to the Israeli media. 

        Some officials are worried that Netanyahu’s assault on Abbas is anything but innocent: in their opinion, the Israeli prime minister may actually be encouraging the Palestinian president’s downfall and his replacement by more extreme leadership, from Hamas on up. In one fell swoop, diplomatic pressure on Israel would evaporate, the international boycott movement could collapse and Israel might even exploit a moment of crisis in order annex parts of the West Bank in which few Palestinians live while turning Palestinian cities into autonomic Bantustans. The IDF, which is loathe to carry the military and financial burden of such ambitions, is trying to preempt them instead. …”

        read more:

        Who and what “forced” this administration to “retract” their limp statements? Why did they not come out and tell the world the whole truth about Israel and its ambitions (that the US fuels to the tune of billions of dollars and neverending support for the genocide of the Palestinian people always couched as Israel’s right to self– defense)? The time is NOW. Then, and only then, will an enduring and positive legacy be associated with this administration.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 18, 2015, 9:27 am

        I agree. What criticism? Anything resembling criticism was hastily withdrawn, and “hurt” feeling were soothed, by blaming the victims of Israel’s oppression. Nothing changes when it comes to showing the devotion to Israel, the only “democracy” in the ME.

      • just
        just on October 18, 2015, 10:32 am

        Kay~ I guess that Israel proves yet again that it is the master of the US, too… It’s postively shameful to bow down to the Occupation statelet that creates mayhem and hell on earth but never peace.

        Meanwhile, the uncivil engineers of Israel are at it again:

        “Israeli Police Erect Wall Between Jewish, Arab Neighborhoods in East Jerusalem

        The wall, which is being erected between Jabel Mukaber, an Arab neighborhood, and Armon Hanatziv, a Jewish neighborhood, resembles the West Bank separation fence.

        Israeli police on Sunday began installing a tall, concrete fence between Arab and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem in order to stop rock- and firebomb throwers.

        The fence, which was being erected between Jabel Mukaber, an Arab neighborhood, and Armon Hanatziv, a Jewish neighborhood, resembles the West Bank separation fence. 

        Meanwhile, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel mapped out the roadblocks that police have installed in East Jerusalem in recent days, finding that 11 roads in the area have been entirely closed to traffic. …”

        read more:

        It seems that Israelis are only able to build walls and prisons and murder and terrorize, etc. 24/7 x decades. Such an innovation/startup nation, eh?

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 18, 2015, 11:05 am

        Just, it is depressing to think that no one, especially the US is doing anything to stop this madness.

        We have to remember that the world at one time thought the nazis were unstoppable too, when they committed the most heinous acts against a people. Where are they today?

      • Kris
        Kris on October 18, 2015, 11:07 am

        @just: “It seems that Israelis are only able to build walls and prisons and murder and terrorize, etc. 24/7 x decades. Such an innovation/startup nation, eh?”

        You really should give Israel credit for their thriving weapons and security industry, and all the innovations they have made in the areas of oppression and control.

        Israel’s painful reality of 66 years fighting off bullets, grenades, missiles and bombs could easily have led to a spirit of despair and defeat. Instead, living with the constant threat of war has spawned an extraordinary culture of Israeli military research and development.

        Faced with an indigeneous Palestinian population that has continued to resist Israel’s ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide, Israel has, as they say, taken the lemons and made lemonade by turning the Palestinians into an asset.

        Being able to market Israeli innovations in oppression technologies as having been tested on actual human beings gives Israel a valuable advantage in the world arms market.

        Has anyone else in the history of the world ever been so clever?

  20. just
    just on October 18, 2015, 11:26 am

    Kris~ you’re correct, of course. A horrific legacy, indeed.

    Kay~ I just read this piece by Michael Lesher @ EI:

    “The enablers of Israeli terrorism

    These attacks,” intoned a pro-Nazi Protestant minister as he bewailed the killing of Germans during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising, “were unprovoked attempts to murder innocent civilians, or police or soldiers who were trying to maintain peace and order.”

    Decrying international criticism of the German army that had laid siege to the ghetto, the minister was particularly incensed at local Jews who had described attacks against German settlers (who lived on land, and often in houses, expropriated from former Jewish residents) as acts of self-defense.

    That claim inverted reality, the minister insisted: “The enemy is a religious ideology … which seeks to dominate the world through murderous evil. The world must recognize this and call it by its name.”

    The minister concluded his sermon by exulting that Germans had just staged an Easter celebration in the center of the occupied city, on the site of a strike by Jewish partisans a few days earlier. And he offered prayers for “the healing of those [Germans] who have been wounded recently … and for a swift, just, and comprehensive peace for the German people.”

    Now comes my confession: there was no such sermon in April 1943. There was no such Protestant minister (or if there was, I have no record of his comments about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising). In that sense, what you have just read was pure invention.

    But not really. For those exact sentiments were expressed – and very recently – by a prominent clergyman, who wrote them in denunciation of a small, violent uprising against a long-standing military occupation whose oppressive tactics had culminated in an escalating terror campaign against a defenseless local population.

    The clergyman did pray solely for the peace and safety of the invaders, not the invaded. He did blame the victims for resisting the military might of the occupying forces. He did insist that the victims’ religion rendered them a threat to civilization. And he even made the weird, racist claim that the objects of so much systematic brutality were somehow engaged in a conspiracy “to dominate the world.”

    Plea for peace?

    In fact, all of these quotations were taken verbatim from the clergyman’s published remarks, with only one difference: where my fictitious pro-Nazi minister prayed for “the German people,” the actual preacher — an American — privileged “the Jewish people” over its “enemies.” (The religious ceremony proudly celebrated in occupied territory, where soldiers and mobs loyal to the occupying force had reportedly wounded more than 100 victims over the previous days, was the Jewish holiday of Simhath Torah in East Jerusalem, not Easter in wartime Poland.)

    For here’s the whole truth: the clergyman was Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, a prominent figure in the Orthodox Union, one of the largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis in the world. Weinreb’s remarks, published on 8 October, were directed against recent Palestinian resistance to a wave of official Israeli terror that has killed 32 Palestinians since the beginning of October and demolished 450 Palestinian buildings so far this year.

    None of that, however, has ever troubled Weinreb, so far as one can judge from his public comments. …

    … Summary execution

    But I did hear about the reaction of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a member of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Council and the son of Israel’s former chief Sephardic rabbi. Less than 48 hours after Weinreb’s blame-the-victims homily, Eliyahu had publicly decreed that any Palestinian who uses force against an Israeli soldier in occupied territory — a right under international law — must be killed on the spot.

    Indeed, according to Eliyahu, Israelis who do not assassinate such Palestinians “need to be prosecuted.” This member of Israel’s rabbinic elite thus supports not only an illegal occupation but the premeditated murder of those who resist it.

    In my worst nightmares, I could not have conjured an Orthodox Judaism that so radically dehumanized Palestinians and so casually embraced pure terrorism as a religious norm. But that’s precisely what is happening. Our rabbis — some eagerly, some with silence, others (like Weinreb) out of muddled, parochial self-righteousness — are contributing to a national pathology that eerily recreates the madness of pre-war Nazi Germany.

    But this time we are the Germans; the violence has already begun; the rationale for genocide is well under way; and, most tragic of all, the rabbis entrusted with the preservation of Judaism, one of the oldest traditions to celebrate the sanctity of human life, are acting as the enablers of terror. If we don’t stop them, we will be complicit in the destruction of our own religion along with the human rights of Palestinians.”

    More @

    (fyi, from wiki: “Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb (born 1940[1]) is an ordained rabbi, a qualified psychotherapist[1] and the Executive Vice President Emeritus of the Orthodox Union, the largest Orthodox Jewish organisation in North America; a position he has held since 2002.” and “Rabbi Weinreb is a widely regarded scholar on the subject of domestic violence which helped contributed to his appointment following the Rabbi Baruch Lanner debacle”)

    You can’t make this stuff up. A “psychotherapist” and “scholar” on “domestic violence”. Yup.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak on October 18, 2015, 11:53 am

      just: Michael Lesher: … the minister was particularly incensed at local Jews who had described attacks against German settlers (who lived on land, and often in houses, expropriated from former Jewish residents) as acts of self-defense.

      Did the Warsaw Ghetto insurgents deliberately target and kill civilians?


      On January 18, 1943, after almost four months without any deportations, the Germans suddenly entered the Warsaw ghetto intent upon a further deportation. Within hours, some 600 Jews were shot and 5,000 others rounded up.

      The Germans expected no resistance, but preparations to resist had been going on since the previous autumn.[18] The first instances of Jewish armed resistance began that day. The Jewish fighters had some success: the expulsion stopped after four days and the ŻOB and ŻZW resistance organizations took control of the Ghetto, building shelters and fighting posts and operating against Jewish collaborators.[13]

      The final battle started on the eve of Passover of April 19, 1943, when a Nazi force consisting of several thousand troops entered the ghetto. After initial setbacks, the Germans under the field command of Jürgen Stroop systematically burned and blew up the ghetto buildings, block by block, rounding up or murdering anybody they could capture.

    • just
      just on October 18, 2015, 11:58 am

      Here are some folks who are loads more clever and much better human beings, Kris:

      “Pro-Palestinian protest stops traffic in central London

      Campaigners stopped traffic in the heart of London’s shopping district to protest against British support for Israel.

      About 150 people formed a human barrier at Oxford Circus at 3pm on Saturday and prevented buses and shoppers from using the road for a short period of time. Members of the London Palestine Action group set off red and green smoke bombs and held up banners reading “Solidarity for Palestinian resistance”.

      Transport for London said about 10 buses were briefly diverted by a group of people who blocked the road.

      Shoppers spoke of “chaos” on social media. Jennifer Docherty tweeted: “Escaped Oxford Circus after buying fabric 4 MW grad dress. Huge #Palestinian #protest w/smoke #chaos. Police were running=never a good sign”

      Layla White of the London Palestine Action group said the government should stop selling weapons to Israel.

      “By selling Israel weapons, the UK government is providing material and political support to Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians,” she said.

      “Human rights organisations are warning that Israel is using live ammunition against Palestinian protesters, carrying out summary executions and allowing illegal settlers to attack Palestinians.”

      The campaigners pointed to recent reports that ministers had approved arms sales worth £4m to Israel in the weeks after Operation Protective Edge, the wave of assaults by the Israeli Defence Force on Gaza in 2014 that killed more than 2,000 people. …”

      Great pics @

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 18, 2015, 4:13 pm

        What a great show of support for the Palestinians. Unfortunately, we will never see such efforts in the US. When it comes to Israel, everyone walks on egg shells here.

        We can criticize and protest our leaders, but not a word against a brutal occupying force in the ME, the “only democratic” nation over there.

  21. wondering jew
    wondering jew on October 18, 2015, 10:32 pm

    Oh, please. Obama’s state department says this or that. Who cares? Putin just entered Syria and rearranged 40 years of status quo in the middle east and Obama didn’t have diddly to say about it and he’s waiting for history to teach Putin a lesson. And I’m supposed to care about what is said or not said by the state department. in 30 years, putin’s move into syria will be a major story in history books, and in 15 months the Obama state department’s comments on Israel Palestine will be less than the weight of a snow flake.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on October 18, 2015, 10:52 pm

      “in 30 years, putin’s move into syria will be a major story in history books, and in 15 months the Obama state department’s comments on Israel Palestine will be less than the weight of a snow flake.”

      Gee, maybe Netenyahoo, shouldn’t have been such a shit to Obama. Enjoy your new Russian masters in Israel! Hey, you Zionists wanted the Jews to be a nation and play on the world’s stage, well, welcome to it. Hey, it’s only Russia. What have they got that Israel can’t match?

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on October 18, 2015, 10:55 pm

      Reb Feldman at it again. Obfuscating.
      Putin won’t stop doing what’s to be done in Syria if Kerry threatens to… cut all gifts and loans and drop the UN veto, and outlaw private support to top it off.
      That’s not some kind of serious sanction for Putin, no.
      The Zionist entity will give its last gasp, though, if faced by that and will comply so fast it won’t even have time to touch its nose.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on October 18, 2015, 10:56 pm

      Reb Feldman at it again. Obfuscating.
      Putin won’t stop doing what’s to be done in Syria if Kerry threatens to… cut all gifts and loans and drop the UN veto, and outlaw private support to top it off.
      That’s not some kind of serious sanction for Putin, no.
      The Zionist entity would give its last gasp, though, if faced by that. It will comply so fast it won’t even have time to touch its nose.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on October 19, 2015, 12:17 am

      Not disagreeing with your general point, but Putin seems to be intent on restoring the old status quo rather than re-arranging it.

    • talknic
      talknic on October 19, 2015, 7:41 am

      @ yonah fredman October 18, 2015, 10:32 pm

      Oh, please. Obama’s state department says this or that. Who cares?”

      Uhmmm …. oh yeh … ISRAEL!

      First line and link in the article “State Department spokesperson Admiral John Kirby left Israeli officials outraged yesterday by his remarks “ See more at:

      • bryan
        bryan on October 19, 2015, 9:12 am

        @talknic – I think you can be quite certain that whatever remarks are made by White House spokespersons are with Israel’s best interests at heart. They may simply feel that the right-wing extremists with their automatic response to violence are trashing Israel’s international “reputation” and that advocating a cautious restraint would look better. It is a bit like when a hooligan stands in the dock and claims “I thumped him because I didn’t like the way he looked at me, or the colour of his skin”, his lawyer will quickly intervene to assert “my client admits that his response might have been over-hasty but he was severely provoked”.

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