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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘AP’

Is the US Furious Over ‘Israeli’ Criticism of Kerry?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

The United States is circling the wagons around their secretary of state whose ego was apparently wounded by a torrent of Israeli criticism over the weekend regarding his proposed ceasefire draft plan.

John Kerry’s defenders are helping him look more pathetic by taking such umbrage to a unified Israeli cabinet’s rejection of his ceasefire proposal. And a virtually unified Israeli public, including the leftist and far left Israeli media, who are being accurately represented by the Israeli government’s less than flattering evaluations.

One of the biggest complaints about Israel’s criticism was ascribed to the State Department’s spokesperson Jen Psaki. She said, and was quoted in a myriad of media reports for saying, that Israel’s conduct in disseminating what she claims was false information about the proposed ceasefire draft: “it’s simply not the way partners and allies treat each other.”

There was a textbook example of a journalist baiting a government official to snipe at another government’s leadership despite her best efforts not to seem to be sniping.

At the State Department’s Daily Briefing on Monday, July 28, Matt Lee of the Associated Press was able to put words into Psaki’s mouth, and continue leading her into accepting certain phraseology to suggest — undoubtedly accurately, but surely going further than Psaki intended – that the U.S. administration was furious with Israel for disrespecting Kerry.

The questions asked by Lee included, “how angry are you? How unhelpful do you believe the Israelis, or at least some Israelis have been in this issue? And how angry are you at what you claim to be a serious misrepresentation of what the Secretary was trying to do?”

Lee then followed up with: “so you accuse – you’re accusing at least some in the Israeli Government of waging a misinformation campaign?”

When Psaki informs Lee, and the rest of the press corps, that she doesn’t have any information on the sources who were allegedly providing inaccurate information, the AP reporter followed up by incorporating one of the most quoted phrases of the day. The exchange follows:

QUESTION: When you say that this is not the way friends and allies should treat each other, you’re referring to Israeli treatment of Secretary Kerry and of his – of the Administration’s attempt to get a ceasefire together?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think there are obviously some anonymous sources that are out there that are speaking on behalf of the views of the Israeli Government. Whether or not that is an accurate depiction of their position is not for me to make a judgment of, but –

QUESTION: So how serious is this, in terms of jeopardizing the relationship?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think – I think Israel remains an incredibly important partner.

But Lee was only succesful at goading Psaki into revealing what her employer and her department are apparently feeling. But was the anger directed at the appropriate party? And was the criticism, in any event, justified?

The claims that Israeli leadership was harsh in its criticism concerning Kerry’s proposals and his behavior overlook several important facts. To wit: that while anonymous sources were likely quoting at least some members of the Israeli government, the harshest public attacks on Kerry’s flat-footed diplomacy came not from government officials, but from center, left and even far left members of Israel’s famously leftist media. For example, Barak Ravid of Haaretz wrote that Kerry’s “conduct in recent days over the Gaza cease-fire raises serious doubts over his judgment and perception of regional events.”

The Times of Israel’s editor-in-chief, David Horovitz, lambasted the secretary of state’s plan as something that looked like it might have been drawn up by or for Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

US Refuses to Admit Palestinian Authority Involved in Terror

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The U.S. State Dept.’s position is that it does not know that Hamas was involved in the kidnap murder of three Israeli teenagers and that despite continuing missile attacks from Gaza, it is “reviewing” events to determine if the Palestinian Authority unity government is “abiding by…the pledges that they made” to refrain from violence.

Israel has categorically identified the terrorists as members of Hamas, and it is no secret that the terrorists from Gaza, where Hamas officially is part of the unity government with Fatah headed by Mahmoud Abbas, but – no – the government of the United States  is “reviewing…circumstances on the ground.”

Hamas terrorists kidnap and kill children and try to kill Israelis with missiles, blowing up factories and hoping to blow up children in a kindergarten, and the United States is “reviewing  circumstances on the ground,” as if it is has a front row seat in a horror movie, except that this is live action.

“Would Hamas’s involvement in something like this[kidnap-murders] be cause for the Administration to rethink its support for the Palestinian – the new Palestinian Government?” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Dept. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

She solemnly answered, “We do look at all kinds of information as it relates to our relationship with the Palestinians, our relationship with any entity that we work with. So I’m not going to make a prediction. I don’t know what the outcome will be of the final findings.”

That is what the State Dept. does – it looks at information. If it furthers its agenda to expel Jews from all of Judea and Samaria and most of Jerusalem, Foggy Bottom doles it out to the hunger media hacks looking for more ammunition to shoot down Israel. If it does not further agenda, it files it away under “delete.”

That explains Psaki’s comments on missile attacks.

Lee asked, “There were also, I think, 14 – more than a dozen rockets that were fired into southern Israel from Gaza today. Is that something that would make you rethink your position as it relates to the Palestinian Government?”

No chance, at least not for now.

First of all, Psaki explained from her agenda pamphlet, the United States is going to take the really bold action to “review” circumstances to see if the Palestinian Authority renounces violence.

So does kidnapping and murdering three young yeshiva students and shooting missiles at Israeli mean that the unity government has not renounced violence?

No need to worry.

Psaki reassured everyone, “We expect, and President Abbas has on many occasions also renounced this type of action. And there’s a certain responsibility in conveying that to any entities that the Palestinians are tied with.”

But not even the State Dept. can fool all of the people all of the time.

“If I shoot you at the same time as saying I renounce violence, that doesn’t really make much sense,” AP reporter Lee said and then added, “what you’re saying, though, is that apart from the teenagers – because we don’t – you don’t know – you’re not sure of the circumstances – just the rocket attacks themselves are not cause to have you rethink your relationship with the government.

“You think right now that they are abiding by the requirements?”

Guess what? Hamas is not involved in the government.

Psaki, reading from her Agenda 101 book, recalled that the “technocratic” government “doesn’t involve members of Hamas… [and] obviously, when there are incidents of violence, when there are rocket attacks, those are certainly cause for concern and we take every incident into consideration.”

Thank God, the Obama administration will show its “concern” but it also can save face for the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry: Chem Weapons Used in Syria; Arabs Lied on Talks Walkout

Monday, August 26th, 2013

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry spoke to reporters at a press briefing today to discuss the issue of chemical weapons used against civilians in Syria.

Kerry was emphatic that the U.S. is absolutely certain chemical weapons were used against Syrian civilians, and he brusquely brushed aside claims made by the Syrian regime that it was the opposition who used the weapons.  The secretary of state was aggressive in his denunciation of the Assad regime’s offer to allow in inspectors while continuing to attack the same area where the chemical weapons had been used.

“It is a moral obscenity and, despite equivocations, is undeniable,” Kerry said about the use of chemical weapons.

“Our sense of basic humanity is offended,” by the use of the weapons, but also by the regime’s “cynical attempt to cover it up,” Kerry told reporters.  He said the regime’s “belated offer to allow access,” coupled with “today’s attack on U.N. investigators” is “not the behavior of a government with nothing to hide.”

The secretary of state’s report was long on emotion but short on direction.

All Kerry would say about actions being taken is that President Obama is “actively consulting with members of congress” and with “key allies,” and that the president would be “making an informed decision,” presumably about whether and when the U.S. will take any military action against Syria.

In the daily briefing given by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf following the secretary of state’s statement, it appears that any response that the U.S. is formulating at the present time is focused solely on the use of chemical weapons, and not as a response to the ongoing civil war.

PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP LIED ABOUT CANCELLING TALKS IN JERICHO

Spokesperson Harf also, in response to intense questioning by Matt Lee of the AP, reiterated her earlier unequivocal statement that there had been no cancellation of talks between the Israeli and Arab Palestinian negotiators.  Lee, frustrated by Harf’s refusal to be cajoled into going off message – she repeatedly stated, “we are not going to confirm every meeting that takes place,” finally burst out, “one party is lying…” and later wondered aloud “why won’t you just say the Palestinians” are lying? Harf refused to respond, leaving Lee’s statement uncontested.

In other words, Lee revealed that despite the public statements by Arab Palestinian leaders following the funerals of those who died in Qalandiya on Monday, no talks were cancelled.  The Arab Palestinian leaders were playing to their street, while going forward with the talks.

Shilling for Shalom: Israel Hiring Students to Defend It Online

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks, while not identifying themselves as pros, officials in Jerusalem told the AP.

The prime minister’s office said that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to go after antisemitism and calls to boycott Israel online. The students would work off talking points provided by government officials.

“This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption,” the PM statement said.

An Israeli official said that scholarship recipients would decide for themselves if they wish to identify themselves as part of a government program.

“Everyone who believes in the cause, and wants to join, can join,” he told AP. The budget is expected to be around 3/4 million dollars, and the Israeli student association will be doing the hiring.

US Does not Know If Israel Freed Terrorists or ‘Freedom Fighters’

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

The U.S. State Dept. is not able to decide whether the 26 murderers and attempted murderers whom Israel freed early Wednesday morning are “terrorists,” “prisoners” or  “freedom fighters.”

As Jewish Press journalist Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote Tuesday in her profile of the State Dept.’s song and dance on whether Jewish “settlements” are “illegal “ or “illegitimate,” Associated Press reporter  Matt Lee also wanted to know how the United States agrees with the Palestinian Authority title of freed terrorists as “political prisoners.”

A rose is a rose is a rose, but Gertrude Stein isn’t around today, when a murderer is a freedom fighter.

“Most of these people have been convicted of murder, of killing people, and the Israelis are very clear on the fact that they think that these people are terrorists,” Marcus quoted Lee as saying. “The Palestinians say that they are political prisoners, and…they have instructed their ambassadors, all their representatives around the world, to refer to them as freedom fighters, political prisoners.

“Do you object to the Palestinians referring to them as political prisoners?’ Lee asked State Dept. deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.

He response was, “I do not have a position on that.”

The State Dept. indeed has to be careful about every word it uses regarding the Palestinian Authority’s demands. Every word is placed under a microscope by each side and by the predominantly pro-PA media.

As yesterday’s article by Marcus clearly illustrated, the State Dept. refused to be backed into a corner by Lee when it comes to defining settlements as illegal. Doing so would effectively be a position that Israel’s borders are those that existed under the Temporary Armistice Lines in 1949 until the Six-Day War in 1967.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf settled for the not very complimentary word of “illegitimate.”

But the American government has no problem in labeling as a “settlement” every place where Jews live in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights, and areas in Jerusalem claimed by the PA. The word itself is a disguise for “illegal” because “settlements” that are legal are called cities and towns.

The United States even uses the word “settlement” to describe the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Gilo and Ramot, each of which are home to more than 50,000 Jews.

At least the State Dept. does not call Gilo an “outpost,” but the word “settlement” implies is should not part of Israel.

The U.S. government does have a serious problem of stating where the capital of Israel is located. It does not place the capital as Tel Aviv, where the American and virtually every other foreign embassy is located. It also does not call Jerusalem the capital, and it even refuses to allow Americans living in Israel to state on their U.S. passports that their residence or their children’s birthplace is “Jerusalem, Israel.”

If it were to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would open up a can of worms, very violent worms, with the Arab world by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem as its  capital. Of course, the United States could simply state that Jerusalem, based on the old borders, is Israel’s capital. But even that would be too much for the Arab world to swallow, out of fear that such recognition might leave open the future possibility of acknowledging the entire city as Israeli.

But what is the United States’ problem with stating that murderers are not freedom fighters or just plain “prisoners,” even if not terrorists? Calling them “political prisoners” would be an outrage to any sane person in the Western world. Recognizing them by either term would be a justification for terror.

Would that affect the outcome of the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Apparently so.

Calling them terrorists would imply that the Palestinian Authority employs terror, and that would contradict the ugly lie that the State Dept. perpetuates with the claim that Abbas has stopped terror, even though it is the IDF that has been mainly responsible for the decrease, but not the eradication, of terror.

The U.S. government, outside of the Congressional branch, has never condemned Abbas for glorifying terrorists and his official media for encouraging “martyrdom.”

When Lee asked, “If there isn’t anything that you call them, do you object to the Palestinians referring to them as freedom fighters?” spokeswoman Harf replied,  “The answer is I don’t know, and I will endeavor to get an answer for you on that as well.”

Stay tuned, but rest assured that although a rose is a rose is a rose, a terrorist is not a terrorist and a murderer is not a murderer.

AP Reporter: Is Construction Deal Killer Despite Murderers’ Release

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

For days the discussion throughout Israel and most of the pro-Israel world has been focused on the Jewish State’s decision to release more than 100 Arab Palestinian terrorists from prison, nearly all of whom are murderers who had been given life sentences.

Even those who approved of the release of more than 1000 Arab prisoners from jail in exchange for the freedom of Gilad Shalit several years ago had difficulty understanding this round of convicted murderer releases.

Why would the Israeli government agree to release prisoners guilty of heinous murders in exchange for…the privilege of sitting down with the Palestinian Arab negotiators? Particularly when it is clear to everyone who has been watching this peace process parade for years that the talks will only be about what else Israel will have to give up.

Israel is not going to obtain any reliable guarantees that terrorism will cease or decrease. What is a more likely guarantee is that terrorism may well increase, with potential terrorists emboldened by the realization that no matter what crimes they commit, no matter how young or how old their Israeli victims, no matter if they use bomb belts or firebombs or axes or pitchforks to murder Israelis, they will eventually be released from prison.

Anyone who thought that it was worth it for Israel to take such a painful step because it will convince those countries/journalists/diplomats who are not simply inveterate Israel haters that Israel really is committed to peace, need only watch the videos of the State Department’s Daily briefings from the last two days to understand that it simply does not matter what Israel does, it will be vilified and treated as if it – the party making concessions – is the wrongful actor, and the Arab Palestinians are the ones who are forced to suffer the grievous harm inflicted on them by Israel’s actions.

For example, the state department briefing on Tuesday, August 13, started out with outrage from Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who repeatedly sought to provoke Marie Harf, the state department spokesperson, into condemning Israel’s approval of housing construction in the eastern part of Jerusalem. And Matt Lee is one of the more even-handed of the White House press corps reporters.

To her credit, Harf repeatedly refused to be baited and would not take a specific position on the housing approvals, other than to say – repeatedly – that the U.S. government has “serious concerns” which they have “made known” to the Israeli government.

What seemed to particularly irk Lee and some of his colleagues is that while the U.S. keeps referring to the two parties being “at the table in good faith,” they saw Israel as being totally in the wrong for daring to build housing for its citizens in areas that many people and many countries – but not Israel – think is not rightfully theirs.

Here’s an example of what went on:

The Palestinians meanwhile don’t seem to have done anything except kind of sucked it up on this, and I’m just wondering if you view – is this evidence of Israel’s good faith – what you talked about yesterday when you said both sides were at the table in good faith?

and then, Lee said: “does it bother you that the Israelis are doing exactly the opposite of what you would like them to do?

Another topic that came up several times – and has been the topic of many news stories over the past several days – has been the secretary of state Kerry’s description of Israeli communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Line as “illegitimate.”

Harf  was pressed on this point several times, and was asked to find out from her boss whether it is the view of the U.S. government that only “continued settlement activity is illegitimate,” or is prior “settlement activity” also illegitimate?

Again, it was Lee who articulated this.  Here are his questions, with the single word interruptions by Harf deleted:

And I just want to make sure that my question is clear. I want to know if the U.S. regards any existing settlement –or housing construction in the West Bank — I mean, in East Jerusalem — to be illegitimate or if it’s –all in the future.

Of course, this is the “facts on the ground” argument against Jewish homes being built anywhere over the Green Line.  Watch this be the new buzz phrase adopted by people like Jodi Rudoren from the New York Times.  Somehow the idea that no Jews would ever be permitted to live in any potential Palestinian state is never one that troubles reporters.

Not nearly so trepidatious as the Americans, the European Union took little time in denouncing Israel for the housing construction approvals, describing Israel’s decision “to approve the building of nearly 1,200 new settlement apartments in occupied territories” to be “illegal under international law and threatens to make a two-state solution impossible.”

No word from the EU on the impact of continued terrorism, or whether the description by the Palestinian Authority of the Arab murderers who will be released from prison as “freedom fighters” is an obstacle to peace or might threaten the “two state” concept.

AP reporter Lee asked the state department spokesperson whether the U.S. has a position on the Arab Palestinians referring to the prisoners as “freedom fighters”:

most of these people have been convicted of murder, of killing people, and the Israelis are very clear on the fact that they think that these people are terrorists, even though they’re releasing them. The Palestinians say that they are political prisoners, and I – and they have instructed their ambassadors, all their representatives around the world, to refer to them as freedom fighters, political prisoners. And I want to know, if you don’t have a position –

About the only thing less pleasant than having to be state department spokesperson with people like Matt Lee in the press corps would be having root canal surgery if the dentist was using a buzzsaw.

The next round of talks between the negotiators for the Israelis and the negotiators for the Arab Palestinians is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14.

BDS Tries to Keep Israel’s SodaStream Out of Super Bowl

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

As cheerleaders shake their pom poms, top-dollar players hone their victory dances, and marketers prepare to rake in the dough raised through advertising and sales, Super Bowl XLVII will not just showcase a rivalry between this year’s best winningest football teams, but stands to highlight a burgeoning campaign against Israeli life in the biblical heartland.

SodaStream, an Israeli maker of home soda machines, aims to place its first advertisements in the US during the upcoming Super Bowl, according to an article by the Associated Press.  Aiming to make it big in the United States, SodaStream – the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of home beverage coronation systems – seems to be a natural choice for Americans who want easy convenience, lower costs, and an effortless way to take part in protecting the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles produced to hold their drinks.  The company is willing to stake a lot of money on that possibility – $3.5 million, the amount it takes to purchase just 30 seconds of advertising time during the Super Bowl.

And while simple consumerism might assure SodaStream a steady stream of sales, pro-Palestinian activists are working to ensure that SodaStream fizzles out.

Soda Stream is produced in Mishor Adumim, according to the AP, an industrial zone adjacent to Maale Adumim, a Jewish community in the Judean desert which has gained notoriety recently for its proximity to Israel’s latest building project, E-1.

“The new SodaStream publicity blitz has given the US boycott, divestment, sanctions movement a marvelous opportunity to bring our campaigns targeting settlement products to a new, unprecedented level of visibility and success,” said Anna Baltzer, an organizer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in the AP report.

Though Israeli products enjoy success in the US and Europe, the massive international campaign encouraging governments, companies, and private citizens to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel has enjoyed limited success, winning an EU case stopping products made in Judea and Samaria from enjoying the same duty free status as products made in other parts of Israel, and convincing the United Kingdom to ban a SodaStream TV ad on the pretense that it disparaged other soda manufacturers.

For his part, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum says he’s “got to laugh” thinking he’s a target of pro-Palestinian activists, telling the AP that his company provides jobs and economic benefits to many Palestinians workers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bds-tries-to-keep-israels-sodastream-out-of-super-bowl/2012/12/09/

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