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February 6, 2016 / 27 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘John Kirby’

Kerry’s State Dept ‘Appalled’ by (Unnamed) Terrorist Attacks on Israelis

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Apparently attacking two defenseless women, one the mother of six, the other a pregnant woman, was too much for even Secretary of State John Kerry’s State Dept. to ignore.

About midday D.C. time on Monday, Jan. 18, the U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning the barbaric attacks on two Israeli women in less than 48 hours. One of the women was murdered at the door of her own home as several of her children watched or heard in horror. The other victim, a woman five months pregnant, was stabbed in a clothing store in her home community, who remains in Shaare Tzedek Meical Center’s Trauma Unit.

The U.S. acknowledged the horrific attacks on the two Israelis, mentioning each by name.

This is the full, six sentence, one paragraph condemnation issued by Kerry’s State Department’s spokesperson John Kirby:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks over the past two days against Israeli civilians. We were appalled and deeply saddened by the death of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, who was attacked on Sunday in her own home. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and community. Today, a pregnant Israeli woman, Michal Froman, was stabbed in the West Bank. We wish her a full and complete recovery. These horrific incidents underscore the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence.

It is appropriate for the State Dept. to condemn these brutal attacks, as they do others even when far less brutal, when they occur in the region.

The title of the statement uses the term “West Bank” to note where the attacks took place, rather than simply stating Israel. On the other hand, at least neither the title nor the statement itself describes the places where the women were attacked as “settlements,” as did, for example, the BBC  and even the JTA, in their reports.

At least as significant is that while the U.S. condemned the savage attacks, no responsibility was placed on any actors. The “terrorist attacks” happened, but nothing was said about who committed the acts, or who directed the attacks. In both instances it is already known that Palestinian Authority Arabs were the terrorists who knifed the women, one to death. One of the terrorists was an Arab who had been welcomed in to work in the community where he stabbed to death the mother of six. The other terrorist was an Arab teenager from nearby Bethlehem who entered the yishuv through a hole in the fence surrounding the community.

Not assigning blame when Palestinian or Israeli Arabs stab, slash, shoot or ram innocent Israelis is part of the modus operandi of John Kerry’s State Department, as it also was when State was run by now presidential-candidate Hillary Clinton.

This time, at least, the victims were particularized, but the people and entity responsible were not. That’s a problem that allows the responsible parties to remain anonymous and blameless on the world stage, where Israel, Israelis and, in particular, the Israeli government is always named and blamed.

Just wait to see what is the response to the new dictate by the chief security officer for Gush Etzion, the area south of Jerusalem in which the pregnant woman was stabbed. Arabs will now be barred from entering any of the Jewish towns in the area. Collective punishment? Apartheid? It’s coming. Four…three….two….one.

Three Americans Abducted by ‘Militiamen’ in Baghdad

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Three Americans, widely believed but not confirmed to be contractors, were abducted from war-torn Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, Jan. 14.

The missing Americans were taken from the Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad. That area has become an increasingly Sunni Muslim neighborhood in recent years.

The spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Scott Bolz, confirmed on Sunday that several Americans had “gone missing.” Bolz said “We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans.”

U.S. State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby also acknowledged to an Arab media outlet on Sunday, Jan. 16, that the U.S. government is aware of reports that three American citizens are missing in Iraq.

“The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority.‎ We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals,” Kirby said.

An Iraqi security official told CNN that two of the three missing are dual Iraqi-American citizens, and that the third is an American. The same official also said that the men “were grabbed by a group of gunmen from an apartment” in Dora late Friday afternoon.

The abducted men were reportedly taken away in a several-vehicle convoy.

“A company filed a report Sunday about three of its staff going missing two days ago. They are American contractors. We are looking into this report,” the Iraqi security official said.

An Iraqi police official told AFP that he was informed that the kidnappers were “militiamen wearing military uniforms.”

Over the course of the past several months, dozens of foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq. ISIS as well as Shia and Sunni groups have carried out the kidnappings. In addition to the abduction of foreign nationals, Iraqi citizens have also been kidnapped recently, although most of those incidents appeared to have criminal rather than terroristic motivations.

US ‘Aware’ Anti-Israel UN Protector for ‘Palestine’ Quit, Hopes he is Not Replaced

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

And everyone thought it couldn’t be worse than having Richard Falk as the official tattletale to the United Nations about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian Arabs.

But Falk’s replacement is quitting after he completes only two years of his six year term. The reason he gave for quitting is Israel’s refusal to grant him access to the “occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Not realizing the irony of his resignation statement, the latest UN special tattletale explained that “my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way.” Sound impartial?

Falk served for six years in the position officially known as the “UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” No joke. That is the full title.

There are no other such “special rapporteurs” who are appointed permanent positions to look into the dire human rights conditions in which a particular people live anywhere else in the world. Not in Saudi Arabia, not in South Sudan, not in China, not in Eritrea. The position was created to catalogue abuses described by the Palestinian Arabs to demonize Israel. Falk was the fifth such Special Rapporteur.

Falk fulfilled his job perfectly – never missing an opportunity to disparage Israel, whether or not the facts fit the situation. Falk, a Princteon professor, favored a boycott of Israelis living and breathing in the disputed territories, claimed Israel had “genocidal tendencies” towards the Paelstinians, and embraced 9/11 conspiracy theories.

In May of 2014, Makarim Wibisono, a diplomat from Indonesia with a long public history of anti-Israel animus, replaced Falk.

Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

Wibisono has spent nearly all of his professional life working for the U.N., in various positions.

How biased is the UN Special (and Permanent) Tattletale on Israel?

This past fall there were nearly daily rammings, stabbings and shootings of Israelis by Palestinian- or Israeli-Arabs. So how did the special UN snoop report this? An 11 paragraph report issued on Nov. 16 treated the several months period of virtual open warfare on Israeli Jews as a completely equal uptick in “continuing violence.”

It pointed out that in the preceding six weeks, “over 80 Palestinians and around 15 Israelis have reportedly been killed. In addition, thousands of Palestinians and more than 100 Israelis have been injured.”

So far, it sounds like the Arabs had the worst of it. But then the report focuses in on a specific case. Ah, but it’s the case of an Arab killed by Israeli forces “during an undercover arrest operation in a Hebron hospital on Thursday last week. Further fatalities, Israeli and Palestinian, were reported last Friday and over the weekend.” Now it is clear which side the Special Rapporteur sees as the clear victim.

No mention of drug-addled Arabs deliberately ramming their cars into groups of Israeli civilians, then jumping out of their cars and knifing old men to death with machetes. That happened, but that didn’t make it into the report. Nor did any of the other Arab-on-Israeli attacks.

Instead, what Wibisono did include in his report was a focus on cases of “excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinians, including some which appear to amount to summary executions.” Yes, summary executions is U.N. speak for killing a terrorist who refuses to stop trying to stab or shoot or use their cars to ram Israelis to death.

THIS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR WAS A LAST-MINUTE REPLACEMENT FOR AN IMPARTIAL NOMINEE

Wibisono was a last minute and surprise successor to Falk. The original choice, an American lawyer from Georgetown who received a unanimous recommendation from the UN Human Rights Council’s vetting committee, Christina Cerna, was nixed at the last minute by a show of force from the Arab League.

Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties with Iran, Gives 48 Hours for Iranian Diplomats to Leave Kingdom

Monday, January 4th, 2016

The two mighty Middle Eastern Muslim powers are now officially and publicly at each other’s throats, and their minor minions are lining up alongside the major powers, as the sunni Muslim Kingdom of Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with the Shiite Islamic Republic of Iran on Sunday, Jan. 3.

The final straw, at least for the Saudis, was the storming of the KSA’s Embassy in Tehran and its Consulate in Mashhad by Iranian protesters on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Those protests, in turn, were at least ostensibly motivated by the execution of a popular Shiite Muslim Cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, by Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The cleric had led protests against unequal treatment of Shias in an eastern part of the KSA, where the majority of Saudi Shiites are concentrated.

The Kingdom recalled its diplomats on Sunday, all of whom arrived in Dubai later that day, according to the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir. The Saudi Foreign Minister gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave Saudi Arabia.

Protesters began rioting outside the Saudi Embassy on Saturday, then hurled Molotov cocktails, and eventually stormed the building, smashing furniture and setting fires. The protesters burned pictures of the Saudi king. A slightly less violent riot broke out the following day at the Saudi Consulate in Mashhad, in the Khorasan province of Iran.

The governments of both countries verbally attacked the other for supporting terrorism and being oppressive regimes. Each government has executed hundreds of prisoners over the past several years.

The Egyptian, Jordanian and Kuwaiti governments condemned the breaches of the Saudi diplomatic compounds, and the United Arab Emirates summoned the Iranian Ambassador to protest Iran’s “interference in Saudi internal matters,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

And Iranian supporters such as Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, criticized Saudi Arabia for executing Nimr, which he said “shows the real oppressive, terrorist and criminal face of the Saudi regime.”

Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, described Nimr’s execution as an “unjust aggression,” and the former prime minister of Iraq Nuri al-Maliki, said that Nimr’s will be the downfall of the Gulf kingdom’s government.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei called Nimr a “martyr” who acted peacefully.

The United Nation’s top human rights official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, also criticized Saudi Arabia for the 47 executions which took place on Saturday, including Nimr’s.

There have been more than 750 executions in Iran since the so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013.

Nimr had been sentenced to death by a Saudi court in October of last year. He was arrested in 2012 for his role in anti-government protests, including at the start of the Arab Spring protests. His trial began in the spring of 2014.

In response to the executions in Saudi Arabia and the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Iran, the U.S. called for restraint.

The State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. government “reaffirm our calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all cases.” He expressed concern that the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric would “exacerbate sectarian tensions” at a time when they “urgently need to be reduced.”

The statement ended with a predictable exhortation to all “leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts aimed at de-escalating regional tensions.” No doubt that will do the trick.

How an Arab Reporter Pushes State Dept. to Deliver His Message

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Few people understand the echo chamber of the mainstream media. How is it that so many of the major media outlets share a particular understanding or take on certain controversial issues? In particular, how is the narrative of the poor, oppressed Palestinian Arabs suffering under the Israeli occupation so wide-spread and so entrenched?  Some reporting on the reporting will help you understand.

One laboratory to examine is the daily press briefing offered by the United States State Department. Just about every weekday either the department’s spokesperson, currently John Kirby – or one of his assistants – enters a small room, set up like a college classroom. The spokesperson strides to the podium, gives a brief overview of travel or other State Department news which has taken place since the previous briefing, and then takes questions from the reporters seated in the room.

The reporters ask about their outlet’s particular areas of interest, usually with respect to some late breaking news, in which the vast State Department plays a role. The  role of State’s spokesperson is to ensure that there is a unified and official “take” on whatever is happening.

National and international media outlets, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, NBC, Fox News and several dozen others, are eligible to be in the room. Somewhere between 10 and 50 reporters attend each briefing.

U.S. State Dept. Press Briefing Room.

U.S. State Dept. Press Briefing Room.

Typical questions of late have been about tensions between Syria and Turkey, or the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Not surprisingly, many questions over the past months have had to do with the ongoing war in Syria, the rise of ISIS and the west’s coalition to end that conflict.

But there is always one reporter in the room who raises differing versions of the same questions about the same topic. That reporter is Said Arikat, the D.C.-based reporter for the Palestinian Arab news outlet, Al-Quds. The JewishPress.com has reported on Arikat before.

Not surprisingly, Arikat is focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But what is surprising — what is, in fact, shocking — is that Arikat raises the question many different ways until he gets the very specific response he’s looking for from the State Department spokesperson. Some times they disappoint him.  Much of the time, they play right into his hands.

The responses Arikat fishes for are ones condemning Israel for any number of incidents – some real, but most exaggerated or entirely misrepresented. Sometimes Arikat is unsuccessful at evoking the response he so obviously desires.

Nonetheless, just asking his long-winded and convoluted questions provides him with the forum to present his version of the plight of the aggrieved Palestinian Arabs. And he does that day in and day out, in a room full of Washington, D.C. based national and international journalists.

Arikat is the Arab lobbyist in the briefing room. His audience is the State Department spokesperson, the elite journalists in the briefing room, and the readers and viewers who consume the news produced by those news outlets.

While Arikat is not always successful,  he is dogged enough, and is successful frequently enough, that he has been singularly responsible for headlines in major national and international media.  Watch how the sausage is actually made:

Here is the exchange between Arikat and State Dept. Spokesperson Kirby, on Wednesday, Dec. 9:

STATE DEPT. SPOKESPERSON KIRBY: Yeah, Said.

SAID ARIKAT: Can I have a couple questions about the Palestinian-Israeli issue? Today there was an article written by Israeli President Rivlin in The Washington Post talking about what Israel must do to sort of to pave the road towards peace and so on. I wonder if you saw it. He talks about the exchange of teachers and so on, maybe alleviating some of the hardships on the Palestinians, maybe look after the neglect of the Arab part of Jerusalem and so on. But he also ends by saying – basically expressing sorrow that he cannot bequeath the coming generations a peace that will endure, but he – they can bequeath some accomplishments and so on. Is that a – sort of – are you disappointed that we talk about coming generations, maybe – could you – another, like, 10, 20, 30 years and so on – is that your reading of what he is saying? Arikat is referring to the editorial discussed in Wednesday’s JewishPress.com. Arikat is laying the groundwork for pushing the Palestinian Arab demand for a Palestinian State.

KIRBY: What I would say is – I mean, even we’ve talked about the need for peace and security for coming generations and for the young children of the area right now that are seeing this violence. That’s no way for these youngsters to grow up. So I think we would share the president’s view that we want peace and security in coming generations. But also – and as the Secretary made very clear on Saturday – just – we talk about coming years, but even over the past several months, we’ve been encouraging all parties to take affirmative steps to reduce the tensions and to demonstrate a genuine commitment to a two-state solution. And again, as the Secretary said over the weekend, we hope both sides are going to make the choices that will advance the prospects for a lasting peace. We recognize how hard this is, but that’s our goal and that hasn’t changed. Kirby’s response is the U.S. mantra of seeking to “encourage” the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs to move forward, reduce tensions, and express their commitment to a two-state “solution” to the conflict.

ARIKAT: Because today marks the 27th anniversary of the first Palestinian intifada, and basically here we are, like third intifada later and so on, and they still endure under occupation and so on. There seems to be no end in sight for that occupation. So 22 years after negotiations began and so on, you as the broker of these negotiations really have not offered the Palestinians anything tangible in terms of ending the occupation, have they? The poor Palestinian Arabs are languishing, nearly thirty years after the first “intifada.” As if the intifada represents something that the Arabs did which should have entitled them to their own state, and yet, here they are, still, without one. The intifadas, of course, have been concentrated periods of rampant Jew-murdering by Palestinian Arabs. They have included the intentional shootings, homicide bombings, stabbings and mutilation of Jewish Israelis. This, Arikat seeks to convey, should entitle them to a state of their own, and an end to what he calls “the Occupation.”

MR KIRBY: Well, I think I’d rebut a little bit the idea that we’re the broker of negotiations. But what we want is – what we want is for both sides to work this out, to reduce the violence, and to take positive, affirmative steps to get to a two-state solution. That’s what both of them have said they want to see, and so what we want to see is them take the steps necessary to get there. Kirby pushes back, but not on the idea that the Palestinian Arabs are entitled to a state, or that they are under an occupation, or that the intifadas have been something that should merit a reward. No, Kirby doesn’t like the U.S. being referred to as the “broker of negotiations.” That, according to Kirby, is what was inaccurate about Arikat’s dramatic soliloquy.

ARIKAT: And one more – or maybe two more. Yesterday an Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian legislator woman – who’s really quite been a vocal voice on behalf of women’s rights, against extremism, a very progressive person – Khalida Jarrar for 15 months in prison under some sort of really made-up kind of charges of incitement and so on because she refused to leave her home in Ramallah and so on. Is that something that bothers you or disturbs you, that Israel can go and maybe in the middle of the night take someone and put them in prison for sort of trumped-up charges? Really? This is something that a reporter raises in a U.S. State Dept. press briefing?

State Dept Press Pool Suggest Israeli Security Move is ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ and Wrong

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

In the wake of a wave of vicious brutality unleashed on innocent Israelis by Arab Palestinian terrorists drunk on the lies told them by their political and religious leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the possibility of a serious punishment for the stabbings, shootings and car rammings. The response from some quarters suggest Israelis have no right to self-defense, and should perhaps just turn the other cheek. Wrong religion.

Netanyahu suggested that perhaps it was time to strip Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem of their Israeli identity cards.  Most of the terrorists responsible for the recent violence come from almost exclusively Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, such as Shuafat and Jabal Mukaber.

What Netanyahu said when he raised the topic two weeks ago during a cabinet meeting was: “We need to examine the possibility of canceling their residency. There needs to be a discussion about it.”  Such a discussion was necessary, he said, because it is a lawless area, with “no enforcement.”

The cabinet members decided to hold a special session to further discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the public discussion of residency restrictions, some Israelis say the violence has already begun to diminish.

But having raised the issue of the potential restrictive measure at the height of the violence, the story took on a life of its own. Some Arab outlets already announced that the decision was made and Israel decided to withdraw the identity cards of 80,000 Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem.

In the State Department press briefing discussion about this matter on Monday, of course, the message was distorted as well.

Ever-ready to paint Israel as the evil wrongdoer, Al Quds’ journalist Said Arikat asked State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby about the security measure at Monday’s briefing.

Said Arikat. State Dept. Press Briefing, Oct. 26, 2015.

Said Arikat. State Dept. Press Briefing, Oct. 26, 2015.

Arikat said of the proposed security measure, “stripping 80,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites from their identity card, basically cutting them off outside of the wall,” and Arikat sought a response. “Do you have a comment on that?

That’s fine, Arikat is entitled to ask for a comment.

But then he went one step further: “Does that amount to some sort of ethnic cleansing from Jerusalem?”

This is what Arikat does. He introduces a poisonous phrase into the briefing room, a phrase likely to linger in the ears of those so inclined, a phrase that may very well appear in the reports filed by others in the room. It also spurs others to respond to that image, and to ask questions, and give answers, in light of that phrase permeating the atmosphere.

To his credit, initially the spokesperson declined to respond, uttering those magic talking points of the “expectations of all sides that they’ll avoid provocative actions and rhetoric and being to work cooperatively to restore calm.”

But the press group just couldn’t let it go.

Soon, Brad Klapper of the Associated Press stepped in, taking his cue from Arikat. Klapper, sitting in his elder sidekick Matt Lee’s seat, assumed a mien of incredulity, and asked a question as if he were in a session on Applied Ethics instead of a government briefing room.

Klapper intoned:”But rhetoric aside, just the idea of stripping tens of thousands of people of the right to move about where they currently move about, work where they may currently work, travel where they may currently travel – is that something that – provocative or not, is that something you just oppose because you think it’s wrong?”

Brad Klapper of the Associated Press

Brad Klapper of the Associated Press

Cabinet Minister Calls U.S. Government ‘Hostile’

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Gilad says the State Dept. believes lies to draw false conclusions, but he does not expect an apology because the Obama administration is “hostile” to Israel.

The off-and-on irritable relationship between the United States and Israel is back into the “testy” category with frowns from Washington that Israel uses excessive violence to quell rioters and terrorists and a Cabinet minister’s labeling Washington as “hostile.”

Public Security Minister and Likud hawk Gilad Erdan, speaking on Army Radio Thursday morning, accused the State Dept. of being “misled by lies.”

He said he expects the Obama administration to “clarify” its statements,” but then added:

I don’t expect anything from the spokesmen at the State Department. The State Department has traditionally been hostile to the State of Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has talked himself into trouble again. The JewishPress.com reported here earlier this week that he told Harvard University students that there has been a rapid growth of settlements and followed by noting “frustration” among Arabs.

As reported here this morning, Kerry’s spokesman John Kirby tried to roll back the remark but only make things worse by referring to “excessive violence.”

Errand’s response is bound to be raised at today’s daily press briefing at the State Dept., whose spokesmen have found it very difficult lately to answer questions by journalists who have finally realized that something is rotten in the Washington as well as in the Palestinian Authority

But Erdan’s use of the word “hostile” may have been out of order.

“Ignorant” would Netanyahu more appropriative.

As for excessive force, does anyone remember Ferguson?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cabinet-minister-calls-u-s-government-hostile/2015/10/15/

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