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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Marie Harf’

More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Can you imagine if some Jewish reporter for, say, JewishPress.com, repeatedly prodded the State Department spokesperson to provide additional funding to Israel during the daily State Department Press Briefings?

How long do you think something like that would go on before someone, whether from the State Department, one of the other media outlets, or one of the reporter’s employers told the Jewish reporter to stop being so unprofessional or they would be removed from the State Department press briefings?

So what is the deal with Said Arikat?

Why does no one raise an eyebrow when when, month after month, Arikat acts as a lobbyist for the Palestinian Authority instead of a professional journalist? Why is Arikat permitted to whine over the reduction in funding to the PA, and to beg the State Department to intervene?

It happened yet again at the Daily Briefing on Friday, April 17.

This is how the exchange went between the acting State Department Spokesperson, Marie Harf, and Said Arikat (with emphasis added):

ARIKAT: Can I ask you a quick question on the Palestinian issue?

MS HARF: You can.

ARIKAT: Okay. There was a meeting today between the European and American consul generals with the Palestinian prime minister to discuss the financial situation. The Israelis are holding 1.7 billion shekels, or $500 million. But they’re saying that the American consul general suggested that there may be a resolution in the next 24 hours. Are you aware of anything like this?

MS HARF: I’m not going to get into our private conversations. We want there to be a resolution as soon as possible, Said.

ARIKAT: In the event that the funds are not released and they continue to be frozen and more funds are frozen, is there any sort of – like the old days, when you guys used to have a waiver with the government —

MS HARF: “The old days.”

ARIKAT: I mean before, let’s say, a year ago or so —

MS HARF: Okay.

ARIKAT: — when the President had a waiver of some sort to infuse some funds into the PA and save it from collapse as has happened in the past. Is there anything of the sort this time around?

MS HARF: I haven’t heard anything, Said. We think this just needs to be resolved.

So, for at least the sixth time in less than a year, Arikat has transformed the State Department daily press briefings into a lobbying session in which a Palestinian Arab reporter working for a Palestinian Arab media outlet attempts to wheedle money out of the State Department for the Palestinian Authority, and/or uses the opportunity to present a one-sided version of facts about the Middle East to the State Department press corps.

Try to imagine what would happen if someone who was perceived as pro-Israel acted the way Arikat consistently does.

But no one ever calls Arikat on his gross non-professionalism. It is not only grossly unfair because it creates an unbalanced theater in which truth is expected to prevail.

It is also unfair because failing to demand professional behavior from Arikat is a shining example of the soft bigotry of low expectations – something that takes place on a regular basis in the U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefings.

Obama Caught Telling Truth, State Department Tries to Fix It

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

As reported yesterday, President Obama admitted that Netanyahu was correct when he said that the sunset clause in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran “paves the way” for Iran to get nuclear weapons.

Obama admitted that in years 13 and 14 under his deal, the breakout time, which has since dropped to its current 2-3 months, and which the deal hopes to expand to 1 year, then drops to zero.

“What is a more relevant fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

The State Department faced a crisis when Obama accidentally told the truth, and to correct it, Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the President’s words got “a little mixed up”, and he was referring to a “hypothetical” case of what would happen without a deal.

MAtt Lee: I’d like to go to Iran and president’s rather unusual sales job and his most recent interview. He said after 13 years Iran would or could have a capability to produce a weapon —

Marie Harf: His words were mixed up – referring to a scenario where there was no deal.

Of course, Harf’s statement sounds mixed up as the President was quite clear.

US Rejects Netanyahu’s Demand that Iran Confirm Israel’s Right to Exist

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

The deal with Iran that was approved by President Barack Obama should not include a declaration that Tehran recognizes that Israel has a right to exist, according to the United States.

Two statements last week by Iranian and Israel leaders were arguably just as important if not more important than the framework for a deal that was affirmed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the other P5+1 nations and Iran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Mohammad Reza Naqdi said that erasing Israel off the map is “‘non negotiable.”‘

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated, “The survival of Israel is non-negotiable,” and he challenged President Obama to include that statement in a deal with Iran.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf tried to bury the issue Friday night with the argument that Iran’s stated desire to wipe out Israel has nothing to do with the deal with that is designed supposedly to stop it from getting a bomb that would be aimed at Israel.

Harf stated:

This is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue

On the other hand, President Obama stated after the deal was concluded:

I will be speaking with the Prime Minister today to make clear that there will be no daylight, there is no daylight, when it comes to our support for Israel’s security and our concerns about Iran’s destabilizing policies and threats toward Israel.

Obama openly admitted last week that he and Netanyahu have opposing positions on the deal with Iran. He stated, “It’s no secret that the Israeli Prime Minister and I don’t agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue.”

But if the president really wants anyone to believe he is committed to Israel’s security, it would be a logical conclusion that he would tell Iran that it really is not very convincing that it  does not want a bomb to destroy Israel when one of its top military commanders says there is nothing to be negotiated when it comes to destroying Israel.

If Iran really does not want to use its nuclear program to develop a bomb, what would be so difficult about telling Tehran to put everyone’s mind at rest and state that Israel has right to exist?

Harf’s answer that in effect said “don’t make things difficult for us” actually is the truth. Iran would never agree to putting in writing that Israel has a right to exist, but there is no need to worry if Iran reneges on the deal because Israel has Obama’s “support for Israel’s security and our concerns about Iran’s destabilizing policies and threats toward Israel.”

Iran’s one-track mind to destroy Israel was succinctly documented  by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic last month. Following are  several statements by Iran and Hezbollah, its terrorist proxy in Lebanon, the past 15 years. However, one must not be concerned by the threats against Israel  and the agreement not to dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure because Israel has Obama’s “unshakeable support” even if he cannot state so in a deal with Iran.

Mohammad Khatami, the former president of Iran: “If we abide by real legal laws, we should mobilize the whole Islamic world for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime … if we abide by the Koran, all of us should mobilize to kill.” (2000)

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.” (2001)


Hassan Nasrallah, a leader of Hezbollah: “If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” (2002)


Nasrallah: “Israel is our enemy. This is an aggressive, illegal, and illegitimate entity, which has no future in our land. Its destiny is manifested in our motto: ‘Death to Israel.’” (2005)

Al Jazeera Reporter: ‘Bibi Said ISIL and Iran Working Together’

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Said Arikat is not the only journalist in the State Dept. briefing room who makes blatantly false statements about Israel. Arikat gets in his slams against Israel at just about every briefing. He also has repeatedly acted as if he works for the Palestinian Authority, beseeching the State Dept. spokesperson to please, provide more funding to the aggrieved Palestinian Arabs.

Such statements remain etched to a greater or lesser degree on the people in the room, including the other journalists, plus, of course, the State Department spokesperson heading the briefing.

Rosalind Jordan, though not a serial slanderer, uttered a flatly false statement about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday, March 3.

Jordan is a reporter for Al Jazeera. Perhaps it is a cheap shot to mention, but Jordan worked as a journalist for several years during the mid-2000’s with NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams (yes, that Brian Williams.)

A State Department daily press briefing took place within two hours of the prime minister’s speech on Tues, March 3. During that briefing there was a good deal of discussion about Netanyahu’s speech. There was, not surprisingly, significant pushback by Marie Harf, State’s deputy spokesperson.

Jordan, however, asked a question that revealed how little attention she and others actually paid to the speech. The question Jordan asked had to do with Iran and ISIL (ISIS).

First, this is what the prime minister actually said about those two terrorist entities:

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

That is what Netanyahu said. Two terrorist entities, fighting each other for who will be the radical hegemon in the region. And the prime minister’s central point was that just because Iran and ISIS are fighting each other, and the U.S. is fighting ISIS, that does not mean that Iran is a friend to the U.S.

But here is what Al-Jazeera’s Rosalind Jordan asks the State Department’s Harf:

JORDAN: Did the Prime Minister mis-state the relationship between Iran and ISIL?

MS. HARF: I’m trying to remember how he stated it.

JORDAN: (Inaudible.)

JORDAN: He said that —

JORDAN: He basically suggested that they were working together.

Really? No, Netanyahu actually – not basically – said the exact opposite. He said Iran and ISIS were enemies, battling it out for top bad dog in the ‘hood. But Harf responded as if Jordan’s question accurately reflected Netanyahu’s statement:

MS. HARF: Well, I mean, I think that’s a gross oversimplification. Clearly, ISIL is a serious threat that we are taking on with direct military action. It is a terrorist organization. It is not a state. It is not a country. It has taken over a territory, and we’re working to push it back. Certainly, it poses a threat, but Iran’s destabilizing activities in places are a little bit different and require different tools. Even their support for terrorism with a group like Hizballah, Hizballah is different than ISIL. They’re just different groups, and you deal with them in different ways.

At the point in the briefing at which Jordan asked this question, Harf had already been speaking about the Israeli prime minister’s speech for at least ten minutes. So, either Harf had not watched the speech at all, but was just lecturing from talking points, or she had watched the speech but did not understand one of the most basic points Netanyahu made.

And no one else in the State Department briefing room pointed out how completely off-target either Jordan’s question was, or Harf’s response to it.  And those reporters are the ones informing the news consumers of this planet.

Harf, Kerry and Obama: ‘The Answer to Violent Extremism is #Jobs4RandomFolk’

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

As children it was reassuring to hear Mister Rogers, clad in his cardigan sweater and slippers, remind us that people sometimes do bad things, but that does not mean they are bad people.

It is much less reassuring when the leaders of the Free World act as if they are impersonating Mister Rogers and as if those who depend on their leadership are  elementary school kids whose lunch money was stolen.

It is undoubtedly true that not all Muslims are violent extremists, but there is, currently, an assault on western civilization and it is being waged by Muslim extremists in the name of Islam.

This week the U.S. has been hosting a summit on Countering Violent Extremism. Some may have hoped real answers would be forthcoming.

So when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry writes in a Feb. 18 op-ed that the U.S. vision for countering violent extremism is to create a safer and more prosperous future, jaws dropped. Those jaws didn’t drop because Kerry’s words were insightful or inspiring. The dropped either in disbelief or as the first physical manifestation of a yawn. We’ve heard all this before; it was wrong then and it’s wrong now.

It was the same response some had to the atrocities committed against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. “If only” those misguided men had access to education and employment, and chickens in pots, they would not turn to such unspeakable violence. But those men did have access to education and all the opportunities open to those who do. Deprivation of opportunity is not what drove their violent extremism, and it isn’t what is driving Boko Haram or ISIS or al Qaeda.

The “education and opportunity” prescription is the same one offered to explain Palestinian Arab terrorists. But those who write the prescription ignore the reality: many of those who engage in terrorism are not without opportunities, it is a choice they make regardless of standing in life and access to education, and it is one offered to them by a leadership with vise-like control over its followers.

It is the same prescription that inspired mass-ridicule when recently uttered by Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. The twitter hashtag that rocketed to the top of the charts, “#Jobs4ISIS” was a laughingstock.

Despite what Deputy Spokesperson Harf, and her boss Secretary of State Kerry, and his boss, U.S. President Obama insist is not the case, the violent extremists threatening world order are Islamist extremists, and what they need is not more jobs.  They need to be defeated militarily.

And yet, when claiming that military defeat is the wrong goal, Kerry proceeds to give examples of the violence committed by the random violent extremists. And each example is an act committed by Islamists in the name of Islam: “Military force is a rational and often necessary response to the wanton slaughters of children, mass kidnappings of schoolgirls, and beheading of innocents. But military force alone won’t achieve victory.”

The word Islam never appears in Kerry’s 14 paragraph, 938 word op-ed on Countering Violent Extremism.

The word Muslim appears once. It crops up in the category of the biggest victims of this unnamed, orphan, random violent extremism. It comes up in a paragraph in which Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are lined up as equal victims. It is employed to demonstrate that not only is the source of violent extremism random, so are the victims:

A safer and more prosperous future also requires us not to be distracted by divisions grounded in hatred or bias. There is no room in this fight for sectarian division. There is no room for Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Violent extremism has claimed lives in every corner of the globe, and Muslim lives most of all. Each of us is threatened, regardless of ethnicity, faith or homeland.

The rest of Kerry’s op-ed reads like something an earnest high school disciplinarian might say to teenagers who have been unruly. Kerry uses phrases like “peaceful communities” and “a vision that is positive and proactive,” a world with “concrete alternatives” and “a chance at a better life.”

For one brief, almost shining moment, Kerry stumbles on to a good idea. “The most basic issue is good governance.” But then, he drops the thought and instead goes on to discuss what the rest of the world needs to do in order to make the potential random violent extremists feel better about themselves and so less likely to blow us all to kingdom come.

Once again, as he concludes his statement, Kerry kicks into #jobs4ISIS mode. He channels Mister Rogers and suggests we all need to be ‘tailoring our efforts and targeting our resources’ and training youth so they can become employed and embrace “dignity and self-reliance,” as well as “security and justice.”

Jaw-dropping. Pardon the yawn.


State Dept. ‘Denial’ of ‘ISIS-Peace Talks’ Linkage Actually Confirms It [video]

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Did or did not U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry link the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace, meaning the creation of a Palestinian Authority country on its own terms, with the ability of the ISIS to recruit terrorist groupies?

Here is U.S. State Dept. Marie Harf’s denial to journalists who asked about Kerry’s comments that angered so many Israelis:

“He did not make any linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL, period. And we can go back over what he actually said, which I have in front of me. He did not make that linkage.”

Okay, Ms. Harf, let’s indeed so back over your boss’s words.

Here is what Kerry said in his remarks at a reception for Muslims marking the Eid al-Adha holiday and reported here on Friday.

“I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever.

“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to.

“And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.”

Note that in the middle of his remarks, he commented, “And I see a lot of heads nodding.”

It was clear that the nodding heads understood exactly what you, I, and others understood: “The need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians… was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt … they had to respond to.”

Harf insisted that what he said is not what he said, to wit:

“What he was saying is in the course of his work, do leaders in Europe and in the Middle East tell him that they like that the U.S. wants to try to achieve peace? Of course they do. Do the leaders think peace would help create a more stable region? Of course they do….He did not make a linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL, period.”

Wait a minute, ma’am. Kerry, and everyone else in the blind diplomatic world, “think peace would create a more stable region.” Kerry specifically stated that every leader he spoke with “in the course of our discussion about the ISIL coalition” said that the need for peace “was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation.”

So how can she say that he did not say what he did day?

Said Arikat, the Al Quds newspaper’s propagandist who dished out a daily doses of hype for the Palestinian Authority, asked Harf, “So you think that those leaders that told the Secretary of State there is a linkage, in fact, they’re expressing a sentiment of hate toward –“

Harf interrupted and insisted, “That’s not what he was saying. He was saying that as he travels around the world building a global coalition to defeat ISIL, which is an avowed enemy of Israel – the Secretary, helping to put together this coalition to defeat an enemy that has said they’re an avowed enemy of Israel, that he hears from people in conversations, as we have for many years, that if we could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that would help create a more stable region.”

Lieberman and Indyk Bash Bennett for Bashing Kerry

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Martin Indyk, another failed American messiah for the Palestinian Authority, and none other than hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unwittingly were on the same soapbox Saturday to bash Jewish Home Minister Naftali Bennett for bashing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s incredible comments linking ISIS recruitment with the failure of the “peace process.”

Lieberman’s criticism of Bennett clearly reflects the dependence of the Netanyahu administration on the United States to cast a veto against any vote in the United Nations Security Council in favor of admitting the Palestinian Authority as a full member in the General Assembly.

For the record, Kerry’s spokeswoman Marie Harf claimed that Kerry never made such a suggestion although her convoluted explanation essentially said the same thing in other terms.

But Bennett stole the limelight with his remarks Friday that were very undiplomatic and politically incorrect, if not correct from the standpoint of truth, that Kerry was “encouraging global terror.

“It turns out that even when a British Muslim decapitates a British Christian, there will always be someone to blame the Jew,” Bennett said. “There is no justifying terror, only fighting it. To say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is strengthening the Islamic State is encouraging global terror.”

Kerry stated at a reception for Muslims Wednesday, as reported here, “As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions … there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to.

“And people need to understand the connection of that… It has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity.”

We will leave it to the reader to figure out how Harf could claim that there was no linkage.

Israel’s Communications Minister Gilad Erdan was just as caustic as Bennett and said, “Kerry is breaking records for a lack of understanding of what is going on in our region.”

Indyk, who has joined a long list of American “experts” at the State Dept’s ever-expanding foreign policy graveyard, tweeted, “There they go again: Israeli rightist ministers attack Kerry for wanting Israeli-Palestinian peace to help fight IS.”

He supposedly was defending Kerry but his tweet actually spelled out in capital letters that the cause and effect is obvious: Israeli-Palestinian peace will help the United States fight the Islamic State.

Lieberman’s defense of Kerry was not so idiotic.

The foreign minister, who is on top of the list of those panning Kerry’s Peace Talks Follies, can fairly be presumed to have applauded in his heart every word Bennett and Erdan said, but his position as foreign minister took precedence. He clearly is worried about the reaction from Washington, which already has been reeled by several remarks this year by Israeli officials that Kerry is “messianic” and doesn’t have a clue about the Middle East.

That is absolutely untrue. Kerry knows the Middle East is located somewhere between the Atlantic Ocean and the China. He also knows that the King David Hotel is located in Jerusalem, the part that is not “occupied.”

“Let’s state some facts,” Lieberman said. “When our ammunition supplies ran out during Operation Protective Edge, it was the United States that sent us more. It was the Americans who gave us money which enabled us to develop Iron Dome. It was the US who voted with us in the UN Human Rights Council. The United States is the only country that saves us a good deal of grief in the Security Council with its veto.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/lieberman-and-indyk-bash-bennett-for-bashing-kerry/2014/10/18/

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