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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Toner’

The Orlando Massacre

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

President Obama has long rankled with his preposterous, mantra-like refusal to mention or allow anyone in his administration to mention Islam in the same breath as “terror” or “terrorism.”

He would not even allow the use of the phrase “radical Islam” which, to most, would only signify a possible hijacking of a faith to one’s own use. This, even though terrorist attacks for years have almost invariably been committed by marauders invoking Allah in the course of their murderous rampages.

Mr. Obama’s reason for this has been straightforward: Determined to reset the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world, he was fearful that even tangential linkage as a matter of American policy would thwart that goal by alienating many Muslims. And in that regard, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton stood by him. But in the wake of the Orlando shooting on Sunday at the hands of an American-born Muslim who swore allegiance to Islamic State, that seems to have changed.

Donald Trump reacted to the Orlando shooting by doubling down on his uncompromising, hard-line, theoretical  linkage to terrorism of Muslims generally and some of the teachings of Islam, and by reiterating his call for  restricting their entry into the U.S.

Mrs. Clinton at first echoed President Obama’s paean to diversity and “our values.” She dismissed Mr. Trump’s overall approach and tried to downplay any connection between Islam and the Orlando terror. She reiterated the need for gun control, deplored Mr. Trump’s “inflammatory, anti-Muslim rhetoric,” and said the “murder of innocent people breaks our hearts, tears at our sense of security, and makes us furious.”

And she rhapsodized that “America is strongest when we all believe we have a stake in our country and our future…. Our open, diverse society is an asset in the struggle against terrorism, not a liability.”

But she didn’t even hint at the notion that Islamic terrorism or radical Islam played a role in the Orlando attack.

Mr. Trump responded with a call for President Obama to resign and for Mrs. Clinton to withdraw from the presidential race over their refusal to recognize the Islamic threat to Americans’ safety.

Mrs. Clinton then did a stunning about face, as reflected in her exchange with CNN’s Chris Cuomo:


Cuomo: “One of the criticisms in these situations is that President Obama won’t use the words ‘radical Islamic terror.’ That it seems to be either a fear or a protective instinct about blaming the religion. You are now coming under scrutiny about what you will call this, what this means to leadership. Do you believe that this is radical Islamism? Will you use those words, and if not, why?”

Clinton: “Well, first of all, from my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say. And it mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him. And I have clearly said that we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. And, you know, whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing; I’m happy to use either.”


While there is still a trace of diplomatic gobbledygook, it seems clear that, under pressure from Mr. Trump,  Mrs. Clinton has broken from President Obama on a singular theme of his administration. Time will tell whether she will be as vulnerable to future Trump verbal barrages respecting other controversial positions the leader of her party has espoused. If nothing else, she has signaled a recognition that events may force her hand.


The Sarona Attack

As soon as the dust settled on the Palestinian terrorist attack on Tel Aviv’s Sarona café last week in which four Israelis were killed and many more wounded, Israel announced several immediate countermeasures –which included refusing to send the bodies of the terrorists to their families, imposing travel restrictions on Palestinians, and deploying thousands of troops in the West Bank.

Editorial Board

State Dept. Says Liberman Appointment ‘Raises Legitimate Questions’ About Direction of Israeli Govt

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The U.S. is not happy about the appointment of Israel’s new defense minister, Yisrael Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman, to the coalition government. This became patently obvious at Wednesday State Department briefing (May 25, 2016) in Washington DC after a long round of questions on other topics — most of them about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds during her tenure as Secretary of State — when the session was nearly over. There were just a few minutes left, said State Department spokesperson Mark Toner, who seemed almost to be waiting for someone — anyone — to ask the question.

And then finally, the very last one, squeezed in at the final second, a reporter managed to deliver the perfect pitch over home plate. Following is the question — clearly a softball — tossed to the harried spokesperson, who practically leaped to answer it, and his response.

Q: I know it’s like the fifth day in a row, but at least it’s now formally been announced that Avigdor Lieberman is to be Israel’s defense minister. Do you have any comment on the new Israeli government and his appointment to that job in particular?

Mr. Toner: I do. We have seen reports an agreement’s been reached to expand the coalition.

“We’ve also seen reports from Israel describing it as the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history. And we also know that many of its ministers have said they opposed a two-state solution.

“This raises legitimate questions about the direction it may be headed in – headed in, rather – and what kind of policies it may adopt, but ultimately we’re going to judge this government based on its actions.

“We’re going to work with this government as we have with every Israeli government that preceded it, with the goal of strengthening our cooperation, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to the security of Israel, and in our commitment to working towards a two-state solution.”

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinian Authority Media Silent on Arrest of Duma Terror Suspects

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

UPDATE: Following the report below, the Ma’an News Agency reported on the arrests. The Palestinian Authority website WAFA continued to ignore them.

The Palestinian Authority has found a new form of incitement by simply ignoring any news that might tone it down.

Palestinian Authority propaganda hit a new low Thursday with a self-imposed gag order on the arrests of suspects of last July’s deadly arson attack of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma.

Arab media have turned the attack and lack of arrests of suspects into a cause célèbre. Sayeed Arikat, who covers the U.S. State Dept. for the Al Quds newspaper, has raised the issue almost every week.

Before there was news of this morning’s arrests, he reminded spokesman Mark Toner Wednesday of the lack of progress in the case, took the opportunity to criticize a court at the last minute labeled as “insane” a main suspect in the barbaric burning of a Jerusalem Arab teenager earlier this year, and complained of a “double standard” by Israel’s policy of destroying Arab terrorists’ homes but not those of Jewish terrorists.

Neither he nor Toner noted that destroying homes is a deterrent to terror and that the ratio of Jewish terrorists to Palestinian Authority terrorists is something like one Jew and several thousand Arabs.

WAFA, the official Palestinian Authority website, ignored the arrests this morning and instead quoted Nickolay Mladenov, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, as saying said Wednesday:

Four months have passed since the arson attack against the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank on 31 July.

The English website of the Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem and widely quoted by foreign media, also ignored the arrests Thursday, well after a gag order was released.

It simply paraphrased the WAFA report, emphasizing the U.N. official’s remarks.

The report was updated Thursday afternoon and not only omitted any reference to the arrests but also continued to falsely report, “The perpetrators of the attack have still not been arrested by Israeli authorities.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Condemns Terror Attacks without ‘Balanced Blame’ [video]

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

The State Dept. Tuesday issued a rare condemnation of terror “against Israelis citizens’ without directly mentioning injuries to Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arab terrorists and rioters, who are called “civilians” by Western leaders and media.

Spokesman John Kirby said:

The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, which resulted in the murder of three Israelis and left numerous others wounded.

He added, “We mourn any loss of innocent life, Israeli or Palestinian, but the statement was a clear change from the usual “balanced” statements that express sorrow for victims on “both sides.”

Kirby added the routine comments that the United States is “in regular contact with the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority [and] remain[s] deeply concerned about escalating tensions and urge all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and prevent actions that would further escalate tensions.

More important is what Kirby did not say.

He did not call on “both sides” to prevent injuries, which would imply that Israel must tolerate rioters and use limited force against terrorists.

Even more significant was the omission of any reference to the Temple Mount and the Al Aqsa mosque, which is at the heart of the Arab campaign that accuses Israel of trying to prevent Muslims from praying there while supposedly encouraging “settlers” to destroy it.

Israel indeed has prevented Muslims from using the mosque as a launching pad for attacking police and Jews, as well as non-Jews, who visit the site. That is not exactly what the value of “freedom of worship” means.

The change in tone by the United States is a sign that the traditionally successful Arab lie of playing the victim is not going to work this time.

The Palestinian Authority already is churning out the same warped reports that Hamas previously has fabricated to suck the sympathy and anti-Zionist venom of the European Union and United Nations, if not to a lesser degree the State Dept. and the Obama administration.

Arab media are working overtime to tell the world that more than 1,000 Arabs have been wounded by Israelis forces, compared with only a few dozen Jews who have been stabbed or shot by terrorists,. It has headlined that more than 30 Arabs have been killed, compared with less than a dozen Israelis victims.

It wants to convince everyone that it is disproportionate when more terrorists are killed than Jews.

The official Palestinian Authority still calls the terrorists “martyrs”, and the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA website today was full of reports with headlines such as:

Israeli Police Kills Teenager, Injures another near Jerusalem.

Israeli Police Fatally shoot 3 Palestinians, Critically Injure another in Jerusalem.

It also reported that Israeli officials “claimed” that Arabs had staged the attacks.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has called on the European Union “to exert pressure on Israel to immediately end its military escalation against Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

He also “called for an end to settlers’ extremism and their daily violations in Jerusalem and the West Bank against vulnerable communities and sacred and holy sites.”

Hamdallah then urged “the United Nations Security Council to take immediate action to stop the grave Israeli escalations and provide international protection to the Palestinian people.”

UNRWA, as usual, has cooperated, and said that Israeli forces are using “excessive use of force [that] “may be contrary to international law enforcement standards.”

It made no mention of Palestinian Authority or Israeli Arab murders and attempted murders of Jews.

The United States is not buying it, and it is questionable how much the European Union will swallow it.

EU Federica Mogherini said earlier this week, “Far from preventing the resumption of a political dialogue, the latest tensions should push both parties to work together for the sake of their people.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Says It Doesn’t Even Know How Many Americans Live in West Bank

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

President Barack Obama’s State Dept. experts on the Middle East have once again proven how much they don’t know.
One would think that the experts at Foggy Bottom are aware of how many Americans live in Judea and Samaria, or what the administration likes to call the “occupied territories.”

As reported here earlier this week, a British professor disclosed in a new book, to be published later this year, what almost every American in Israel knows – that there are disproportional number of Americans living in Judea and Samaria.

There are approximately 60,000 former American “settlers,” according to Oxford University Prof. Sara Yael Hirschhorn.

On Monday, Palestinian Authority propagandist Sayeed Erikat, who covers the State Dept. for the Al-Quds newspaper, asked deputy spokesman Mark Toner if he was aware that “there are 60,000 American Jewish settlers in the West Bank.”

Toner replied:

Sixty thousand? I don’t.

Erikat said, for Toner’s information, there are indeed so many Americans running around there, and he used his podium to ask how the United States government, which considers all settlers to be illegal and even illegitimate, can tolerate Americans living in what they call Judea and Samaria..

“Do you have any leverage with these American citizens?” Erikat asked.

Toner answered:

We, through our embassy, offer support for American citizens throughout the world. But what – we’re very clear on our policy on this issue.

Erikat suggested what could be the next hammer hold the Obama administration can exercise on Israel. If the United States opposes settlements, why should it offer services to Americans whom they consider to be illegal?

He asked:

Should the United States or would the United States have some sort of a program – an incentive program – to sort of encourage settlers to perhaps dismantle these settlements?

Toner didn’t answer directly, and Erikat let him get away with stating “that’s really a question for the Israeli Government to look at.”

Hirschhorn’s study pointed out that the Americans in Judea and Samaria by and large educated academics. She did not describe them as Wild West cowboys.

But Erikat gave Toner an “education” about the “true” identity of many of those Americans, to wit:

Many elements among these settlers are extremists. They carry guns, they enforce their own sort of rules and regulations on roads and hamlets and so on – Palestinian hamlets. Do you have any kind of program, perhaps, to rehabilitate these settlers, bring them back somehow, as opposed to the settlements?

Toner, reflecting State Dept. knowledge, so to speak, actually patronized Erikat instead of contradicting him outright, which he couldn’t do because his experts only know what they want to imagine.
Toner said:

We’ve also spoken about the uptick in violence, in extremist violence in Israel. And in fact, the government and the prime minister have also spoken about some of the recent attacks that we view as abhorrent. And we call on, frankly, all sides to stop this kind of violence.

There is no indication that the attacks were carried out by Americans, In fact, it still is open to question whether Jews or an Arab gang carried out the most infamous attack – the firebombing of an Arab home in which an 18-month-old baby and his father were killed.

So far, the Obama administration has not suggested how to “rehabilitate” settlers, of whom I am one.

I didn’t know I need rehabilitation.

By the way, I do not carry a gun. I might get arrested for defending myself.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

ObamaDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing

Friday, July 31st, 2015

The State Dept. was caught in yesterday’s press briefing claiming there were no “secret deals” with Iran but admitted that it has no written copy of the arrangements it is defending.

Associated Press journalist Matt Lee questioned spokesman Mark Toner at Thursday’s press briefing about many Congressmen’s concerns over IAEA access to Iran’s nuclear sites under the nuclear agreement.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker has said that IAEA director Dr. Yukiya Amano did not accept an invitation to testify at Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the deal.

Toner declined to say whether Dr. Amano should testify but added:

There’s [sic] no secret deals, and we heard that expression thrown out constantly over the last couple of days. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The IAEA, which is the one that verifies – will verify this deal, does create arrangements with countries under what’s called the Additional Protocol.

And Under Secretary Sherman has already had a secure briefing with the House leadership talking about this arrangement, and we’ve continued to provide or we will continue to provide those briefings in a classified setting, as needed….

So the perception that this has somehow been – that Congress hasn’t been looped in on this, and what we know about these arrangements is, frankly, incorrect. But they’ve had to take place in a classified setting.

Fine and dandy, but the reasonable assumption is that someone knows about the arrangements.

Lee told the spokesman:

But the notion – you said the notion that Congress hasn’t been looped in, but you haven’t been looped in because you guys haven’t read it.

Toner admitted:

We haven’t received a written copy of it, but we have been briefed on the contents.

And Lee retorted:

So someone with a photographic memory has looked at it and copied everything down in their brain and then repeated it up on the Hill?

Toner fidgeted and explained that “nuclear experts with much bigger degrees than I can ever attain have looked at this and their comfort level with it is good.”

But that does not answer the question, “If there is no secret deal, why isn’t a written version available?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US: Israeli Settlements Not Constructive for Peace

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

According to FOCUS Information Agency, the United States said Wednesday that Israel’s settlement activity was not “constructive” for Middle East peace after a committee approved a plan for at least 500 new homes in Judea and Samaria, and legalized the outpost of Shvut Rachel, which had been unauthorized. Officials said the committee gave legal status to around 195 existing homes and gave the go-ahead for some 500 new ones.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he was not familiar with the latest approval of settlements but reiterated that the United States opposes such moves. “We don’t believe it’s in any way constructive to getting both sides back to the negotiating table,” Toner told reporters.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-israeli-settlements-not-constructive-for-peace/2012/02/23/

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