WATCH: US State Department Spokesperson’s Ultra Lame Response To Abbas Blood Libel
This is from Thursday’s State Department briefing, where Spokesperson John Kirby answers Matt Lee’s question regarding Mahmoud Abbas’ blood libel comments to the EU Parliament last week.
Kirby’s answer might not be as bad as the applause Abbas received following his vile speech, but it is rather pathetic.
QUESTION: Wait, wait. Just one more on the – you said you’re familiar with President Abbas’s comments to the EU?
MR KIRBY: I just – the ones that he cited.
QUESTION: Are you familiar with the comments – the part of his speech in which he said that there were some rabbis who were wanting to poison Palestinian water?
MR KIRBY: I’ve seen the comments. I can’t confirm the veracity of that.
QUESTION: You can’t – I’m not asking you to confirm it. I’m asking you what you think of it.
MR KIRBY: Well, look, I mean —
QUESTION: I mean, is this the kind of – is this the kind of language that you guys want coming from someone who says that he’s a partner for peace and wants to negotiate, and then he accuses the other side of trying to poison his people?
MR KIRBY: We’ve been – without speaking to specific comments, as you know I’m not wont to do, we have been very clear – the Secretary’s been clear about our concerns about inflammatory rhetoric and incitement and —
QUESTION: Well, this is before the EU parliament. What —
MR KIRBY: Again, we want – here’s how I’d put it, Matt: We —
QUESTION: You don’t think it’s —
MR KIRBY: As we’ve said before, we —
QUESTION: You don’t think it might be true, do you?
MR KIRBY: I – again, I’ve seen nothing to indicate the truth of that. But we have long said what we want is for both sides to ratchet down not just the violence but the rhetoric, which can inflame some of the violence. And we just don’t find that sort of rhetoric helpful.
QUESTION: Why can’t you demand evidence from the Palestinian side?
MR KIRBY: Why can’t I what?
QUESTION: Why can’t you demand the Palestinians submit an evidence on this? Will you ask the Palestinians that if that – these are serious allegation, and if they exist, they ought to submit evidence, right?
MR KIRBY: Look, we just saw the comments today, Said. Again, what we want to see is that kind of rhetoric – the kind of rhetoric that could inflame tensions, we want to see that stop and for tensions to be —
QUESTION: And this is that kind of rhetoric?
MR KIRBY: I’m not going to characterize each and every comment. As I said earlier, we just don’t – we want to see both sides take affirmative steps to get us closer to a two-state solution, and we believe a part of that is showing the kind of leadership that goes with reducing the kinds of rhetoric that could inflame tensions. I’m not going to characterize each and every comment.
QUESTION: All right. How about I ask you again tomorrow, because I have a feeling you’re going to want to say something a little bit stronger than what you just did. So —
QUESTION: Central African Republic?
MR KIRBY: Now you’re just encouraging me not to change my story.
QUESTION: Well, no. I mean, I just can’t believe that you’re saying that there might be some credence to this.
MR KIRBY: I didn’t say that.
QUESTION: Well, you’re —
MR KIRBY: I said I’ve seen absolutely no indication that there’s any truth to that.
MR KIRBY: That’s what I just said. I see absolutely no indications that there’s any truth to that.
QUESTION: Okay. All right.