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For Obama officials, synagogue attack is "pure terror" -- and not a word about attacks on Palestinians

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Reprinted from Mondoweiss

From Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry
(Image by usembassykyiv)
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There's been plenty of Israeli incitement in recent days, and two Palestinian children were lately blinded by rubber bullets, and on Sunday night a Palestinian bus driver was found hanged, and Palestinians all over East Jerusalem are subject to unrelenting occupation and persecution.

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But for American officials, the terror killings of four Jewish men in a West Jerusalem synagogue today is the one and only story. "Pure terror," as our secretary of state puts it. President Obama condemned the killings with not a word about the Palestinian experience:

"We know that two attackers senselessly and brutally attacked innocent worshippers in a synagogue during their morning prayers. Obviously, we condemn in the strongest terms these attacks.A number of people were wounded, and four people were killed, including three American citizens.So this is a tragedy for both nations, Israel as well as the United States. And our hearts go out to the families who obviously are undergoing enormous grief right now."

Secretary of State John Kerry, in London, also said nothing about the recent killings of Palestinians, and crackdown on Palestinian neighborhoods:

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"I was just on the phone to Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. This morning, today in Jerusalem, Palestinians attacked Jews who were praying in a synagogue. And people who had come to worship God in the sanctuary of a synagogue were hatcheted and hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder.

"I call on the Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms. This violence has no place anywhere... And to have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement of calls for days of rage, of just an irresponsibility, is unacceptable.

"So the Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language, from other people's language, and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path. Our hearts go out to all Israelis for the atrocity of this event and for all the reminders of history that come with it. This is -- simply has no place in human behavior, and we need to hear from leaders who are going to lead -- lead their people to a different place."

Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, is also concentrating sympathy on one side:

"My thoughts are with the families of the worshipers murdered today, including Americans Aryeh Kupinsky, Cary William Levine and Mosheh Twersky."

Even Yaacov Lozowick, the Israeli archivist, offers more context than American officials do:

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"TV news interviews with east-jerusalem Palestinians: attack is revenge 4 murder of bus driver... who committed suicide.

As if Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, the Palestinian bus driver found hanged in a bus on the east side of Jerusalem Sunday night, killed himself. Palestinian accounts state that he was lynched.

Here's some context for Americans. Power journalist/Israel lobbyist Jeffrey Goldberg says the lesson of today's attack is that Palestinians just can't accept the presence of Jews in Israel. Oh, and that Hamas wants to kill all Jews:

"...the events of the past couple of weeks in Jerusalem suggest that a core issue of the conflict remains the unwillingness of many Palestinian Muslims to accept the idea that Jews have rights in their ancestral homeland. And in the case of Hamas and like-minded groups, that Jews have a right to live."

He really ought to say what rights Jews have in the ancestral homeland. All the rights?

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Philip Weiss is a longtime writer and journalist in New York. He co-edits a website on Israel/Palestine,, which he founded in order to foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy. He is currently working on a novel about the US in Australia during WW2.

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