Bill Kristol: WH Makes Irresponsible Comments on Middle East

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 07:00 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The media's early pronouncement that a Palestinian boy's death was in retaliation for the murders of three Israeli teenagers — as well as the Obama administration's comments about it — were completely irresponsible, says Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard.

"One expects [the media] to be somewhat irresponsible . . . There's media bias here, I'm sure,'' Kristol told "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.

"[But] The secretary of state, the president of the United States jumping into this, assuming that something happened when it's not clear what happened . . . I'm just amazed by it.''

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Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the killing, saying, "Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation."

"We look to both the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice. The world has too often learned the hard way that violence only leads to more violence, and at this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution," Kerry said.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take "all necessary steps to prevent an atmosphere of revenge and retribution."

"I was in government for seven years and the White House for four years. One thing I was taught is you're the spokesman for the United States government at a senior level, you are extremely careful about something like this," Kristol said.

"This is an incendiary situation obviously in Israel itself, in the territories, you are incredibly careful . . . That's it, period. You don't assume that this was a revenge killing unless we know more than we seem to know, which I don't think we do.''

Kristol, an ABC News political analyst, says the media are often fooled into making outrageous pronouncements that have no basis in fact.

"The media is easily fooled, and wants to be fooled in some cases. Obviously, a lot of people have documented the bias of a lot of the Western media in Israel and in covering Israel,'' he said.

Kristol said he was stunned by the Quinnipiac University poll that ranks President Barack Obama as the worst president since World War II.

"I was really struck by it. For Obama to be ranked first, then Bush — [and] he's a sitting U.S. president — is pretty striking,'' he said.

"It does suggest that voters who were very disappointed with George W. Bush and obviously partly elected Barack Obama as a repudiation of Bush and Barack Obama still benefited in 2012 by being able to run against a memory —  it may be an unfair memory —  but a memory of George W. Bush.

"It means that Barack Obama's policies have been so mugged by reality, both in foreign policy and greater exposure of what he's trying to do at home, whether it's Obamacare, infringements on religious freedom and so forth, that people decided that he's worse.''

He said the poll also gives Republicans a chance to make major strides.

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