Tags: Al-Qaida | Barack Obama | Emerging Threats | paris | terror | kosher | deli

Obama Blasted for Saying Paris Deli Attack Didn't Target Jews

By    |   Wednesday, 11 February 2015 07:39 AM

The White House is coming under heavy criticism for comments made by the president and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest that appeared to suggest that they do not believe the terrorist attack in Paris was specifically aimed at Jews, Politico reported.

In a heated exchange Tuesday, ABC's Jon Karl pressed Earnest about President Barack Obama's description of the events. Obama had said in a Vox interview published Monday, "It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you've got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris," the president said.

Karl said to Earnest, "This was not a random shooting of a 'bunch of folks.' Does the president have any doubt that those terrorists attacked that deli because there would be Jews in that deli?"

Earnest appeared to indicate that the White House does not believe that religion was the driving motivation for the location of the hostage incident.

"The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible, tragic incident were killed, not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be," Earnest said.

When pressed, he pushed back again.

"These individuals were not targeted by name. This is the point," Earnest said, adding, "There were people other than Jews who were in that deli."

A Republican leadership aide hammered Earnest's comments.

"Refusing to admit that the kosher deli in Paris was specifically targeted because it is a gathering place for Jews is just one reason why many people don't trust the Obama administration when it comes to defending Israel," the aide told Politico.

Fox's Dana Perino also blasted the president, saying she is "nearly unable to breathe" since she heard Earnest's comments.

"I actually think that the president owes the Jews of Europe an apology," Perino said. "They deserve better from the President of the United States. Anti-Semitism is on the rise, and somebody must stick up for them."

But after the exchange, Earnest took to Twitter to reaffirm that the White House believes the attack was targeted at the Jewish community.

"Our view has not changed. Terror attack at Paris kosher market was motivated by anti-Semitism. POTUS didn't intend to suggest otherwise," Earnest tweeted.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, both the White House and French President Francois Hollande labeled the attack as anti-Semitic, Politico said.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on Jan. 13 that the attack was a "violent assault on the Jewish community," and that it "was the latest in a series of troubling incidents in Europe and around the world that reflect a rising tide of anti-Semitism."

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The White House is coming under heavy criticism for comments made by the president and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest that appeared to suggest that they do not believe the terrorist attack on a kosher deli in Paris was specifically aimed at Jews, Politico reported.
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2015-39-11
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 07:39 AM
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