“Yeah, but if a guy goes into a kosher market and starts shooting it up, you don’t – he’s not looking for Buddhists is he?” Matt Lee of the Associated press is one of my favorite reporters, he always asks the questions Jen Psaki the State Department Spox hates answering, and he forces her to answer even if she doesn’t want to answer. Today Lee backed Psaki into a corner about the President’s refusal to say the Kosher Supermarket in Paris was targeted because it was filled with Jews.
Lee: Yesterday, the President at his news conference raised some eyebrows by saying that the victims of the shooting in Paris at the kosher deli were random. Your colleague at the White House has apparently said something similar today. Is that… really… Does the administration really believe that the victims of this attack were not singled out because they were of a particular faith?
Psaki: Well, as you know, I believe if I remember the victims specifically there were not all victims of one background or one nationality so I think what they mean by that is, I don’t know that they spoke to the targeting of the grocery store or that specifically but the individuals who were impacted.
Lee: I mean, right but when the Secretary went and paid respects to it he was with a member of the Jewish community there.
Psaki: Naturally, given that is the grocery store is one that…
Lee: Well don’t you think that the target, even if all, even if the victims came from different backgrounds or different religions, different nationalities, the store itself was the target. Was it not?
Psaki: But that’s different than the individuals being – I don’t have any more to really…
Lee: Does the administration believe this was an anti-Jewish or an attack on the Jewish community in Paris?
Psaki: I don’t think we’re going to speak on behalf of French authorities and what they believe was the situation at play here.
Lee: Yeah, but if a guy goes into a kosher market and starts shooting it up, you don’t – he’s not looking for Buddhists is he?
Psaki: Well again, Matt, I think it’s relevant that obviously the individuals in there who were shopping and working at the store….
Lee: Who does the administration expect shops at a kosher deli? I mean I might but you know… an attacker going into a store that is clearly identified as being one of, as identified with one specific faith, I’m not sure I can understand how it is that you can’t say this was a targeted attack.
Psaki: I just don’t have more for you, Matt. It’s an issue for the French government to address.
(video of exchange is below)
An interesting thought about this controversy. Perhaps its tied to the administration’s sucking up to Iran. The Obama administration’s position is that they’re going to secure a reasonable deal with the Iranians. The Israeli position is that the White House has a warped definition of ‘reasonable,’ inasmuch as the President and his advisors underestimate the unique threat posed by genocidal anti-Semitism. The fundamental difference goes far beyond the increasingly tangled debate over whether proper diplomatic protocol was followed in arranging Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
It’s easy to see how today’s exchanges may be linked to the Iranian debate. The administration was willing to acknowledge the shooting was driven by anti-Semitism when it happened in January and now they seem to have shifted. The shift is a bit weird shift especially when you consider the timing.
Like Josh Earnest before her, after getting criticized and mocked for her answer..Jen Psaki stepped back from her stupidity.
We have always been clear that the attack on the kosher grocery store was an anti-semitic attack that took the lives of innocent people.
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) February 10, 2015
Actually if they were clear that the attack was anti-Semitic Matt Lee wouldn’t have asked about Buddhists .
Watch the video of the exchange below: