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December 16, 2014 3:25 pm

Kerry Recycles Discredited Claim That West Bank Mosque Fire Was ‘Indefensible Price Tag Attack’

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Secretary of State John Kerry described the November 12 fire at a West Bank mosque as a settler attack, despite evidence that the blaze was caused by an electrical fault. Photo: Twitter

US Secretary of State John Kerry has described a fire that broke out in a mosque in the West Bank village of Mughayer, near Ramallah, on November 12 as an “indefensible price tag attack” carried out by Jewish settlers, despite the conclusion reached by an Israeli firefighters investigation that the cause of the blaze was an electrical fault.

Kerry was speaking in London, where he told journalists about his efforts to “help solve the challenges of the Middle East and of other places of extremism and of terrorist activity, because we know too well that while it’s difficult work, it’s also the only course that has any possibility of taking us towards stability, towards prosperity, towards a future.”

Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian dimension of the conflict, Kerry stated that the “ongoing unrest of the last weeks has brought new tensions to all sides…Earlier this month, two Israelis were stabbed as they shopped for groceries in the West Bank. Two more were axed to death while praying. And we were all devastated and shocked by the acid attack against an Israeli family last week. Palestinians have mourned the death of a Palestinian official, Ziad Abu Ein, and they have suffered indefensible price tag attacks, so-called price tag attacks, including the recent burning of a mosque near Ramallah.”

Critical scrutiny of his remarks is likely to focus on his incorrect statement that two, rather than five, people were murdered during the axe attack at a Jerusalem synagogue last month,  as well as his claims about the burning of the mosque. As media monitoring group CAMERA has pointed out, several media outlets have already corrected initial reports that arson was behind the mosque fire.

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CAMERA praised both the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Associated Press for correcting the reporting errors after they were contacted. The group added that it was commendable that the AP “published an article yesterday detailing the findings of the Israeli investigations.” The New York Times was also praised for a similar article confirming that arson was not the cause of the fire.

However, Agence France Presse (AFP), the LA Times and news agency Reuters have still not corrected their reports, and CAMERA issued a scathing critique of Reuters correspondent Noah Browning  for a tweet that equated the mosque fire with the Har Nof massacre. Now, it would seem, the US Secretary of State is doing the same.

Kerry’s remarks in London will certainly raise questions over the research abilities of his staff, along with speculation that his office is prepared to believe Palestinian allegations of alleged Israeli crimes without performing any due diligence. As the AP report published yesterday makes clear, “Israeli officials say a blaze last month at a West Bank mosque most likely resulted from an electrical problem, not arson…Fire Services spokesman Asaf Abras said Monday that fire investigators, working with Israeli police and the Shin Bet security service, believe the fire was an accident. Abras says investigators found no combustible materials or graffiti at the site. Such items would point to settler vandalism.”

AP also reported that the village’s mayor, Faraj al-Naasan, disputed the findings, solely on the grounds that “residents have ‘strong reason’ to believe it was a settler attack because they have carried out other violence in the past.” Suspicion, though, is not concrete evidence, and Kerry’s recitation of the Palestinian version of the mosque fire, without even minimally acknowledging that there is a competing Israeli account of this episode, is certain to heighten concerns about the Obama Administration’s bias in its dealings with the Palestinians and Israel.

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  • Richard Dixon

    Any truth in the rumour that Kerry is seeking to work as a news reporter for the BBC?

  • RiverKing

    Kerry and Truth have never been acquainted. He is an embarrassment to American patriots.

  • RiverKing

    Kerry and Truth have never been acquainted. He us an embarrassment to American patriots.

  • Baba

    Kerry is a mouthpiece for Obama. They don’t care whether his information is correct or not. They just want to abuse Israel. Obama hates Israel and will stop at nothing to demean and demoralize the country. His love of Islam is his main offense and his close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood is the guiding light. The man should be tried for treason, if nothing else, for he wants, by his actions and words, to bring the US to its knees and become a Muslim caliphate. The fact that he has never come out against the atrocities committed by Hamas is a telling factor of his mindset.

  • RobiMac

    Kerry, like Obama, is an arse.

  • Just wish Kerry would worry bout his ketchup empire as much as he worries about his luv for his PLO/Hamas position at their alter. With friends like Kerry, better we should watch for our lives.

  • clint hale

    Kerry like Obama are race baiting ignoramuses!

  • I simply cannot say how much patience BBN has shown in those so called peace talks. Without Israel’s democracy in the middle east the rise of Islam will grow even faster. Obama and Kerry clearly support Islam and terrorism to the point of issuing propaganda world wide. It is incredible how the world falls into the trap of Kerry and Obama just stands by or sits on the fence and does nothing. Israel will be pushed into war in the mid east, of course she will win because China and half of Europe are now divided about a two state solution. This concept simply cannot work the evidence is abundant against this idea. Israel has kids training in terrorist camps already. Within ten years the situation will be worse than it is already. Why doesn’t the US electorate do something now regarding the current administration?

  • Lynne T

    Did Kerry really bungle even the number of victims in the synagogue massacre?

    Completely useless hair do that walks like a patrician man.

  • DockyWocky

    Don’t confuse the issue with the truth.

    Keep it simple, stupid.

  • Robert Weintraub

    Kerry as well as Obama have will both be of little consequence after January 1st. (Only two weeks away.) On domestic issues Obama has already run up the white flag after agreeing with Republicans on a budget sharply criticized by Sen. Warren. She will be snapping at his heels until he leaves office.

    Yes Obama and Kerry will still give Israel, especially the current government, a hard time but the fire is gone.

    Obama must be thinking about his legacy. Like a number of ex-presidents he may want to create a “library” for himself. Why antagonize his Jewish supporters a number of whom have felt slighted by his pro Arab stance?

  • I am very grateful for your updates!
    Kerry’s remarks were absolutely disgusting – how can a simple reader make a loud noise about this?

  • Emmett

    Kerry is a moron, always has been. Just ban him from Israeli soil & ignore him and his handler.

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    The Obama administration is even more deluded than the EU. Even more deluded than the PLO. This is not an accident or a misstatement and people need to stop defending it as such.

  • Naive, political hack a Obama Muslim talking head!
    As I have stated before, ” you can’t fix stupid” !
    Believe in Isreal, love our “Homeland” love our neighbors !
    In this we will be strong, G_d will be on the side of the righteous !
    I pray that the U.S. Since the change in the political makeup of the Congress and Senate, can block this muslim president from more damage that he can wreck upon Isreal ove the next 23 months !
    How he was even elected, was a Shanda, his revered advisors are Muslims, even as far as putting a muslim in a high position in Homeland security !!
    So is he going to hand them next the black box with nuclear codes !!
    Shalom to Isreal and it’s people !

  • Leon

    Kerry is really anti Israel in all of his public opinions and the way he views reported media without establishing data from all sides.

  • What can you expect from the most anti semitic US government,full of skull and bones evil Yale U.fraternity and I BELIEVE A CLOSET muslim Black president???????

  • Kerry’s research staff,is definitely not incompetent,just bias and anti Israel.

  • His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh once famously referred to the British Newspaper, The Daily Express, as “a bloody awful newspaper”. One of many Royal witticisms, this has never been forgotten.

    To be included also, from your report above, might also be: the LA Times and media outlets Agence Presse (AP) and Reuters.

    Where it suits them – which is most of the time – they operate The Law of (so-called) Moral Equivalence, rarely failing to portray the Jewish state in the worst possible light and having then to be dragged screaming into any form of retraction.

    Such behaviour is seriously unprofessional. One day, they will be found out. When this happens, those that trusted them will be very unforgiving.

  • BonniePrinceCharlie

    But one expects nothing more of Kerry. The man is a fool but sadly for Israel, America and the rest of the free world, a dangerous one.

  • Kerry knows not only what did happen, he also know what will happen! He knows everything! He gets rapports every day on what man should do, for him to travel round the world as a tourist and then he will say; I have been traveling a lot! The problem is not the problem between Israel and the Palestinian people! The real problem is a many years planning politic bias by those who stand hiding behind the Palestinian, shaping their mind to nothingness for Kerry to get the Nobel Piss Prize! We have seen what do happen in Pakistan in present time. The Norwegian Nobel Piss Prize 2014 to a Pakistani young women who did participate in a brainwash Nobel nigh party blowing her mind ones more interfering in Pakistan countries intern affairs driving countries into Chaotic murderous events! Maybe Ms. Kerry knew about what will happen in Pakistan! Ask him!

  • Jonah

    As if anyone has noted it is a tsunami of bias from the White House it’s not just a ripple in the pond. You would think after the last elections the executive branch could change course and become more sensible in its policy’s towards Israel but it seems it will tenaciously hold on to its extreme bias like a snapping turtle. How can Kerry not change course when his boss has lost the confidence and credibility of the voting American public. It’s as if they have a mental disorder. Kerry is nothing but a court jester for a failed Obama administration. Desperate people do desperate things, it seems their only alternative to smokescreen his failed policys may be the catalyst for a war with Russia. You see what sanctions did with Japan it got us Pearl Harbor. Sanctions with Russia could lead to devastating consequences when a country has open borders. But it is easier to suffer the embarrassment of failed policys, rather than admitting you are wrong…by allowing america to come under attack by terrorists who can shut down our vital infrastructure with weaponized anthrax and attacks on our nuclear generating plants. If you want america destroyed why not let Islam and Russia do it you then have someone to blame it on. Russia has been developing its nuclear offensive capabilities while American policy has been focused on gay marriage.

  • countless other the price tag attacks have occurred which is the big picture, not whether that one incident is disputed by suggestions of likelihoods and possibilities of a single incident

    Secondly, they werent blaming israel or even the netanyahu administration- instead everyone knows the blame is on Jewish terrorists from the west bank.
    why not report in a balanced way? Why is your self esteem so poor that you feel you need to cover up the rest of the story ? you have such poor self esteem that you dont believe israel’s existence can be justified without ignoring the rest of the story

  • Susie Dym, spokesperson, Mattot Arim

    More efforts should be made to insist that news sources correct baseless stories re Israelis in Judea and Samaria. The story about purportedly throwing acid on soldiers still appears in some sources despite having been reliably discredited at the behest of our organization (we thank Tova Lazaroff of the Jerusalem Post for doing the journalistic investigation). Please contact mattot.arim@gmail.com if you see further instances of the above.

  • E benAbuya

    Yo, John – No accelerant in mosque fire. Not arson. Just another badly maintained electric heater left unattended.

  • It is no secret that Muslim Obama**Anti Christ( and his terror supportive henchmen takes sides with Islam and it,s terror agenda.

  • harri

    let him show his colors; show his agenda; let his overlords and paymasters identify themselves in the clear light of day and be held accountable

  • Jerry Hecht

    The man is a fool, he was a fool 40 years ago and continues to be a fool.

  • NCS

    Righteous journalist must hold Kerry accountable for every word he utters that is incorrect.

  • Efram

    Which goes to show why his efforts are 100% waste. In the Israel hating community, facts are totally irrelevant. Hitting on Israel is the one, and only, priority. Kerry and his malevolent boss hate Israel and love radical Islam. What else is there to say about any of Kerry’s bigoted statements?

  • KERRY LIAR, AND A USUFUL IDIOT TO BOOT.

  • Antisemites like Kerry do not do research. They wallow in their antisemitism.

  • Michael Fox

    Amazing.
    US Secretary of State John Kerry as he aimlessly wanders the murky forest of international affairs, has the uncanny ability to continuously locate and squarely lodge his foot into the political excrement fertilizing a dysfunctional Europe and the psychopathic Muslim middle east. .
    In the recent mid term elections, the American voter has with a bold explanation point, rejected the policies of the Obama administration and his clueless Court Jester, John Kerry.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Kerry is an incredibly stupid ignoramus – a born loser.

    His boss, Obama is not any better.

    This is what Prime Minister Netanyahu has to tolerate when dealing with America.

  • barry panensky

    No no no 2 state solution.
    Barry

  • David Levy

    Just two more lies peddled by the “Leaders of the Free World”. Some leaders!

  • barry panensky

    Kerry is as dumb as carter when it comes to the middle east.
    Barry

  • Pi

    Mr Kerry, you’ve been driving the peace bus for a long while. On your current “whirlwind tour” (4 out of 5 stories describe it so) you’ve really been putting the pedal to the metal. So, it’s understandable if you’re getting a little fuzzy on the facts. But if that’s the case, you should probably pull over and let someone else drive.

  • Kenneth D Hegler

    Seems like Kerry and his minions (!) suffer from a severe case of “foot in mouth” disease. Would that he, they, do some research before they pontificate(!)and lay the blame on the Israelis. Sadly, Democrats and Anti-Semites seem cut from the same cloth. Add to that, both Fatah and Hamas.

  • art

    Done with malice aforethought. The Obama administration is doing all it can to foster others to be anti Israel. Remember Obama stated that he supported the Saudi plan, 67 borders with adjustments, division of Jerusalem, reparations and the so called right of return.

  • Kerry is the worst diplomat and politician in the recent years in the USA. It was so wise that he was fired from the talks about Ukraine where he “believed” that the “events in Ukraine wouldn’t be “a battleground between West and East”. Unfortunately, he was not fired at all from his diplomatic position in Obama administration, and sneaked o the Middle East, where he did and does the same or even more stupid and unreasonable conclusion than in Ukraine. Kerry must go. Definitely!

  • David Goshen

    If I am not mistaken the fire in the Mosque started on the 2nd floor which even to the uninformed should indicate doubts about an arson attempt.
    It is to be regretted that the United States Secretary of State Kerry should suffer from such inefficient staff feeding him with inacurate information when he is in such a key function in searching for peace process renewal.
    Kerry is so involved in trying to restart the peace process
    but he does not understand that
    A.Hamas is not prepared to come to peace with Abu Mazem and thus allow himn to return to be completely responsible for Gaza ,coperate with him him in supervising the rebuilding of
    Gaza anfd stop terror in Israel controlled areas solely intended to destabalise Abu Mazems rule of the PA
    B.Abu Mazem needs to prove that he has full control over Gaza to get UN recognition of State of Palestine.Surly Abu Mazem should cut off from Gaza ,negotiate with Israel a peace ,remove from his fears that Hamas will win the
    election in Yehuda & Shomron,and give Israel a chance to arrive at an agreement .Iran will not allow Abu Mazem to co
    operate with the peace process.

  • Linda Rivera

    God-hater, despicable liar John Kerry, is deliberately stirring up Jew-hate. Even spewing forth his venom, hate and lies about Jews in London. Go home Kerry. London doesn’t want your Jew-hate.

    ‘Reuters correspondent Noah Browning equated the mosque fire with the Har Nof massacre. The US Secretary of State is doing the same.’ Only the most profoundly evil, satanic people would equate a mosque fire with a barbaric massacre perpetrated on innocents by inhuman savages.

  • Kerry is Racist and Anit Semite.

  • Fred

    Kerry ( nee Chamberlain )should be viewed as treacherous.
    Who needs evidence when lies are provided as evidence. In his anti Jewish, anti Israel stances it would not mater in the least.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    Kerry was, is, and always will be a horse’s a**.

  • Steve Loeb

    Kerry’s problem is either he believes everything the Muslims tell him which means there are never “accidents” – its ALWAYS the fault of Israel and as evidence listen to what the “eyewitnesses” say, or Kerry believes everyone’s is just stupid – or Kerry uses every opportunity to diminish Israel in the hopes of forcing Bibi to tow the Obama line.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    John Kerry is NOT QUALIFIED to beSecretary of State and should be bumped from any service to the US. He is a coward and a hazard to peace and settlement of issues in the middle east. He is not too good in other areas as well.

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