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March 25, 2015 4:37 pm

AP Reporter Grills Psaki on Differing Approaches to Netanyahu, Khamenei (VIDEO)

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AP reporter Matt Lee grilled Jen Psaki for maintaining a harsher tone for Netanyahu than with Khamanei. Photo: Screenshot.

A reporter for the Associated Press questioned State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Tuesday about the harsh tone the administration has taken towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while letting Iran’s leader “slide” for chanting “death to America” last week.

“When the Supreme Leader of Iran [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] is continuing – in the middle of these negotiations is continuing to make statements like ‘death to America,’ how is that not problematic for you?” AP reporter Matt Lee asked at the State Department’s daily briefing. “How is that not something – why are you just willing to let that – let it slide, basically, and you are holding the prime minister of Israel to comments that he made and has since changed?”

Psaki replied saying, “I think we’d hardly put the Supreme Leader and the leadership of Israel in the same category.” She added that Israel is a “strategic” and “security” partner of the US before Lee cut her off asking, “the Iranians can be trusted and the Israelis can’t? Is that what you mean?”

Psaki rejected Lee’s assertion and said America’s relationship with the Jewish state is “one that we’re committed to.” However, she added that White House believes it can’t “just forget” what Netanyahu says “when it’s conflicting with past precedent and past policy for some time.”

“The Secretary [of State, John Kerry] has been in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu. We remain committed to our relationship,” she said. “Remember, we’re not evaluating our relationship with Israel. We’re evaluating how to proceed as it relates to pursuing a two-state solution.”

The controversial comments in question were made by Netanyahu a day before the March 17 Israeli general election when he said that the current security climate was not right for the establishment of a Palestinian state. After Netanyahu’s successful reelection he clarified that he hasn’t changed his position in support of negotiating for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, a stance he adopted in a 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University. In an interview with NBC News following the election, he called for a “sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”

Watch AP reporter Matt Lee grill State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki in the video below:

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  • Paul

    The Obama administration is very problematic for Israel, and appears to be weak, undecisive and uninformed when it comes to foreign policy.
    Any American administration would expect far better behaviour from an ally who it supports and identifies with, than from a belligerent, hostile enemy it is trying to negotiate with. So the spokeswoman’s answer was to the point.
    Although Bibi and Khumenei differ in their relationship to the USA,they appear to share a common trait: they say different things to their own people, and to foreigners. Khamenei negotiates with the powers but at home calls for death to America. And Bibi announces to the world that he supports the 2-state solution but for his own voters consumption, during elections, he promises this will not happen under his adminstration.
    This is not just an utterance. It was a pronouncement of policy that is central to the entire middle east policy. It was issued as an election stunt and then retracted the day after elections – which paint Bibi as a liar and a cynical manipulator of his voters and of his best ally. When is Bibi to be believed, when he is for or against ? why did bibi make the statement ? His greates political rival was right-wing Bennet, whose voting power had approached Bibi’s, and who represented a real threat to Bibi over leadership of the Nationalist right wing. Bennet was the party stating outright that they were AGAINST the 2-state solution. Bibi stated He was also against this, the day before elections, and as a result, voters deserted Bennet and flocvked to Bibi. So Bibi pulled of a brilliant election stunt that sucked away many votes from his political rival – at the cost of serious damage to Israel’s international political status and to Bibi’s credibility. Who is he lying to ? The voters he won over by a false statement of policy intention ? Or is he lying now when he says he didn’t mean it ?

  • bissel essen

    Ms.Psaki,The U.S. is telling Israel that they better commit suicide, or else the Saudis won’t be happy? Is that it? Why else jump on Israel’s case when an Israeli politician and leader makes a statement that actually is true, whether you like it or not.
    let’s see now. Hundreds of millions have been thrown at the Palestinians on the West Bank, and very little of it seems to have been used to help the people. Note like Arafat who had huge bank accounts in Europe,their are many wealthy Palestinian Officials, while the people’s needs are far from met.
    But Israel is at fault
    What has the U.S. done to help the Palestinians? We bully Israel threatening them, that they better form a two state solution.
    The Palestinians only want a one state solution.They preach hatred in their grammar school texts, on TV, in their newspapers. They use Israeli Hospitals, get water from Israel, buy electricity for which they owe millions. In summation, they benefit greatly from the State they hate.They have not made one concession to Israel, But Israel is called upon to offer all kinds of concessions.
    The occupiers of the West Bank are the Palestinians, who have never had a government before Arafat, and who were never called Palestinians before Arafat, who himself came from Egypt.

  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    good questions, Matt Lee. Poor answers, blushing Jen Psaki

  • Hizkiya Gerez

    Do not forget that Israel,the only democratic state in the Middle-east needs the support of the USA and Eu, vice verso the USA and Eu need Israel.
    When was a Palestine state and a Palestine people,what was its language, where was its capital,its money?
    There are so many real stateless peoples that can be counted by dozens,that have their own language and culture,and the USA and EU have not the courage and they do not dare to interfere intheir favor..
    They find Israel a small nation,and they don’t mind to destroy it.
    The Jewish State will not be anymore destroyed.
    Hitler tried to succeed, but it was it was in Europe that has also indirectly participated.
    Israel will survive!!!

  • Obama is a closet MUSLIM !
    He acts like a petulant child, if things do not go his way he has a childish fit !
    This man is not, never was, and never will be “Presidenial
    Too many huge unexplained gaps in his history.
    Who is he really ? What agenda does he have, he has appointed more muslims to key posts in the U.S. than any previous President, this can be verified, just google it .
    Is what he wants for our country peace ? Does he want peace for Isreal ?
    Or is his “Iman” advising him what Islam wants !
    Jews everywhere should take umbrage at his treatment of Israel’s Prime Minister, for this not only is contempt for Israel, it is contempt for every Jew !

  • Way to go Matt Lee, very good points, but as we know this has been going on for a long time. Every time Israel does the slightest error they are being scolded were as any Arab wrong doing it is completely ignored. Thousand of rockets were fired on Israel and not one word from the world, Israel responses to the shelling and hell brake’s loose, and the world is all over it.
    Obama and the EU wants to force Israel to a two state region, yet there is no one credible in the region for Israel to sit down with ans secure a peace.

  • Her boss reveres a sociopath named Muhammad who personally decapitated 600-900 unarmed Jews. Her boss reveres anyone who reveres the sociopath.

  • Fred

    Oh, for Professional Liars, Psaki ‘s poker face tells it all. Semantics at work.

  • steven L

    In Obama mindset, the US has been too nice to Israel and too tough on Iran!!! Never mind that the former is a democracy and the latter is the leader of international terrorism.

  • Jeff Kane

    Psaki says “…we’re not evaluating our relationship with Israel. We’re evaluating how to proceed as it relates to pursuing a two-state solution….”? She is so dumb that she can’t even formulate a convincing lie. The issue of a “two state solution” is central to Israel’s existence and hence, central to its relationship with any other nation. This is equivalent to saying about South Korea that we’re evaluating whether it should remain independent of North Korea, but that doesn’t mean we’re evaluating our relationship with it. This fluff-brain always has the Dan Quail “deer in the headlights” look that betrays when a person in a job way out of his/her league.

  • Rochelle Levy

    Why isn’t this President held to the same standard he is holding the Prime Minister of a free and democratic Country and the only true ally of the US. Why isn’t Obama called before the Senate, the Press someplace, someone for all the things he said and never followed through on. Why is he being protected?

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    With Obam still in the White House for almost two years to gom let the good Lord help America. It is in desperate need.

  • Feeble response justifying a presidential hysterical reaction to an election ploy by a powerful critic of Israel searching for reasons to damn its Prime Minister and portray the electorate as unworthy of American support.