Newly Appointed Netanyahu Spokesperson’s First Twitter Offensive Launched Against Iran’s Foreign Minister
Following the publication Wednesday of an op-ed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in The Washington Post, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly appointed foreign media spokesperson took to social media to launch a serious humor-laden offensive.
David Keyes initiated his role by responding harshly to Zarif’s piece, titled “Why Iran is building up its defenses,” an explanation of the Islamic Republic’s behavior since reaching the nuclear deal with world powers in July.
“Read Iran’s foreign minister @JZarif in The Washington Post. I guess Iranian April Fools’ Day is three weeks later,” tweeted Keyes, former executive director of the organization Advancing Human Rights and co-founder of CyberDissidents.org.
“I enjoyed @JZarif’s Washington Post op-ed. I enjoyed it even more when Iran freed the Washington Post journalist held hostage for 1.5 years,” Keyes wrote, referring to journalist Jason Rezaian, released in January after spending nearly 18 months in an Iranian prison.
“Foreign Minister @JZarif cites the Holocaust while Iran denies the Holocaust while Supreme Leader threatens a new Holocaust. #IranIrony,” he continued, this time mocking Zarif for applying the term “never again” to Iran’s war with Iraq and Western assistance to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. “Iran’s Foreign Minister @JZarif says ‘never again’ while his regime literally calls to annihilate Israel. Sounds more like ‘again,'” Keyes tweeted. (As The Algemeiner reported on Thursday, former national director of the human rights organization the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman also expressed outrage at Zarif’s use of the phrase “never again,” calling it “offensive, obnoxious, provocative and insulting.”)
“FM @JZarif cites a ‘safe and healthy environment for [Iran’s] citizens.’ Wish the gays and bloggers Iran executed could have heard that one,” Keyes wrote, quoting Zarif’s assertion that: “Iran is blessed. At a time when bombs go off in public places throughout the Middle East and war is at our doorstep, we have a stable, safe and healthy environment for our citizens and for those visiting and doing business with us. This is due to both the vigilance of our government and the character of our people. We take pride in using our resources for universal health care and education and advanced science and technology rather than wasteful military spending.”
Keyes also tweeted: “FM @JZarif decries ‘scare-mongering about Iran.’ Know what might help? Stop emblazoning Iran’s missiles with ‘Israel must be wiped out.’” This was a reference to Iran’s March 9 test-firing of two ballistic missiles, one of which called for Israel’s destruction in Hebrew.
Finally, as if in conclusion, Keyes wrote:
Retweet if you’re tired of hearing theocratic, terrorist-sponsoring, tyrannical regimes, like Iran, talk about “peace.”
— David Keyes (@DavidKeyesPMO) April 21, 2016
This is not the first time that Keyes has confronted Zarif. In October 2013, he had an exchange with the Iranian foreign minister and chief nuclear-deal negotiator in Vienna, which was documented by CBS.
Keyes approached Zarif and asked him if he thought it was ironic that he frequently uploaded posts to Facebook while his regime banned the use of the social media outlet for the general public.
“That’s life,” Zarif replied, laughing.
Keys didn’t stop there, challenging Zarif on when imprisoned civil rights activist Majid Tavakoli would be released. “I don’t know him,” Zarif answered, sparking subsequent expressions of outrage against Zarif on his Facebook page. Shortly thereafter, Tavakoli was freed.
“I’m totally overjoyed,” Keyes told CBSNews.com at the time. “(Tavakoli) symbolizes a lot of other people in Iran.”