VILE: WH Reporters Gang Up to Smear Israel Over World Central Kitchen Tragedy

Sadly, the virulently anti-Israel pockets of the White House press corps took center stage on Tuesday during the first briefing since what appeared to have been a horrible, tragic accident in which Israeli airstrikes killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza.

Naturally, numerous reporters took the opportunity to claim without evidence that the ever-unrepentant Israel purposefully targeted these innocents in defiance of international law.

ABC’s Selina Wang was first to stray into this territory, though she was nowhere near as explicit as the others. 

After first asking Kirby for his “reaction to” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying these kinds of tragedies happen in war (and Kirby saying the U.S. will look forward to a full investigation from Israel), Wang shot back by implicitly opining Netanyahu can’t be trusted and questioned why the U.S. “continue[s] to send aid to Israel without any conditions.”

Kirby hit back at this take by noticing “we’ve had this discussion, you and me, quite a bit” and “you want us to hang some sort of condition over their neck”. He also told her Israel’s “still under a viable threat of Hamas” and the U.S., like Israel, believes another October 7 can’t “happen again”.

To throw a bone to the anti-Israel left, Kirby reiterated “[t]hat doesn’t mean we’re — whistling past graveyard” and “not paying attention to — to the civilian casualties or the civilian suffering” in Gaza.

Unlike Wang, The Hill’s Niall Stanage has been more explicit in his hate of Israel. He’s also from Northern Ireland, so it’s never been all that surprising when he tees off: 

Just wanted to follow up with a question that came from the front row about the conditions of military aid and you said that the questioner wanted you to hang some conditions over their necks, that [of] the Israelis, and your tone suggested you wouldn’t do that. Why not?

Kirby had to have recognized Stanage as a frequent flier as he showed a tinge of attitude as he replied in part “I’ve already answered this question a whole bunch of times”.

Stanage then flew off the handle by arguing without evidence Israel engaged in premeditated murder of the World Central Kitchen workers in “violation of international humanitarian law”. As any sensible person would, Kirby wasn’t having it and slammed Stanage for claiming with “no evidence” this “was a deliberate strike” (click “expand”):

STANAGE: But on the point of conditions, the President, on February 8, issued a memo and it said — you already know this, but just for context — it said that it was the policy of this administration to prevent arms transfers that risk facilitating or otherwise contributing to violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. Is firing a missile of people who live in food and killing them not a violation of international humanitarian law?

KIRBY: Well, the Israelis have already admitted that this was a mistake that they made. They’re doing investigation. They’ll get to the bottom of this. Let’s not get ahead of that. Your — your question presumes, at this very early hour, that it was a deliberate strike, that they knew exactly what they were hitting, that they were hitting aid workers and did it on purpose and there’s no evidence of that. I would also remind you, sir, that we continue to look at incidents as they occur. The State Department has a process in place and, to date as you and I are speaking, they have not found any incidents where the Israelis have violated international humanitarian law. And, lest you think we don’t take it seriously, I can assure you that we do. We look at this in real time.

STANAGE: They have never violated international humanitarian law — ever — in the past five to six months?

KIRBY: I’m telling you the State Department has looked at incidents in the past and has yet to determine that any of those incidents violate international humanitarian law.

Always willing to openly promote Hamas propaganda, an angered Nadia Bilbassy of Saudi-funded Al Arabiya came next and had the gall to condemn Israel for killing Hamas leaders.

She argued that Israeli strikes on Hamas officials in Lebanon and Syria, along with the World Central Kitchen tragedy “debunk[s]” his “theory and defense of Israel that it is difficult for them” to completely avoid civilian casualties “because Hamas embedded with the civilian population where they can go after Hamas leaders in the heart of the civilian population[s]”.

While Jean-Pierre, Jake Sullivan, or Biden might budge, Kirby largely didn’t by saying he’s “talked about this for months now that fighting in an urban, high — highly populated, condensed environment like that’s tough” and the IDF has “successfully taken strikes against Hamas leaders in Gaza”, but an investigation will get to the bottom of what went wrong this time.

Fast-forward to the end of the Kirby block and The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg demanded Kirby refute the assertion that, based on reporting from the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the three strikes that hit the World Central Kitchen convoy were proof the workers “were targeted with the intent of killing everyone in that convoy.”

Kirby remained level-headed as Feinberg twice pushed the claim this was intention and Israel should face “criminal penalties” (click “expand”):

KIRBY: First of all, there’s an investigation going on, so why don’t we let it get done and why don’t we see what they find in terms of the decision making process that led to this terrible outcome? Prime Minister and the IDF have noted that it was their error. If you don’t like the word mistake, their error. They’re investigating it. Let ‘em do that work and let ‘em see what they come up wit and then we’ll go from there.

FEINBERG: Sorry, one — one more, John. Two years ago, the IDF killed an Al Jazeera journalist. They said that that was a —a mistake, that she was wearing a mark press vest. She was shot anyway in that.

KIRBY: They investigated it and they released the findings — their investigation which found that they were at fault. Go on.

FEINBERG: They did, but my — my question, sir, is — in that case, these Israelis did not initiate any criminal proceeding. In this case if it’s found that marked convoy was deliberately targeted, if not with the first shot, but the second two shots, would the U.S. support criminal penalties?

KIRBY: As I said, we would expect that, should there be a need for accountability, that account — accountability be properly put in place for whoever may be responsible for this, but again, that’s going to — a lot of that’s gonna depend on the investigation.

To see the relevant transcript from the April 2 briefing, click here.

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