AT LAST Friday\’s State Department press briefing, spokesman John Kirby was asked about the murder of Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old from Sharon, Mass., slain in Israel a day earlier by a Palestinian gunman who opened fire on the van in which he and several other students were riding.
“I don\’t have anything additional to say,” Kirby began, noting vaguely that “obviously, the Secretary [John Kerry] was deeply saddened to hear of the death and we\’re obviously concerned by it.” AP reporter Matthew Lee pressed for clarification.
“You do think that he was killed in what was a terrorist attack, right?”
Kirby shuffled through his briefing papers and said he wasn\’t able “to characterize the circumstances.”
Lee persisted: “But you don\’t think it might have happened in some kind of a robbery gone bad or something, do you?”
Just then the spokesman, with relief, found what he was looking for – a prepared statement formally acknowledging that, yes, Schwartz was “murdered in a terrorist attack.” Kirby expressed condolences to the young man\’s family and said the government was “concerned about the five other American citizens” wounded in the same bloodbath.
Lee: “This seems like an awful lot of Americans to be killed or injured.”
Kirby: “Well, it\’s obviously disconcerting. . . . If you\’re asking me if I could draw a line of causation here, or intent or motive, I can\’t.”
So: Twenty-four hours after an American teen is gunned down during a wave of Palestinian terror attacks, State\’s mouthpiece can\’t bring himself to call it “terrorism” until he locates a piece of paper authorizing use of the T-word. As for all those other wounded Americans, the best he can manage is “disconcerting.” And the possibility that Palestinian terrorists might have an “intent or motive” to target Americans? No comment.