In an interview with Vox’s Matthew Yglesias, the president yesterday suggested the January attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris was in fact jihadists “randomly [shooting] a bunch of folks in a deli.” Today, both the State Department and White House spokespersons again denied the attack was aimed at Jews. Here is State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki:
And here is the exchange between White House press secretary Josh Earnest and ABC’s Jonathan Karl:
The denial of what was clearly a specific targeted attack on the Jewish community — one of many in an pattern in Europe over the last couple of years — is inexplicable and stomach-turning. It suggests the White House is devoted to false narratives, unable to recognize error or that the president is deaf to the dangers that Jews face worldwide. Israel is the haven for Jews who are persecuted in their own countries, and it is hard to miss the connection between the White House’s denial of anti-Jewish sentiment and his acrimonious relationship with the prime minister of Israel. When compounded with his refusal to acknowledge that our enemy is Islamic jihad, one is left with the horrid sensation he is too arrogant to admit error, horribly ignorant about the world or indifferent to the plight of world Jewry — or maybe all three. I assume this ghastly episode will be walked back, but the peek behind the curtain cannot be forgotten.
UPDATE (4:15 P.M.): As others have pointed out, the president’s denial is all the more outrageous given that the jihadist explained his own motives. As I anticipated, a few minutes ago Jen Psaki tweeted: “We have always been clear that the attack on the kosher grocery store was an anti-Semitic attack.” Except today. No word so far from the White House.