John Kirby Wrecks Arab Reporter For Claiming Israel Is A ‘Terrorist State’
National Security Council Coordinator Admiral John Kirby speaks during the White House Press Briefing at the White House in Washington D.C., United States on June 26, 2023.
Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

John Kirby, Strategic Communications Coordinator for the National Security Council, laid into an Arab reporter who suggested that Israel was a “terrorist state.”

Kirby fielded questions during Wednesday’s White House briefing on the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, and he responded to the reporter’s first question before he appeared to lose patience with the direction he took the line of inquiry.

“So, do you then express that there’s no safe zones in the south and now, Israel is encouraging to move more to the south, so is it a collective punishment and are we going to see more civilians in the south? Are there no safe zones?” the reporter began.

“We don’t want to see — we don’t want to see a single more civilian killed,” Kirby replied. “We don’t want to see a single more civilian injured. We don’t want to see damage to civilian infrastructure like hospitals, and we have made that case and we’ll continue to make that case to our Israeli counterparts.”


“But don’t you see nothing is changing on the ground?” the reporter protested. “What — what’s really happening? So, if we call Hamas a terrorist group, killing civilians as a non-state actor player, isn’t it also Israel acting like a terrorist state, killing humans — civilians, unarmed people, journalists — every day?”

“So, again, we don’t want … civilian casualties,” Kirby repeated, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tried to step in and wrap things up — but Kirby wasn’t finished.

“Sorry, just one more point. It’s okay. I don’t know if it’s going to answer your question,” Kirby said. “Hamas — Hamas deliberately slaughtered and murdered some 1,200 people on the seventh October and it seems like we’re all willing to forget that. Deliberately. It was their intent. And to take hostages. They actually — that was the purpose of the whole thing on the seventh.”


Kirby went on to repeat what he had said earlier about the United States continuing to press Israeli forces to do whatever they could to avoid civilian casualties, but he was absolutely clear when he repeated the fact that Hamas terrorists were the ones who were putting civilians in harm’s way.

“We don’t want to see any more civilians harmed on this, but they have a right and responsibility to defend themselves against that very genocidal threat and it is not the Israeli Defense Forces’ strategy to kill innocent people,” Kirby explained. “It’s happening. I admit that. Each one’s a tragedy, but it’s not like the Israelis are sitting around every morning and saying, ‘Hey, how many more civilians can we kill today? Let’s go bomb a — let’s go bomb a school or a hospital or a residential building and just — and cause civilian casualties.'”

“They’re not doing that. They’re trying to go after Hamas and it’s a very difficult when Hamas — oh, by the way, in addition to deliberately slaughtering people — is deliberately hiding themselves in residential buildings, in hospitals, in tunnels, making it — putting the innocent people of Gaza directly in the crossfire,” Kirby said. “Now, you tell me: Is that right?”

“Now, is that right to kill — let’s — let’s — please — sorry —” the reporter tried to redirect, but Kirby was finished:  “I think we gotta move on.”

“Yeah. We’re going to — nope, we’re going to move on,” Jean-Pierre agreed.

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