“Deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors,” he wrote. “Praying for the families as they mourn the loss of loved ones, or tend to those injured.”
On Monday, Israeli forces struck targets in Jenin after a deadly gun battle erupted during an IDF counter-terror raid in the city. Five Palestinian gunmen were killed, and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded.
“Unfortunate statement from Israel’s best friend and ally. It borders on moral equivalency!” tweeted Abraham Foxman, the former head of the Anti-Defamation League.
Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, also responded on Twitter. “Mr. Ambassador, might you clarify your statement? Are you referring to today’s massacre of four Israelis, by Palestinian terrorists in Eli? Or that Israel was forced to defend its citizens from terrorists in Jenin yesterday?” he wrote. “I sincerely hope you are not implying moral equivalence.”
Rabbi Elchanan Poupko, who teaches at a New York Jewish day school, wrote that the ambassador’s statement was very poorly worded. “Palestinians massacred four Israelis and injured eight. Please don’t All-Lives-Matter it.”
“Are you equating Israeli terror victims to terrorists themselves who were killed?” added Aaron Goren, a CAMERA on Campus advisor.
“As a U.S. citizen, I am dismayed at the lumping together of terror victims and those killed in a terrorist firefight with the IDF days earlier,” another Twitter user posted. “Good to know not much has changed in the State Department.”
One thing did change. Nearly an hour after Nides posted the first tweet, he tweeted another statement. “I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today—my heart is with their grieving family members,” he wrote.
“This is the tweet you should have wrote in the first instance. Not the deplorable attempt at moral equivalence you did!” Ostrovsky wrote. Foxman added, “Thank you Mr. Ambassador for your recent condemnation of the murder of innocent Israelis.”
More than two hours before Nides posted his first message, Neil Wigan, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Israel, tweeted: “I am horrified by the attack today near Eli that killed four Israelis. Such terrorism has no justification. My deepest condolences to the families of those killed.”