JTA — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Thursday issued a statement condemning the killing of Arab teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir, eight days after it took place.
While numerous Jewish organizations had issued statements condemning the murder, the ZOA’s national president, Morton Klein, told JTA earlier this week that his organization would not comment on the killing until an indictment made clear that the murder was political in nature.
But in the statement issued today, Klein says, “This shocking crime has disgusted Israeli society and attracted unequivocal condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down. The crime and its perpetrators have been rightly and strongly condemned by the Israeli government and across the Israeli political spectrum.”
The statement also contrasts the Israeli response to Khdeir’s murder with the Palestinian response to terrorism against Israelis, including the murder of three kidnapped Jewish teenagers.
Here is the full statement:
NEW YORK, July 10 — The ZOA condemns in the strongest terms the vicious murder by burning alive of a 16-year old Arab boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The boy was murdered by what appears to have been a violent underworld group of Jewish Israelis following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths — Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 — by the Hamas terrorist group, now part of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Palestinian Authority (PA) regime.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “This shocking crime has disgusted Israeli society and attracted unequivocal condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down. The crime and its perpetrators have been rightly and strongly condemned by the Israeli government and across the Israeli political spectrum.”
“The ZOA commends the Israeli police in quickly arresting the likely suspects, who appear to have been part of a group with a record of murderous violence.
“Unlike the situation in the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israelis and their government, along with Jews around the world, do not equivocate when it comes to terrorism. The Israeli government, the Knesset, the media and Israelis from all walks of life unambiguously condemn terrorist acts.
“Contrast this, to the mother of Amar Abu-Eisha, one of the Hamas terrorists arrested over the abduction and murder of the three Jewish teenagers, who said that, if her son was involved, ‘I’ll be proud of him till my final day. I raised my children on the knees of the (Islamic) religion, they are religious guys, honest and clean-handed, and their goal is to bring the victory of Islam.’
“Contrast this, too, to the general situation within the PA, where terrorism is institutionally encouraged and terrorists glorified in the PA-controlled mosques, schools, media and youth movements — and in which the murderers of the three Israeli teenagers are still at large.
“Indeed, Mahmoud Abbas has played a major role in laying the foundations for acts of terrorism, like the kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of three Israeli teenagers. In 2011, Abbas actually publicly said, “Hamas kidnapped a soldier [Gilad Shalit] and managed to keep him for five years — that’s a good thing.”
“Small wonder that a June 2011 Palestinian Center for Public Opinion found that a staggering 62% of Palestinians support a policy of kidnapping Israeli soldiers and that a September 2013 Pew survey found that a large majority — 62% — of Palestinians justify the use of suicide terrorism.”