Video: Journalist's jab on US meddling in other countries, Biden official laughs

video: journalist's jab on us meddling in other countries, biden official laughs

Video: Journalist’s jab on US meddling in other countries, Biden official laughs

Laughter erupted in the US State Department media briefing room on Monday after a journalist’s well-timed jab about America’s meddling in other countries left a senior Biden administration official struggling for a comeback.

Late political scientist Robert Jervis had famously said ‘Intervention is as American as apple pie’, and Associated Press diplomatic writer Matt Lee appeared to agree with the notion, as exhibited by his pithy aside during State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller’s press briefing.

It happened when Assal Rad, a research director in the National Iranian American Council, asked Miller about US having leverage over Israel and influencing the decisions it takes in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“People often tend to forget that Israel, like other countries in the region, is a sovereign country that makes its own decisions,” Miller said in response to Rad’s question.

“The United States does not dictate to Israel what it must do, just as we don’t dictate to any other country what it must do,” he continued, before being interrupted by Lee.

“Unless we invade them,” Lee quipped.

As those in the room burst into laughs, Miller, after attempting to keep a straight face, also chuckled. Through the mirth, the senior US official responded with a “good one, Matt”.

When Lee tried to double down on his comment, Miller said, “Come on, no, come on! Stand-up hour in the briefing room.”

After gathering his thoughts, the State Department spokesperson said, “We present what we believe are the best proposals to achieve peace and security. And we will continue to do that. But Israel must make its own decisions.”

“Just as any other independent, sovereign country makes its own decisions,” Miller added for good measure.

The video of the exchange was shared by Assal Rad on her X handle. Her question to Miller came against the backdrop of growing frustration in the Biden administration over how Israel is handling its war against Hamas in Gaza amid mounting civilian casualties and little to no headway in brokering a ceasefire and hostage release.

Reports suggest that US President Joe Biden referred disparagingly to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in private, and also criticised his approach to the war publicly. Among analysts, the opinion is that despite having significant influence over Israel, the Biden administration hasn’t used it effectively.

Some in Congress, as well as US allies, are now calling for conditions to be placed on Washington’s aid to Israel as leverage to convince the Benjamin Netanyahu government to heed long-standing calls to scale back its military assault in Gaza.

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