NEW YORK (JTA) — Malcolm Hoenlein, speaking for the foreign policy umbrella for U.S. Jewish groups, denounced governments including the Obama administration for lacking outrage after parents and three children were slaughtered in a West Bank settlement.
"If governments, even our own, do not stand up" then the Jewish people must "shriek and condemn and take action," Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Thursday at a memorial service for the Fogels.
He decried responses that are "a balanced statement or at most a lip-service condemnation."
"Where is the outrage? Where is the indignation?" he said.
The initial White House response, which condemned the murders as "terrorism" and said "there is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home," was issued in the name of a relatively low-level National Security Council staffer.
President Obama has yet to pronounce on the killings, although Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, condemned what she called the "inhuman" killings "in the strongest possible terms."
Hoenlein’s anger also appeared aimed at the White House’s relatively muted response to the naming of a square in a West Bank town after a terrorist, just two days after the murders.
In that case, relatively low-level officials said they were seeking clarification on the matter and denounced incitement by "all parties."
Hoenlein, addressing the memorial at congregation Kehilat Jeshurun in Manhattan decried the naming of the square as a failure of the Palestinians to show accountability.
Pro-Israel officials, speaking on background, have also said they were irked by the State Department’s expression of "deep concern" after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced 500 new housing starts in West Bank settlement as a response to the murders.
Ruth and Udi Fogel and three of their six children — Yoav, 11; Elad, 4; and Hadas, 3 months — were stabbed to death as they slept in their Itamar home. Israeli and Palestinian forces are still searching for the perpetrators.
Mainstream Palestinian leaders have condemned the act.