A senior member of the U.S. Department of State tweeted his support for Hamas on Sunday, but after a barrage of complaints he soon deleted the tweet and apologized for his unwise action, saying it was just a “mistake” and that he accidentally tweeted the “wrong hashtag.”
As the ground action in Gaza continues and emotions climb on all sides, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel jumped to his Twitter account and added the “#UnitedForGaza” tag to his Tweet about Russia and the flight MH17 investigation.
In most cases, those using the “#UnitedForGaza” hashtag are supporters of Hamas who blame Israel for purposely harming civilians. But Under Secretary Stengel later claimed it was all an accident; he didn’t mean to use that hashtag.
In short order, Stengel tweeted a new message saying, “Earlier tweet with wrong hashtag was a mistake. My bad.”
Unfortunately for Stengel, not many Twitter followers believed the blasé announcement.
It is especially hard to believe Stengel’s retraction in light of comments from his boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, who was heard slamming Israel this weekend for its acts of self defense.
Among the many reasons that Israel launched this newest military action is because Hamas is using civilians as human shields in its rocket attacks on Israel, despite the fact that the Israeli Defense Force is going out of its way to warn civilians ahead of time to vacate areas it intends to target.
But all this may not be so surprising as Stengel is another journalist turned Obama operative. Before joining the Obama administration this year, he was the managing editor of Time magazine.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.