Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pressed State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland at Monday's briefing to comment on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's assertion that "Israel is a terrorist state" and is carrying out a "massacre of children" in Gaza.
Adhering to longstanding administration policy of never criticizing the Islamist regime in Turkey, she refused.
"You're not telling us anything," Lee said. "When the leaders of Turkey come out and say that Israel is engaged in acts of terrorism and you refuse to say that you don't agree with that — or maybe you do agree with it — that's being silent."
"We have made a decision that we need to engage in our diplomatic work diplomatically," Nuland replied.
"We, of course, agree that rhetorical attacks against Israel are not helpful at this moment," Nuland went on to say.