John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby clarified on Thursday that the US views Hams as a terrorist organization.

Kirby made the comments in response to a question from a reporter about comments by the UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, that “Hamas is not a terrorist group for us”.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization. We’ve said so. It is. It just is. And you don’t have to look any further than what they did on the 7th of October to see it in stark terms. And, my goodness, take a look at their manifesto, even the one that’s so-called watered down in 2017. There’s no doubt they just want to wipe Israel off the face of the map. This is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. Period,” said Kirby.

Asked whether the US has reached out to Griffiths to complain about his comments, he replied, “I’m not aware that we’ve done any reaching out, nor do I think we need to. We have made very clear our views of what Hamas is.”

Griffiths, who serves as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, spoke to Sky News on Wednesday and, when asked whether he thought Israel’s plan to eliminate Hamas was realistic, replied, “I think it’s very difficult. I’ve worked with many many many different terrorist and insurgent groups. Hamas is not a terrorist group for us. It’s a political movement.”

Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy posted a video of the remarks to X and wrote, “Martin Griffiths denies Hamas is a terrorist organization. No wonder he is abusing his power to save Hamas' skin after the deadliest terror attack since 9/11 instead of demanding its surrender.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also blasted Griffiths and wrote, “The UN’s pro-Hamas stance is finally exposed on live TV. In the words of a UN Under-Secretary-General ‘Hamas is NOT a terrorist group for us, it’s a political movement.’

“Is the brutal murder of hundreds of civilians, not terror? Is the systematic rape of women not terror? Is attempting Jewish genocide not terror? Ladies and gentlemen, this is the UN: a terror-excusing, Hamas-promoting, victim-blaming organization that has lost every ounce of credibility. Nothing said by the UN can be trusted or accepted,” added Erdan.

Turning directly to Griffiths, Erdan wrote, “You are no ‘humanitarian’. Sadly, you are a terror collaborator.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote in English, “Shame on him.”

Following the uproar, Griffiths issued a clarification on Thursday, writing on X, “Just to clarify: Hamas is not on the list of groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council.”

“This doesn't make their acts of terror on 7 October any less horrific and reprehensible, as I've been saying all along,” he added.

Griffiths previously came under fire in October, days after Hamas’ brutal massacre in Israel, when he warned of the death of thousands of people in Gaza, without condemning Hamas.