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Washington (AFP) — Israeli attacks against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accusing him being of a supporter of Islamic militants are “offensive and absurd,” a senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

In a sharp exchange with reporters, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf hit out against a torrent of abuse from “respected voices in Israel talking about the secretary of state, claiming that he supports Hamas, which is offensive and absurd.”

The United States had been giving Israel “a level of support which has been quite frankly unprecedented in our history, even when we stood alone,” she added.

After last week’s failed bid to mediate a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, Kerry has been pilloried in the Israeli press for submitting a plan on Friday to the Israeli government, which the security cabinet unanimously rejected.

“He’s a friend of Israel, but with friends like these, sometimes it’s better to negotiate with your enemies,” said Nahum Barnea, writing in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot.

The secretary of state has also been described in the press as a “bull in a china shop,” and an “amateur who thinks he can solve the world’s problems with his presence alone.”

Harf hit back that saying “that kind of criticism coming from any ally, certainly Israel, just really has no place in this discussion.”

“The hours all of us have spent with the secretary in Jerusalem, trying to get Middle East peace, trying to protect Israel’s security, I think that’s why it’s so disappointing,” Harf added.

AFP Photo/Raveendran

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Democratic nominee Joe Biden speaking in Manitowoc, WI

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Today in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Joe Biden spoke about the toll of coronavirus, which has now officially passed 200,000. "What worries me now is we've been living with this pandemic for so long, I worry we're risking becoming numb to the toll that it's taken on us," the Democratic nominee warned. "We can't let that happen."

How did that happen? How did America lose 200,000 people to a horrendous death, with no end in sight? That tragedy can be traced directly to a vacuum of leadership in the White House, as Biden remarked. But he also saw behind that lack of presidential fortitude to its deeper cause: Donald Trump simply never cared how many of us die and he still doesn't. The evidence is in Trump's own behavior at his "superspreader rallies" – where he always protects himself while leaving his own followers to risk illness and worse.

Watch Biden describe the moral emptiness inside this president.