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US National Security Adviser James Jones apologized Monday for his opening "Jewish merchant" joke at the 25-year anniversary gala of the Washington Institute For Near East Policy last weekend.
Jones apologized saying, "I wish that I had not made this off the cuff joke at the top of my remarks, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it. It also distracted from the larger message I carried that day: that the United States commitment to Israel's security is sacrosanct."
Here is how Jones' joke went: "A Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water.
The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn't have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water.
The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he's back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: "Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant."
House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the joke was not included in the
official White House transcript of the speech because Jones' speech was
not a presidential event, and a stenographer was not present.