U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to a question as he speaks to the media April 21, 2013, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo: AP)
At a press conference in Istanbul yesterday, attempting to bring about rapprochment between Israel and Turkey, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed empathy with Turkey’s loss over the murder of its citizens on board the Mavi Marmara in 2010 by comparing it to the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon.
I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that.
The response from Israel was swift. Israel’s deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon responded by implying the Turkish victims of the Israeli attack were terrorists and that Kerry was confused. Times of Israel reports:
“It is never helpful when a moral equivalency is made confusing terrorists with their victims,” Danon told The Times of Israel. ”As our American friends were made all too aware once again last week, the only way to deal with the evils of terrorism it to wage an unrelenting war against its perpetrators wherever they may be,” he said.
The Blaze describes the pile on:
Middle East expert Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, tells TheBlaze, “To call Kerry’s statement incredibly ignorant, insulting to Israel, and counterproductive is an understatement. Those killed on the Mavi Marmara were terrorists, aiding a group (Hamas) like those who committed the Boston atrocity.”
“Now he labels Israel as terrorist for defending itself from terrorists. Kerry’s statement gave the Turks justification for not conciliating. Would Americans accept an apology from those who staged the Boston attack? Of course not,” Rubin added.
Israel National News calls Kerry’s words “a jarring comparison.”
The blog Israel Matzav writes: “Just when you thought you’d heard it all from the Obama administration…”
One of those Turkish citizens was also an American, young Furkan Dogan. Perhaps John Kerry read the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) report (pdf) describing his killing as a “summary execution.”
It appears that some members of the press think we all have very short memories of that awful night. The New York Times‘ Sebnem Arsu and Jodi Rudoren:
The flotilla, which was trying to break Israel’s military blockade of Gaza, was intercepted by Israeli forces in international waters when the vessels refused orders to turn back. When Israeli commandos boarded the lead vessel, a firefight broke out — Israel says the commandos were fired on first — and nine activists were killed, eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent.
— Dan O’Reilly-Rowe (@ghostleg) April 21, 2013
(Hat tip Mondoweiss commenter Taxi)