NEW YORK — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for comparing the deaths of nine pro-Hamas terrorists in May 2010 aboard a blockade-defying ship bound for Gaza, the Mavi Mamara, to the deaths of four innocent American civilians at the hands of terrorists at last week’s Boston Marathon.
The Mavi Mamara flew under the Turkish flag and sailed under the auspices of a Turkish NGO, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi – IHH), anAl-Qaeda-connected Islamist organization belonging to the U.S. Treasury-designatedSpecially Designated Global Terrorist group, the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic).The Mavi Mamara attempt to break Israel’s lawful naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory. When Israeli commandos, armed only with paintball guns, lawfully boarded the vessel, they were attacked with clubs and metal bars, several of the Israelis being injured. In the resultant firefight, nine Turkish Hamas activists were killed. Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to the viciously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for operational errors that caused the loss of life.
During a visit to Turkey this week, Secretary Kerry, speaking in connection with efforts to stabilize an American-brokered rapprochement between the Islamist-ruled Turkey and Israel,said that he said he understood the anger and frustration of those Turks who lost friends and family in the raid, saying that it reminded him of the recently murder of three people and the injuring and maiming of 180 more last week by terrorists who detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon. Secretary Kerry said:
“We have just been through the week of Boston, and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence, when something that happens when you lose people that are near and dear to you … It affects the community; it affects the country.”
Kerry’s words have been criticized by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, who said that “It is never helpful when a moral equivalency is made confusing terrorists with their victims … 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” (Raphael Ahren, ‘Deputy minister slams Kerry’s Marmara-Boston analogy,’ Times of Israel, April 22, 2013).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are appalled that Secretary Kerry made this comparison. There is obviously all the difference in the world between violent terrorists who lose their lives after assaulting Israeli inspectors enforcing a legal blockade and the deaths of innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists at the Boston Marathon.
“The families of the dead Turkish Hamas activists would have been better served hearing Secretary Kerry deplore terrorism and violence against Israel and the harm this had done to Israeli-Turkish relations – not hearing from him that their children were in the category of the innocent Americans murdered and maimed last week in Boston.
“One cannot fight terrorists and discourage support for them by suggesting that those who do so and die in the effort are akin to innocent victims of terrorism.
“We are also concerned that Secretary Kerry did not urge Erdogan to cancel a planned May visit to Gaza, which is under the control of the U.S.- and E.U.-designated terrorist group Hamas, which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the worldwide murder of Jews. Instead, Secretary Kerry merely urged Erdogan to postpone his proposed visit, saying it would be ‘better delayed’ and that Erdogan should to await ‘the right circumstances’ – as if there could be ‘right circumstances’ for legitimizing terrorists.
“If the Obama Administration is serious about fighting terrorism and restoring Israeli-Turkish relations that have been deliberately and needlessly harmed by Erdogan, it should be urging Turkey not bolster the legitimacy of the genocidally-inclined Hamas terrorist regime and harshly criticizing when it does.”