Secretary of State John Kerry is under fire for comparing the Boston Marathon bombing victims to Turkish activists killed by Israel when they tried to break a naval blockade.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is calling on Kerry to retract the statement or risk the world thinking America has “lost its moral bearings.”
“It’s unconscionable to compare the loss of life resulting from an act of self-defense to the results of cold-blooded, premeditated murder by terrorists,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks was quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Kerry’s statement also was not well received in Israel, where The Jerusalem Post reports members of the legislature, the Knesset, from across the political spectrum said they found it extremely offensive.
Kerry was speaking at an Instanbul press conference when he noted, “I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident: We understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them.”
Kerry went on: “And nobody – I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and 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.”
Relatives of the nine Turkish activists killed by the Israeli Defense Force in the 2010 raid say their relatives were killed in cold blood while trying to render humanitarian aid to Gaza residents.
But Israel, a longstanding U.S. ally, has released video showing the activists beating Israeli soldiers with metal sticks and chairs as they boarded their boat, the Post reports, adding that the IDF reported that metal rods, sharp metal objects, sticks, clubs, hammers, firebombs and gas masks were found on board.
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