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Israeli pols slam Kerry for marathon-Mavi Marmara comparison

JTA

April 23, 2013 | 9:23 am

Secretary of State John Kerry in Brussels on April 23. Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry in Brussels on April 23. Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

Israeli lawmakers are condemning U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's comparison of the Boston Marathon bombing victims to the 2010 deaths of Turkish citizens aboard the Mavi Marmara ship.

Lawmakers from political parties on the right and left slammed Kerry's remarks of Sunday. However, senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, did not respond.

“It is never helpful when a moral equivalency is made confusing terrorists with their victims," Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon of Netanyahu's Likud party said of Kerry's statement, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The Mavi Marmara in May 2010 attempted to evade a maritime blockade of Gaza. Nine Turks were killed in the ensuing violence when Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship.

Kerry spoke to reporters following meetings in Istanbul.

Asked about the recent thawing of relations between Israel and Turkey, Kerry said of the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010, “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. 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.”

Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize ties after Netanyahu, prodded by President Obama, apologized last month for the raid and agreed to compensate the families of the nine Turks.

In the wake of the incident, Turkey withdrew its high-level diplomats from Israel and froze deals with Israel's military.

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