Deputy minister slams Kerry’s Marmara-Boston analogy

Likening families of flotilla casualties to those affected by marathon bombing ‘confuses terrorists with their victims,’ says Danny Danon

Raphael Ahren is a former diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Danny Danon (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Danny Danon (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) on Monday berated John Kerry for comments in which the US secretary of state likened the families of the Mavi Marmara flotilla casualties to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings last week.

“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.

Speaking in Ankara on Sunday amid a fresh bid to broker reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, Kerry professed to understand the anger and frustration of those Turks who lost friends and family during the 2010 IDF raid on the Marmara, which was en route to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory. Israeli commandos boarded the vessel on May 30, 2010, were attacked with clubs and metal bars, and opened fire, killing nine Turkish activists. Last month, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to his Turkish counter Recep Tayyip Erdogan for “operational errors” that caused the loss of life.

The former Massachusetts senator said the bombings in Boston made him acutely aware of the emotions felt by the families of the nine Turks who died.

“It affects the community, it affects the country. But going forward, you know, we have to find the best way to bring people together and undo these tensions and undo these stereotypes and try to make peace,” Kerry said.

The hawkish Danon is a sometimes vocal critic of Washington’s doings, often to the chagrin of more center-leaning forces in the party, including Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem on April 8, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem on April 8, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a book he published last year, “Israel: The Will to Prevail,” Danon described a “growing irrelevance” of American influence under US President Barack Obama and suggested that “confidence in the US as a stabilizing force is eroding.”

“The Obama administration support for the Palestinian position and their engagement of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt call the strength of its support for Israel into question,” he wrote.

Last week’s Boston Marathon bombings killed three and injured more than 170 as two explosions rocked the race’s finish line. Local police tracked down two suspects, brothers from Chechnya, killing one in a shootout and capturing the other after a long manhunt.

Aaron Kalman, Matti Friedman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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