The Republican Jewish Coalition strongly objected to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks likening some Turks’ anger over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident to Americans’ outrage over last week’s terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.

At a press conference in Istanbul on Sunday, Kerry compared the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing to the nine Turkish activists killed by the IDF as they tried to break Gaza’s naval blockade.

“I know it’s an emotional issue with some people,” Kerry said of the Mavi Marmara deaths. “I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident: We understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them.” He then added, “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,” Kerry said. “We’re very sensitive to that.”

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said Kerry should retract his remarks as soon as possible.

“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,” Brooks said. “We understand that Secretary Kerry has reason to be deeply worried by the disappointing results to date from the president’s push to end the rift between Israel and Turkey. But he needs to correct the record so that our allies and critics around the world don’t get the idea that the world’s most powerful democracy has lost its moral bearings.”

The National Council of Young Israel called on Kerry to clarify his recent comments.

“As a resident of Massachusetts and a former constituent of Senator Kerry, I was deeply troubled by the Secretary of State’s comments,” said David Gebler, associate vice president of the National Council of Young Israel.

“Massachusetts residents, as well as all Americans, watched in horror as the tranquility of Boston and its suburbs was shattered by the deadly bombings that claimed the lives of several innocent victims and caused serious injuries to countless others.

“We experienced a sense of profound grief and acute anxiety as the perpetrators of this senseless act of violence brought the city of Boston to a virtual standstill as this terrifying drama unfolded,” he continued. “The National Council of Young Israel strenuously objects to the implied moral equivalence conveyed by Secretary of State Kerry regarding the terrorist act in Boston and a legitimate defensive measure carried out by the Israel Defense Forces on the Mavi Marmara.”

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