WASHINGTON (JTA) — The national body of Jewish Democrats urged lawmakers not to join a letter by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich calling on President Obama to penalize Israel for its deadly raid on an aid flotilla.
"The State of Israel’s conduct, attacking a Turkish ship in international waters, constitutes an act of belligerence against Turkey," says the letter to Obama that Kucinich (D-Ohio), who ran against Obama in the Democratic primaries, is now circulating. "The attack on the Mavi Marmara requires consequences for the Netanyahu Administration and for the State of Israel. Those consequences must be dealt by the United States. They must be diplomatic and they must be financial."
The National Council of Jewish Democrats urged Congress members to reject Kucinich’s "reckless" message.
"Kucinich is blind to the serious responsibility of both so-called ‘peace activists’ and the state of Turkey in provoking this incident and ignores the historical reality that Israel has a proven track record of fair and impartial review of its own military’s actions," the group said.
Nine Turks, including a Turkish American, died in the melee when Israeli commandos raided the Turkish-flagged ship on May 31. Israel commandeered five other boats in the same operation without incident.
The flotilla was carrying aid to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s embargo of ther strip, which is controlled by the Hamas terrorist group.