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Statement from Senator Craig M. Johnson, (D-Nassau): The Flotilla Incident

“In the aftermath of the Flotilla Incident, I strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself, and the right of Israel’s naval commandos, who were executing a legal mission, to defend themselves and the people of Israel.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and, while it is regrettable, I am troubled by those who assaulted the Israeli troops and made the use of violence by Israel necessary. 

“The fault and responsibility of this incident rest solely on Hamas and the organizers of the effort to break through Israel and Egypt’s legal closure of terrorist-controlled Gaza. Knowing full well that Israel could not permit the Gaza blockade to be forcefully defied, the Flotilla purposely initiated a violent confrontation. 

“Despite this, efforts are under way to unfairly paint Israel as the aggressor in this incident. The international community is seeking to embarrass Israel and highlight the blockade for public relations purposes and continues to ignore the root problem Israel faces - continued provocation and violence by Hamas in Gaza.

“Furthermore, recent comparison by local New York officials between this incident and the Holocaust are unacceptable and insulting. As an American Jew, I feel that it is my obligation to speak out against such ignorance and anti-Semitism.  These types of comments minimize the realities of the Nazi concentration camps and are an insult to the millions who died, as well as the survivors who are still with us.

“As we learn the facts, I call on the world and the local community to stand with Israel against further illegal provocation aimed at Israeli forces pledged to defend innocent lives against terrorist threats.”