Obama Forces Netanyahu to Apologize to Turkey for Flotilla Incident
In the aftermath of President Obama’s goodwill speechifying in Israel, Obama reverted to anti-Israel form behind closed doors. Obama reportedly leveraged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into calling Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for Israeli action against a Turkish-sponsored terror flotilla directed toward helping Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Turkish-sponsored flotilla, led by the ship Mavi Marmara, was boarded by Israeli troops on May 31, 2010 in international waters after it became clear that the ship, along with five others, was going to send illegal supplies to Hamas.
All five of the other ships were boarded without incident. The Marmara passengers resisted by beating Israeli troops with iron bars and knives. Nine activists were killed in the ensuing chaos. Even the United Nations found that the blockade by Israel was legal. Turkish attempts to break the Israeli blockade were clearly in violation of international law.
But President Obama, seeking to inject himself into a dispute on behalf of Islamists everywhere, told Netanyahu to call up Erdogan. Netanyahu reportedly told Erdogan that the State of Israel regretted the loss of life and that any loss of life was unintentional. Meanwhile, Erdogan said that he “valued centuries-long strong friendship and cooperation between the Turkish and Jewish nations.” He did not say that he valued friendship with the Jewish state.
Erdogan recently labeled Zionism racism in the press, and said that Zionism constituted a human rights violation. Undoubtedly, Obama was also attempting to broker some sort of minor alliance between Turkey and Israel with the purpose of containing the increasingly inflammatory conflict in Syria.
Obama’s White House issued a statement on the exchange, celebrating the phone call and stating, “I am hopeful that today’s exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).