Not one to be out-Likuded by anyone, Jeff Greene’s campaign this morning issued a lengthy defense of Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. Greene’s email included a legalistic argument about Israel’s right to board the Turkish flag ship Mavi Marmara, and the sinister “terrorist” leanings of its passengers. His email came the morning after Kendrick Meek, himself not a Jewish politician, but who never misses a chance to declare his Likudishness, often wierdly in excess of actual Democratic pols, practically declared the victims of the assault enemies of peace. Both candidates full emails after the jump.
Make no mistake, Florida’s Jewish population is a crucial voting bloc for Democrats (representing about 5 percent of the overall vote, but superabundant in the key Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward), and Greene (who is Jewish) is going after it, particularly the older voters in South Florida who weren’t 100 percent comfortable with Barack Obama, though in the end they voted for him, and who aren’t quite on board with Meek. Greene is even enlisting his mom, who lives in one of Florida’s sprawling Century Village senior complexes, to cement that base for him. Meek, who is still the presumptive nominee, can’t afford to cede a single vote to Greene, and he’s been tacking way to the right of Obama on Israel for some time now, so we’ll probably be treated to more Israel one-upsmanship as we head into August.
Greene’s full email:
Statement on Israel’s Boarding of Gaza Flotilla
June 2, 2010 – Palm Beach – In response to Israel’s boarding of the Gaza Flotilla, Jeff Greene, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement:
“It is my duty, as an American who is deeply committed to protecting our country and America’s staunchest ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East against the threat of international terrorist organizations, to call attention to a fact that has gone unheeded by much of the international community: that Israel was completely justified and acted in accordance with international law in its boarding of the Gaza flotilla, in order to deter its attempt to break the maritime blockade of Gaza.
As the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Part II clearly states: The coastal State may, without discrimination in form or in fact among foreign ships, suspend temporarily in specified areas of its territorial sea the innocent passage of foreign ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security, including weapons exercises.
The flotilla was funded by the Turkish group Insani Yardim Vakfi (Humanitarian Relief Foundation), which has been linked to global jihadist terrorist movements including al Qaeda by both the Danish Institute for International Studies and the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The blockade was imposed by both Israel and Egypt to prevent Hamas from acquiring material or weapons that could be used in a military strike.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Part II: The coastal State may take the necessary steps in its territorial sea to prevent passage which is not innocent.
Israel was merely seeking to exercise its right of self-defense against a group bent on its destruction. Hamas, the Iranian-funded jihadist group, usurped control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in June 2007 and calls for the destruction of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic, Shari’a-based state. It has been declared a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, and apropos, FBI director Robert Mueller testified before Congress about its active — and dangerous — presence in the United States. If the flotilla had succeeded in breaking the blockade – Hamas would have been able to use the cargo to arm themselves in preparation for a future attack against Israel.
And while I would like to express my deepest regret about the lives that were lost, let us not forget that the Israeli Defense Force soldiers, who had taken significant measures to avoid conflict altogether, but whose repeated pleas for the flotilla to abandon its mission went unheeded, were acting in self defense when they boarded the ships peacefully only to be viciously attacked by hostile, club and knife wielding terrorist sympathizers.”
Kendrick Meek on Israel’s Naval Operation and Right to Self-Defense
Meek: “Israeli Soldiers Cannot Be Blamed for Defending Themselves and Their Citizens”
Washington, D.C. – Kendrick Meek today issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s naval operation off the coast of Israel and Israel’s right to self-defense:
“Israel has the right and duty to defend itself and protect its citizens against all threats. As a security precaution, Israel was well within its rights to search the cargo and passengers of a ship on the verge of breaching its sovereign borders, despite repeated requests from the Israeli government to stop.
“The loss of life is always tragic, but we must not be fooled: the passengers aboard the ship have done great harm to the human rights movement by using the name of peace as a pretense for violence against Israeli soldiers. The ship’s passengers could have allowed Israeli servicemembers to escort their ship to a port peacefully to transfer aid to the people living in Hamas-controlled Gaza, but instead resorted to aggression and hostility.”
“Israeli soldiers cannot be blamed for defending themselves and their citizens. I will not allow Israel to be blamed unfairly for exercising its right to self-defense.”