Here is a sampling of letters responding to Israel's boarding of a ship carrying aid to Gaza on Monday.

My anger at learning of the Israeli military action against the aid flotilla turned to outrage when I learned of the failure of the United States government - my government - to condemn it ("Outcry, crisis after deadly raid by Israel," Tuesday).

As was the case with the attack on the civil rights marchers in Selma, Ala., any government that uses deadly force on unarmed civilians who are engaged in an act of civil disobedience is morally bankrupt. Those who fail to condemn such an action have lost their moral compass.

K. S. Bhaskar

Malvern

As is obvious from video Israel provided, its soldiers were furiously attacked with metal pipes while rappelling down from helicopters to enforce a blockade the provocateurs knew would escalate into a diplomatic imbroglio. The special forces were armed with weapons using paint balls to deter the protesters. Fearing for their lives, the soldiers had to resort to lethal means.

As long as Israel exists, these pernicious mosquitoes will continue to torment the lone true democracy in the Middle East.

Only the Atlantic Ocean keeps us from being persecuted every day by these throwbacks. We should not be quick to judge.

Anthony J. Frascino

Swedesboro

artgardenr@aol.com

The knee-jerk response to the blockade-runner incident is not unexpected. The same people who would deny Israel's right to act as a democratic, sovereign state have jumped all over this story.

A blockade is a legitimate tool to use against the Hamas terrorists in preventing the buildup of rockets, mortars, guns, and other armaments in their determination to wipe Israel off the map.

Who else is endangered by these arms, other than the Israelis? The Israeli bashers do not condemn the rockets that continue to fall from Gaza, and the United Nations has not acted as the honest broker it is mandated to be. The Israeli government offered to transfer these "humanitarian" cargoes to Gaza after inspection to make sure they fit the description. This offer received scant attention in the media.

Leonard Kornit

Philadelphia

John Nichols accurately describes the lack of force in statements issued by the White House and Congress ("A vapid Mideast discourse," Wednesday) regarding the brutality and injustice of the Israeli attack on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

This should be seen for what it is: an atrocity committed by Israeli commandos against innocent fellow human beings in international waters. No excuses under the guise of security should be tolerated. Those who gave the orders should be tried for crimes against humanity.

I applaud California's Marcy Winograd, a Jewish woman running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, for denouncing this kind of "barbaric violence" and demanding "an international investigation into these murders."

I hope she won't be subjected to the knee-jerk accusations of being anti-Semitic, or a self-hating Jew, as I have been.

Judy Rubin

Philadelphia

How quickly they mobilize to demonstrate when it is against Israel. How quickly those black and red and green and white flags come out, as do the signs demanding death to Israel and America. How eager the media are to record and broadcast every moment and every "tear."

Where are these demonstrators when radical Muslims become suicide murderers and kill innocent women and children? Where are these demonstrators when mosques are blown up, or heads are cut off, or thousands are killed when planes are flown into buildings? Why are they so silent, or, worse yet, why do they cheer?

Ruth E. Skole

Margate

Every nation has the right to defend itself. Israel has a right and an obligation to inspect those ships as part of national defense.

Israel reports that its soldiers were attacked upon boarding and fired in self-defense. It is all too easy for those intent on blaming Israel to simply refuse to believe this, and the propaganda victory goes to the force of evil. It is reminiscent of Israel's infantry raid into Jenin in 2002; Israel could have just bombed the area but sent infantry instead, in order to minimize the damage although increasing their own casualties. For this it was loudly accused of a massacre, and, when this turned out to be utter fiction, retractions came as a whisper or not at all.

Ricky A. Chenenko

Hainesport

If it weren't for the fact that yours is the only comprehensive newspaper in Philadelphia, I would cancel my subscription over Tony Auth's cartoon Wednesday. The fact is that the people on the blockade-running "Freedom Flotilla" ship were anything but the meek little mice depicted in the cartoon. They were determined to attack the Israeli soldiers with makeshift weapons after being repeatedly told to stop and head to an Israeli port. Any other Navy would have simply sunk their ship.

If the blockade is broken, then Gaza will become an Iranian outpost a few miles from the Israeli heartland. It would be as if Mexico became Afghanistan to the United States.

Alex Ross

Marlton