Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

Apologies Necessary: Talking Turkey

A couple of days ago Israeli Prime-Minister Netanyahu, under immense pressure from the visiting American President Obama, apologised to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the deaths caused on the Gaza Flotilla raid and, to add insult to injury, agreed to pay reparations to the “victims.”  This outrageous and Orwellian apology goes against everything that the Jewish State stands for.  In essence, the elected head of Israel apologized for IDF soldiers doing their duty and defending themselves against a murderous mob whose intent was, at the very least, to cause grievous bodily harm to our soldiers who were doing their duty.  As one of the naval commandos aboard observed, “there were no innocent victims.” Where is our sense of honour and pride?

Instead of forcing Israel to “apologise” for legitimately defending itself why doesn’t the American administration, who refuse to apologise to Pakistan after killing its civilians, ask its erstwhile ally Turkey to apologise for a few things themselves.  If anyone owes the world an apology it should be Turkey.  I am waiting to hear an apology for the following:

1)    The Armenian Genocide.  This was the first genocide of the twentieth century.  One and a half million Armenian Christians were systematically targeted and murdered.  In fact, the term “genocide” was coined to describe this wholesale premeditated murder by Turkey.

2)    The military invasions in 1974 and continued illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus after brutally expelling thousands of Greek Cypriots.

3)    The continued brutal subjugation, killings and “Turkification” of the Kurdish population of Turkey.  According to the Human Rights Watch, “By the mid-1990s, more than 3,000 villages had been virtually wiped from the map, and, according to official figures, 378,335 Kurdish villagers had been displaced and left homeless.”

4)    The gradually successful plan to repeal all of Mustafa Kemel  Atatürk’s innovations that aimed to make Turkey modern and pro-Western.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has almost single-handedly reversed Turkey’s direction by openly preaching a return to radical Islamic anti-Western values.  The United States Embassy in Turkey was recently attacked and many other Western targets fear similar incidents.

This is the man who a few weeks ago called Zionism, the legitimate liberation nationalist movement of the Jewish people, a, “crime against humanity.”  Even after agreeing to normalising relations with Israel in the presence of Obama, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already started backpedaling and reneging.  It is long past time to take Turkey to task for its abominable human rights record.  What are we so afraid of?

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He is the author (and illustrator) of the internationally acclaimed Zionism curriculum; “For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Education” (fifth edition, 2017, Koren) and is at present working on his next book, a history of the Jewish people. Tuvia has a doctorate in Israel education. His dissertation title is: “Through the Soldiers’ Eyes: Exploring the Influence of a Birthright Mifgash on the Israeli Soldier Participants.”