Barry Shaw

Erdogan ratchets up his anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Israel in his most anti-Semitic speech yet.

He compared Bayit Yehudi Knesset member, Ayelet Shaked, to Hitler on Tuesday, 15 July when he criticized Israel’s actions against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Her remarks referred to an article by deceased Makor Rishon editor Eli Elitzur from 2002, at the height of the second intifada, from which the Bayit Yehudi MK quoted on her Facebook page on July 1;

“The Palestinian people declared war on us, and we must fight back. Not an operation, not low-intensity, not destroying terror infrastructure… This is a war between two nations. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started,” Elitzur wrote.

“This mentality is no different to that of Hitler,”  Erdogan said.

He referred to Israel’s aerial campaign against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, as “systematic genocide.”

This is the man that condemned anti-Semitism and Zionism in the same sentence at a UN speech in Vienna in febraury 2013.  “We must consider — just like Zionism or anti-Semitism or fascism — Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.”  Notice not anti-Zionism, but Zionism itself, an expression of Jewish self-determination and independence.

On Thursday Erdogan went further. “Israel is a country threatening the world’s peace. It’s a country that threatens the Middle East peace. [Israel] has never pretended to be pro-peace. It has always tormented [the Palestinian people], and today it is continuing to do so,”

He stressed that good relations with Israel were impossible under the current circumstances. 
“The government and I will never look positively [at Israel] as long as we are in power … [Israel] may seem like the winner for now. But it will eventually be defeated.”Erdoğan seemed to be echoing the Hamas ambition of defeating and destroying the Jewish State of Israel. 

He repeated his “systemic genocide” nonsense at a meeting of Islamic scholars in Istanbul to mark Ramadan.  “We have been witnessing this systematic genocide every Ramadan since 1948. The world remains silent because those who lost their lives are Palestinian.”   

With lies like this, Erdogan encourages Islamic scholars into a religious conflict with Israel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading international Jewish rights NGO, labelling Turkey’s current climate as a “prescription for disaster” referring to violent pro-Palestinian protests that led the Israeli government reduce its diplomatic presence in Turkey.

“Recent acts of violence, rioting, threats and insults against Israel and Jews–including Turkey’s historic Jewish community–by national leaders and personalities, are prescriptions for disaster,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s associate dean, said in a statement released on July 18.

“When Prime Minister Erdoǧan falsely describes Israel’s self-defense against Hamas as ‘genocide’; when calls for the elimination of Jews are backed by the mayor of Ankara; when a popular Turkish singer tweets that it will be ‘Muslims who will bring an end to those Jews’ and ‘May God bless Hitler’, it cannot be business as usual.”

“Finally, we call on NATO Secretary General Rasmussen to denounce the anti-Jewish campaign in Turkey. NATO was created to defend democracies and freedom, not bullies and bigots,” the letter concluded.

With such a poisoned atmosphere, it is clear why Israel rejected Turkey’s efforts to be the broker for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.


Barry Shaw is the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.”

He is also the special consultant on delegitimization issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.

About the Author
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism,' '1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel, 'BDS for IDIOTS,' and his latest work 'A Tale of Love and Destiny,' the dramatic life of a Jewish heroine.
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