The dictator and the tyrant

One is called a dictator and the other is called a tyrant. Quite frankly. I cannot tell which one is which.

One is Turkey’s Erdogan and the other is Israel’s Netanyahu. It’s your choice. You choose. After all, in a democratic Jewish State and in a Jewish democratic State, all citizens have the equal right to express their opinion without fear of punishment. (Unless they are Arab members of the Knesset who are subjected to vile name-calling by some Jewish members).  Elsewhere, people can speak their minds without fear.

With the exception of Turkey.  Journalists and commentators fill up the prison cells in Turkey for expressing negative comments about the regime. Whereas, in Israel we have so many who express negative comments about our regime, we do not have enough prisons to house them all.

Erdogan tells Netanyahu that he is a killer of Palestinian children and Netanyahu replies that Erdogan is an evil man who imprisons his people for breathing too much. After all, air is expensive and not tax-free in Ankara.

Yet with all the hateful exchanges, Israeli foolish tourists still flock to the shops and bazaars in Turkey in search of gold jewelry. They certainly don’t go there for the burekas or for the hamam massages. And I have not seen a Turkish tourist in Israel for several decades.  Travel is a one-way street.

Erdogan,  proudly but defiantly,  proclaims that no Turkish Jews have been harmed and no synagogues have been desecrated.  He, of course, is referring to the Israeli Jewish terrorists who defiled Christian churches, monuments and monasteries with foul graffiti “death to Christians”, and whom our courts did not find  guilty.

We are disgraced by actions of Jews desecrating the sanctity of religious buildings, cemeteries and religious institutions of non-Jews,  Muslims and Christians.

As a people we know sadly only too well how many synagogues, cemeteries and institutions of Jewish communities around the world have been and still are continuing to be destroyed, desecrated, burned by growing numbers of anti-Semites.  In French cities today, tombstones in Jewish cemeteries have been marked brazenly with large painted swastikas and in some instances, Jews have been murdered in Paris.

I share the shame of decent others who blame our courts for not finding our Jewish youths guilty of their crimes. I blame their parents for failing to instill in their sons the meaning of righteousness.

Our hilltop settler youth are not representative of Torah laws and values. They find joy in harassing and hurting the “other”. They are the garbage of Israel, the trash that should be disposed of. They are not worthy of being called Jews. They violate our morality and ethics with impunity.

Turkish-Israeli relations had been broken a few years ago when ten Turks were killed in a riot on board the Turkish vessel which attempted to land in Gaza in violation of the Israeli boycott.

Relations were resumed some years later after Israel was forced to pay restitution to the families of the dead Turks. But while Israeli tourists continued to travel to Turkey unharmed, the climate between our two governments was either cold or cool, depending upon issues.

It would not be a surprise to me if the relationship came to an end once again. Certainly the name-calling does nothing to soothe the hostile governments.

If the relationship worsens, I propose that Israel takes action. The first step should be to close our embassy in Ankara and to send the Turkish ambassador in Tel-Aviv back to Erdoganland.

The second action should be something that we should have done generations ago and failed to do so in fear of damaging relations with Turkey.

Most civilized nations in the world have long ago condemned Turkey for the massacre and slaughter of 1 ½ million Christian Armenians who had lived in Turkey for generations. The survivors had to flee the country to save their lives. Some went to Greece and many others came to Palestine and settled in the holy city of Jerusalem where the Armenian Patriarchate thrives today in the State of Israel and where Armenian Christians prosper by the good work of their hands.

Israel, regrettably, was not one of the nations who condemned the genocide of 1914-1918. Now is the right time to correct a wrong. Our Knesset should pass a resolution damning Turkey’s Ottoman regime for the holocaust which preceded our Holocaust and which gave Adolf Hitler the opportunity to say “no one remembers the Turkish genocide, No one will remember how we got rid of the Jews”.

Modern Turkey is not responsible for the Armenian genocide.  But it has the moral responsibility to aknowledge the crime.

Erdogan or Netanyahu?  Dictator or Tyrant?  The free choice is all yours.   Happy choosing !

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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