November 20, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Morton A. Klein
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon President Barack Obama to criticize Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for labeling Israel, a close U.S. ally, a “terrorist state.” In an address in Istanbul to Muslim religious leaders from several Muslim states, Erdogan said that “Israel violently massacres innocent children in Gaza … [and is] a terrorist state” (‘Turkey PM labels Israel ‘terrorist state’ over Gaza,’ Agence France Presse, November 19, 2012).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Prime Minister Erdogan’s outrageous but predictable public defamation of Israel before Muslim religious leaders in Istanbul should not be left unanswered by President Obama, for several reasons.
“First, President Obama has expressed strong praise for Mr. Erdogan and consulted him widely on the Middle East. President Obama surely cannot appreciate hearing a major American ally and its best Middle Eastern ally, Israel, described as a ‘terrorist state.’ Not to speak out in these circumstances would send the message that President Obama is not concerned at this incitement and hateful rhetoric which can only pour fuel on the conflict.
“Second, inasmuch as President Obama has rightly described the bonds between the U.S. and Israel as ‘unbreakable,’ Erdogan’s vitriolic remarks about Israel harms American interests and stimulates hatred of America in the Muslim world, of which Erdogan is clearly seeking to be a leading voice.
“Third, President Obama has stated more than once that he has Israel’s back. With regard to the current assaults upon Israel from Gaza, President Obama has publicly supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks upon Israel. Will he now accept that Israel is called a ‘terrorist’ by another U.S. ally for seeking to fulfill its paramount duty to defend its own citizens?
“President Obama should publicly rebuke Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement. Doing so would likely have a sedative effect upon the impassioned pronouncements that come from the leaders of Muslim majority states whenever Israel acts to stop Jew-killers from attacking Israel.”