It may interest readers to know that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated yesterday that anti-Semitism is a “crime against humanity.” But this was no welcome acknowledgement of an evil to which Erdogan himself has contributed (of which more shortly). For Erdogan, speaking in Vienna at a United Nations event devoted to dialogue between the West and Islam, participated in the evil he condemned by also labeling as crimes against humanity Zionism, fascism and ‘Islamophobia.’ His precise words follow:
“We should be striving to better understand the culture and beliefs of others, but instead we see that people act based on prejudice and exclude others and despise them, And that is why it is necessary that we must consider — just like Zionism or anti-Semitism or fascism — Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.”
(The relevant passage in his speech, delivered in Turkish, can be viewed here).
This was a multi-pronged poke in the eye to truth and decency. At a stroke, Erdogan stigmatized Jewish peoplehood and sovereignty as an unspeakable evil, robbing his condemnation of anti-Semitism of any utility. He thus posed as a humanitarian in the process of being a hate-monger. He trivialized fascism by associating it with both a national movement he hates and with the nonsense term ‘Islamophobia.’ (‘Islamophobia’ is a term that does not denote hatred of Muslims but rather judges anyone expressing fear of about something connected with Islam as guilty of irrationality and malice. As such it is itself a weapon of extremism, brandished to besmirch as haters those who expose Muslim anti-Semites, which includes people like Erdogan himself).
Erdogan’s anti-Semitic bona fides extend well beyond yesterday’s squalid verbal maneuver in Vienna. In government, he has done what he can to foment anti-Semitism, granting legitimacy to anti-Semitic television programs, like Valley of the Wolves, which depicts Israeli Jews kidnapping Turkish babies. Andrew Bostom, a leading authority on Islamic anti-Semitism, has written in detail about Erdogan’s long history of anti-Semitism, which includes having written, directed and performed in a 1974 play, Maskomya (an acronym for ‘Masons-Communists-Yahudi [Jews]’) which dilates on a world conspiracy founded in Judaism.
Further bleak detail on the promotion of anti-Semitism in Erdogan’s Turkey can be found here. The obvious question is – why does President Barack Obama laud Erdogan, as he did last year, as a “friend and colleague,” an “outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues”? All of which leaves one to wonder which are the precise issues on which the President said he finds himself in “frequent agreement.”