ZOA Condemns Turkey’s Erdogan Threats and Falsehoods about Jerusalem and Israel
News Press Release
December 12, 2017

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and Director of Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

The ZOA condemns Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s appalling, blatant disrespect for President Donald Trump, and recent threats, power plays and falsehoods regarding President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital Jerusalem – the capital of the Jewish nation for over 3,000 years.

Erdogan’s regime supports U.S.-designated terrorist groups such as Hamas in their genocidal efforts to murder every Jew; slaughters innocent Kurds and sent Turkish warplanes to kill Kurdish fighters who were helping the U.S. defeat ISIS; imprisons political foes en masse; and has its police “disappear” when Turkey’s small remaining Jewish community and synagogues are violently attacked by regime-inspired “demonstrators.”  (See Jews in Turkey Under Attack Over Temple Mount Crisis,” by Itamar Eichner, YNet News July 23, 2017).  Yet, Erdogan had the temerity to hurl vicious false accusations at the human rights loving, democratic state of Israel.

As Israeli Prime Minister correctly responded to Erdogan: “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from the leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.”  (“Netanyahu Says Israel Will Not Be Lectured To By The Likes Of Erdogan,” by Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 10, 2017.)

Erdogan’s statements attempted to deny and usurp both President Trump’s constitutional powers and Israel’s legal, political, historical and religious rights. 

Netanyahu: “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from the leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.

In the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), Article 16, Turkey “renounce[d] all rights and title whatsoever over or respecting the territories situated outside the frontiers laid down in [that] Treaty.”  In other words, Turkey has no rights to Jerusalem or any of Israel.  Yet Erdogan now attempts to portray Turkey as having rights that Turkey long ago knowingly, legally and completely renounced.

For instance, Erdogan had the gall to insist that President Trump had “no authority” to recognize Israel’s capital, and should have consulted Turkey first.  Since when does a United States president need to answer to Turkey in order to exercise his legitimate U.S. constitutional power of recognition?   Did Erdogan consult the U.S. before sending Turkish terrorists to Gaza?

Erdogan also falsely claimed that UN Resolution 478 (a meaningless, illegal, non-binding anti-Israel UN Resolution) made President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital Jerusalem “unlawful.”  In fact, UN Resolution 478 violated UN Charter Article 80 (the Jewish people’s clause – which has the status of a treaty and is therefore international law).  UN Charter Article 80 preserved and confirmed the Jewish people’s international legal rights to the Jewish homeland Israel (including the area encompassing Jerusalem) that were guaranteed under the League of Nations mandate, even after the mandate’s expiration.  Anti-Israel resolutions cannot and did not change Israel’s confirmed legal rights.

Erdogan also invoked three hegemonic past caliphs in order to falsely claim current rights to Jerusalem, namely (i) Meccan “Caliph to the Islamic world” (ummah) Omar (Umar Ibn al-Khattab); (ii) Ottoman Caliph Yavuz Sultan Selim I; and (iii) Ottoman Caliph Sultan Abdul hamid.

In the seventh century, Caliph Omar participated with Muhammed in the violent attack on, and demands for extortionate tribute from the peaceful Jews of Khaybar (north of Medina, Saudi Arabia); Omar later expelled Khaybar’s remaining Jews.  “Jews, remember Khaybar!” is an Islamist rallying cry for murdering Jews to this day.  Caliph Omar’s conquests included seizing Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire (the eastern Roman empire, ironically based in Constantinople – present-day Istanbul).  Omar built the al Aqsa mosque on the site of the destroyed First and Second Jewish Temples – an attempt to de-Judaize and coopt the Jewish people’s holiest site.  Notably, Omar (like all other Muslim leaders) did not make Jerusalem his capital.

In 1510-1517, Caliph / Sultan Selim I conquered and expanded the Ottoman Empire to include the entire Middle East and portions of Eurasia, including present-day Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Armenia, Georgian kingdoms, and the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt (Egypt, Syria, Israel, Jordan and the Arabian peninsula, including Mecca and Medina).

Selim named himself “Servant of the Two Holy Cities” – Mecca and Medina.  (Notably, Selim did not name himself “Servant of Jerusalem.”)

The third Caliph cited by Erdogan, Caliph Abdul Hamid II, was one of the then-crumbling Ottoman Empire’s last rulers (from 1876 to 1909).  Abdul Hamid used “pan-Islamism” to solidify his internal absolutist rule and to attempt to hold onto the Ottoman Empire – then known as the “sick man of Europe.”   During his reign, Abdul Hamid also engaged in blatant discrimination against Jews by, among other things, prohibiting Jewish/Zionist organizations from purchasing land in the area that is now Israel.

Erdogan also misleadingly claimed rights to Jerusalem by arguing that the “first Qiblah” (direction of Muslim prayer) was towards Jerusalem.  The facts are as follows: Muhammad sought to win the Jews to Islam, by temporarily (for approximately 16 months) adopting the ages-old Jewish direction of prayer.  (Jews have prayed towards Jerusalem for thousands of years – and continue to do so today.)  As soon as Mohammed saw that Jews and Christians would not follow him, Mohammed turned against them, and directed prayer towards Mecca and Medina – which became Islam’s holy cities.

Erdogan is now engaging in and threatening various “pan-Islamist” efforts – including calling other political leaders about Jerusalem, and attempting to lead anti-Israel actions at the OIC – Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Hopefully, those whom Erdogan seeks to have to do his bidding, using the pretext of Jerusalem, will not be persuaded by Erdogan’s falsehoods and hypocritical rhetoric.

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