Commentary Magazine


Turkey's Hate Escalates

Turkey’s Hate Escalates

The government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent the last decade trying to shatter his country’s alliance with Israel. Under the leadership of the Islamist AKP Party, Turkey has become one of the Jewish state’s most vocal foes and has aligned itself with Hamas. But even Erdogan’s friends in the Obama administration were forced to speak out when he compared Zionism with fascism at a UN conference in Vienna in February. According to Erdogan, the movement to grant Jews self-determination in their ancient homeland is nothing less than a hate crime. That a supporter of Hamas, which is pledged to Israel’s destruction and the murder or deportation of its Jews, would say such a thing is hardly surprising. But it must be remembered that the man who said these things is the head of a NATO-member nation and is considered one of Obama’s closest friends among world leaders. Turkey’s increasing hatred toward Israel demonstrates the growing acceptance of such attitudes on the international stage and signals that the United States cannot consider Turkey a reliable ally.

Tough Talk and Weak Diplomacy

Vice President Joe Biden received a warm reception when he told the annual conference of AIPAC in Washington that the Obama administration was determined to stop Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. He even defended the president’s sluggishness in embracing tough sanctions and his support for dead-end diplomatic outreach to Iran as a necessary prelude to force. But only days earlier, the U.S. position at the P5+1 talks with Iran contradicted Biden’s speech. The West made serious concessions at the latest round of talks—concessions that would, if accepted by Tehran, allow the Iranians to keep their underground facility at Fordow and enable them to go on enriching uranium. The Iranians did not accept these terms, but the retreat may have reinforced their conviction that neither Obama nor America’s allies are the least bit serious about preventing them from realizing their nuclear ambition. As long as the United States engages in such talks and makes it clear that it will allow the sort of conditions that will help Iran to go nuclear, as North Korea did after similar agreements, it will be hard for the ayatollahs to take Biden’s bluster seriously.

Mistaking Hate Speech for Academic Freedom

In February, New York City’s Brooklyn College was the site of a dispute over the institution’s hosting a conference celebrating the BDS movement that seeks to boycott, divest, and sanction the state of Israel. But the focus of the dispute was not on the spurious judgment that led the college to be the venue for a hate fest. Rather, it was those protesting this decision who came in for most of the brickbats. Leading the charge was Michael Bloomberg, who claimed that those opposed to a city institution sponsoring such an event should go to North Korea. Bloomberg thought the issue at stake was academic freedom. The point of BDS, however, is the waging of economic war against the one and only Jewish state in the world. As such, BDS is a manifestation of prejudice against Jews, not just another opinion about world affairs. No affiliate of the City University of New York or any other state- or city-funded entity would be allowed to promote a similar event on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan or any other group that promoted racial or religious persecution. Those who defend such events are granting an undeserved pass to hate speech.

No Place for Israel at UK Campuses

While American colleges roll out the welcome mat for those seeking the Jewish state’s destruction, the increasingly hostile atmosphere for Israelis at British academic institutions is getting worse. At the University of Essex, a campaign was launched to prevent an Israeli diplomat from speaking, and at Oxford University, radical parliamentarian George Galloway stormed out of an event rather than share a platform with an Israeli. The driving force behind these actions is an ideology that treats the existence of Israel as a crime that must be expunged or avenged.

Not Just Toulouse

The year 2012 will always be remembered by French Jews for the murder of three Jewish children and a teacher at the hands of a radical Muslim gunman outside their school in Toulouse. That incident was the most egregious instance of French anti-Semitism last year, but it was far from isolated, according to a report on hate in the country. In 2012, anti-Jewish attacks in France increased by 58 percent over the previous year as the safety of French Jews was repeatedly threatened. The rise is linked to the anti-Jewish incitement inside the nation’s large Muslim population as well as to anti-Israel attitudes among European elites.

The Oscars’ Inside Joke

Sophisticates heaped abuse on the Anti-Defamation League and others who protested a comedic routine at the Oscars ceremony this year about Jewish control of Hollywood. Host Seth MacFarlane’s jokes—spoken by his animated bear, Ted—raised the idea that Jewish identity and support for Israel were required if an actor wanted to work in Hollywood. There’s little doubt most of those at the ceremony and watching at home in the United States understood that this was not an endorsement of prejudice but, like MacFarlane’s animated television comedy shows, mere satire. However, the ADL’s dudgeon should not be dismissed as clueless or hypersensitive. Throughout most of the globe, Ted’s jokes are not a laughing matter but widely held beliefs promoted by radical Islamists and other forces for hate. Even in enlightened Europe, there is, as the State Department reported last year, a rising tide of anti-Semitism. In that context, what is merely an inside joke in the United States must be seen in a very different and quite sobering light.

About the Author

Jonathan Tobin is senior online editor of COMMENTARY.




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