Turkish PM Sparks Israeli Fury With UN Comments

Criticism of Zionism in Passing Dubbed 'Anti-Semitic' by Israeli Leadership

The comments weren’t even supposed to be directed at Israel.

In a speech at the UN Alliance of Civilizations meeting, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the international community to speak out against Islamophobia, terming it a “crime against humanity” and likening it to “Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism.”

The mention is Zionism in passing was enough to spark a livid reaction from Israeli officials, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemning it as a “libelous” comment, and other Likud officials dubbing it “anti-semitic.”

Demands for apology were quick to follow, with Israeli officials and European Jewish leaders suggested the comments had something to do with the Armenian genocide, seemingly brought up only to get a rise out of Turkey.

All of this falderal over a single comment reflects the ongoing tension in what was once Israel’s strongest regional alliance, which has remained in ruins since the 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara, with Israel’s government still split years later on whether or not to apologize for killing Turkish aid workers on board the aid ship.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.