My experience in Turkey based on two years there is entirely consistent with Giraldi’s point of view.
AntiWar.com, March 07, 2013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in trouble again with Washington and Tel Aviv because he dared to equate Zionism with fascism and anti-Semitism as an ideology or political movement that has brought oppression. Erdogan was speaking at a United Nations sponsored Alliance of Civilizations conference in Vienna dealing with instilling tolerance. He spoke in Turkish, but his words as translated into English were, “It is necessary that we must consider – just like Zionism or anti-Semitism or fascism – Islamophobia is a crime against humanity.” Erdogan was immediately pounced upon by the usual suspects and new American Secretary of State John Kerry was also quick to pull the trigger by saying, “We not only disagree with it. We found it objectionable.” He also stated that the comments did not help the Israel-Palestine peace process. That there is no peace process due to Israel’s unwillingness to countenance an actual Palestinian state with genuine sovereignty is apparently irrelevant, but then again it has been irrelevant to American policymakers ever since 1967, when the Israelis first occupied the remaining land that they had not already taken in the aftermath of the 1947 partition of Palestine.
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I confess that I am defending Turkey partly because I have lived there, speak Turkish, and like the country and its people. It is also a major strategic ally of the United States, which is not true of Israel. Yes, there are many things that could be improved in Turkey but the same could be said in spades about our own country. Indeed, one might reasonably argue that Turkey is becoming more democratic while the United States is becoming less so. But when Prime Minister Erdogan says something that is manifestly true that some find offensive it perhaps would not be churlish to suggest that the critics stick to the actual comments for their rebuttals. I suppose the redirection of the argument is due to the fact that it is very difficult to defend Zionism as it has been practiced in Israel but it would be nice for a change if folks like Rubin, Goldman, and Dreher would somehow figure out that the rest of the world does not necessarily accept the various fictions that have been concocted to justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.