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The Turkey-Israel Clash on Gaza: The American Jewish Committee Joins In

Update: On Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad praised Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s stance in Davos: “You interpreted the emotions of nations in the world. Iranian people hail your dignified attitude with the sincerest heart.” After the speech, hundreds of Iranians organized demonstrations to show their "respect" and left roses in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tehran.

The response indicates that Iran is hoping to use Erdogan's position to improve relations with Turkey, breaking the US-backed Sunni isolation of Iran's policies in the Middle East.

The American Jewish Committee has now joined the debate over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s denunciation of Israeli actions in Gaza, calling Erdogan's act a "diplomatic impoliteness" and “a public disgrace that may well encourage further outrages against Israel and Jews.”

“Prime Minister Erdogan’s tantrum at Davos throws gasoline on the fire of surging anti-Semitism,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. Harris added that Israel must respond to Erdogan's provocation. And, in his assurance that “the relationship between Turkey and Israel is a vital one that has enjoyed the support of American Jews”, there was a veiled threat. American Jewish lobbies might withdraw their support for Turkey against attempts to pass a "genocide resolution" in the US Congress condemning Turkish killing of Armenians in the 20th century.

On 21 January, a week before Davos, the AJC, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs sent a letter to Erdogan detailing their worries over "increasing anti-Semitist activities" in Turkey. Thus the ongoing interaction between the "harsh statements" on Israel by Erdogan and the efficiency of the counter-statements by pro-Israeli US organizations are more significant than what happened on the stage in Switzerland.

Indeed, the respond of the US organisations indicates that Erdogan's campaign may be short-lived. Both the international and regional politics are not conducive for a sustained position against Tel Aviv, given the long-term indispensability of Turkey and Israel for each other. Erdogan's "bold" behavior in Davos is more likely to be an investment in his future electoral prospects rather than in a changed Ankara strategy.

Reader Comments (1)

Edgorans purpose may be much more sinister . He may see his stance as one which might ingratiate him with the Arab world, Indeed he may have aspirations to lead it.Either way it will not harm his relationships with Syria or Iran,
This leaves open the Turkish flank which is pressing for ultimate entry to the EU.
The EU meanwhile remain highly nervous about advancing relationships with Turkey where sharia law in all but name coexists with secularists law.
This suspicion and apprehension concerning Turkey joining Europe is strongly resisted most vocally by the Vatican, In one of his many papal gaffes ( if indeed gaffes they were ) Benedict V1 has said that Turkey does not belong to the European family. France is in broad agreement with this position but is happier tto let the Vatican articulate this view rather than France , given France's own Arab population , who have been ghettoized largely unheeded by the world press for the past 6 years

February 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdon mac namara

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