Erdogan, Netanyahu trade accusations over controversial Israeli law

Erdogan said Israel had shown itself to be a “terror state” by attacking Palestinians with tanks and artillery. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 July 2018
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Erdogan, Netanyahu trade accusations over controversial Israeli law

  • Ankara ordered out Israel’s ambassador in May over the killing of protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip
  • 63 Palestinians were killed on May 14, making it the most bloody day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war

ANKARA, JERUSALEM: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday branded Israel the “most fascist, racist state” in the world after Israel’s Parliament passed a new law defining the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Reacting to Erdogan’s comments, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Turkey was becoming “a dark dictatorship.”
The legislation, adopted after a tumultuous Knesset session, makes Hebrew the national language and defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest. Arabic, previously considered an official language, was granted only special status.
“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu had told the Knesset.
The issue is the latest source of tension between Israel and Turkey, one of the Jewish state’s few key Muslim partners.
The EU’s Foreign Affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, also expressed her concern last week, saying the law would complicate a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“This measure has shown without leaving the slightest room for doubt that Israel is the world’s most Zionist, fascist and racist state,” Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling party.
Erdogan claimed there was “no difference between Hitler’s obsession with the Aryan race and Israel’s understanding that these ancient lands are meant only for Jews.”
“The spirit of Hitler, which led the world to a great catastrophe, has found its resurgence among some of Israel’s leaders,” he added.
Around 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust by the Nazis during World War II.
Erdogan said Israel had shown itself to be a “terror state” by attacking Palestinians with tanks and artillery, adding that the move would “drown the region and world in blood and suffering.”
Hitting back on the Turkish president, Netanyahu accused him of “massacring Syrians and Kurds” and imprisoning “tens of thousands of his citizens.”
Ankara ordered out Israel’s ambassador in May over the killing of protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip.
The protests, which were against the controversial opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on the same day, were the peak of months of border demonstrations.
At least 63 Palestinians were killed on May 14, making it the most bloody day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war.
The strains have threatened a 2016 deal on normalizing ties after the crisis sparked by the May 2010 deadly storming of a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos.
Erdogan regards himself as a champion of the Palestinians and has twice recently held summits of Muslim states to denounce the recognition by the US of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Arab citizens account for 17.5 percent of Israel’s more than 8 million population. They have long complained of discrimination.


How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

Updated 22 April 2019
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How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

  • Brooklyn-born rabbi who demanded forced emigration of Arabs and inspired Israel’s far right is latest subject of Arab News ‘Preachers of Hate’ series
  • As a member of the Israeli parliament, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration

JEDDAH: As Israel’s most right-wing government in living memory prepares to take office, the outlook for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process has rarely been more dismal.

After his narrow election victory this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clinging to office by assembling a coalition of Knesset members with no interest in peace. They range from far-right ultra Zionists to overt racists. Many, in particular the Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power” party, are acolytes of Meir Kahane — a Brooklyn-born rabbi who co-founded the militant Jewish Defense League in 1968,  joined the West Bank settler movement and established an extremist Israeli political party.

It is because of this toxic legacy that Kahane is the subject today of Preachers of Hate — the Arab News series that exposes extremist clerics of all religions and nationalities, places their words and deeds in context, and explains their malign influence on those who follow them.

As a member of the Knesset, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration. 

In the end he proved too extreme even for the Israeli far right; he was disqualified from running for office, and was eventually assassinated in New York in 1990.

Kahane’s hatred lives on, however, in Israel’s continuing rejection of the Palestinian people’s entitlement to basic human dignity, far less a meaningful peace process and an independent state.

As the leading academic and Arab News columnist Yossi Mekelberg writes today: “Few people have contaminated the discourse within Israel with sheer hatred and anti-Arab bigotry as much as Meir Kahane.”

 

Also Read: Meir Kahane: A torch to fuel anti-Arab hatred