Netanyahu channels Martin Luther King to rebuff 'anti-Zionists'

“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.”

December 16, 2018 19:38
2 minute read.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan . (photo credit: GERARD FOUET / AFP)


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Two days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying that criticizing the misconduct of Israel never means antisemitism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday cited Martin Luther King as saying anti-Zionism is Jew-hatred.

“I recently read a cogent remark by the noted American human rights leader Martin Luther King,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting. “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.”

Commending Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for promoting the EU’s recent adoption of a declaration on the fight against antisemitism, Netanyahu said, “Nobody can say that they are not against Americans, but they just think that America shouldn’t exist, just as nobody can say that they are not against Jews, but they think that the state of the Jews does not need to exist. I thank the Austrian Chancellor for working to expose this absurdity, and to precisely define anti-Zionism as a type of antisemitism.”

The EU declaration earlier this month recommend the adoption of the definition of antisemitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “as a useful guidance tool in education and training.”

That definition said that denying the Jewish people their right to self determination is a form of antisemitism. It also said that, among others, “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is another form of antisemitism.

On Friday, Erdogan, a caustic critic of Israel, did just that.

According to the Anadolu Agency, a Turkish news agency, Erdogan said that criticizing the misconducts of Israel never means antisemitism, adding: “Some European countries side with the US and do not raise voices against Israeli occupation policies due to shameful scenes from World War II.”

He then compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust, with the news agency reporting that he said that “bombing children playing ball along the coast of Gaza is a crime against humanity as bad as the Holocaust.”

Erdogan’s comments came at an Inter-parliamentary platform on Jerusalem in Istanbul, in which – according to the report – he accused Israel of trying to deliberately wipe out Jerusalem’s Islamic heritage.

According to the report, he also said Israel is deceiving itself if it believes that it can destroy Jerusalem’s spiritual identity by moving a few embassies and consulates there.

His comments came before Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Canberra now recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and will move a trade and defense office to the city.

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