Netanyahu at home 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
After weeks of rhetorical restraint in the face of Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan’s constant Israel bashing, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
responded directly for the first time Monday, telling The Jerusalem Post that
Erdogan’s claim that Israel had killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and
was using the Holocaust to perpetuate its own victimhood were both “outrageous”
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“These are outrageous charges against Israel that have
nothing to do with the facts,” Netanyahu told the Post in a Rosh Hashana
interview that will be published in full on Wednesday.
welcomes, PA rejects Quartet's proposal
Erdogan, during an
interview Sunday with CNN, said Israel has killed hundreds and thousands of
Palestinians, while Palestinian rockets and bombs have killed only a few
Netanyahu said that Israel has lost thousands of its citizens
to Palestinian terrorism, and certainly has not taken the lives of hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians.
“I regret that we hear these statements from
the leader of Turkey,” he added. Regarding Erdogan’s comments about the
Holocaust, Netanyahu said, “We don’t use the Holocaust, the Holocaust was the
worst crime in history perpetuated against our people.”
“To hear this
allegation at the beginning of the 21st century, just 60 years after Holocaust,
is outrageous,” he added.
Netanyahu, whose comments came just hours after
returning from New York, said that Turkey is a country that – according to OECD
reports – has the worst record of press freedom in Europe, “with journalists
jailed and press freedom curtailed.”
“In Israel we are used to telling
the truth,” he said, “and the truth is that these allegations are completely
Asked if – in light of Erdogan’s constant threats, including the
threat of sending gunboats to accompany vessels to Gaza – Israelis should be
worried about a military confrontation with Turkey, Netanyahu said, “I think
that serious leaders in the Middle East know they have a common interest to
maintain peace and stability. I think that no one would have doubts about the
preference of keeping stability and peace in our area. I think that is something
that is a shared interest by many – despite the ebb and flow of
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, lashed out at
Erdogan at an Israel Beiteinu pre-Rosh Hashana toast on Monday, calling his
administration “a radical Islamic extremist leadership that supports and
He mocked Erdogan’s accusations against Israel in media
interviews during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Erdogan on CNN, and I think [his performance] was great for us,” Lieberman
“If I wanted to improve Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy], I would
buy media outlets around the world and have Erdogan talk from morning until
night.”Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.