High levels of Jew-hatred in Iran and Turkey - US gov’t report

Iran released the results of its third Holocaust denial cartoon contest in January, as well as the other submissions.

 Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and military commanders watch as military equipment passes by during a ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Iran April 18, 2022. (photo credit: PRESIDENT WEBSITE/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and military commanders watch as military equipment passes by during a ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Iran April 18, 2022.
(photo credit: PRESIDENT WEBSITE/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom published a new report on Monday, detailing shockingly disturbing levels of antisemitism in Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Iran also continued to spread antisemitism," the report said. "It released the results of its third Holocaust denial cartoon contest in January. Several submissions critical of Israel contained explicitly antisemitic tropes. In December, a state media outlet criticized a Shab-e Yalda display reminiscent of a Jewish Sukkah as a ‘distortion.’” 

The commission listed the clerical state as a “country of particular concern” – the most severe designation – because of its harsh treatment and repression of religious minorities and freedom.

The USCIRF report took Turkey to task for state-sponsored Jew-hatred. “Government officials at various levels expressed antisemitism through statements and social media posts. In May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used antisemitic language in a televised speech, prompting strong condemnation from the U.S. Department of State."

The study added that  “In November, a court in Bursa ruled that a man who called President Erdogan ‘a Jew’ on social media had insulted the president, and it ultimately convicted the man and fined him... 7,000 Turkish lira [$472]. President Erdogan’s lawyer argued that the remark was ‘humiliating [and] damaging to his honor and respectability.”’

''Holocaust, A Lie” - a cartoon printed by the Iranian government. (credit: Courtesy)''Holocaust, A Lie” - a cartoon printed by the Iranian government. (credit: Courtesy)

According to the commission, “In other instances of antisemitism, unknown individuals set fire to the gateway of a disused synagogue, and online groups hacked and carried out cyberattacks on Salom, Turkey’s only Jewish newspaper, and Avlaremoz, a Turkish-language Jewish news platform. “

Aykan Erdemir, the director of International Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, and a former Turkish lawmaker, tweeted: "Alarming tally of the antisemitic incidents recorded in #Turkey over the past year as reported in USCIRF.”

Turkey is classified on the "Special Watch List (SWL),"  a lesser designation than CPC, for its crackdown on religious freedom and minorities.

In Yemen, where the Iranian regime’s proxy, the Houthis, have seized large swathes of territory, the USCIRF said that “The group’s slogan, posted widely throughout Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, includes the phrase ‘a curse on the Jews,’ and the tiny remaining Jewish community faced ongoing and severe repression from Houthi authorities, [who] continued to detain Jewish prisoner of conscience Libi Marhabi despite a court order for his release.”

The Arab Republic of Syria, according to the report, where “Jews are nearly nonexistent,” has “preserved synagogues and promoted outreach to exiled Syrian Jewish communities abroad.” However, it added that "this likely was an attempt to maintain its posture of paternalism toward religious minorities.”