Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency tweeted a list of Jews in the new Biden
administration and marked them with an Israeli flag in an antisemitic post that builds on a series of articles and outbursts by commentators in Turkey targeting American Jews.
In a tweet about the “high number of Jewish
people in Biden’s team,” Anadolu ostensibly was asserting that this topic had received “widespread coverage in the Israeli press.” In fact the story naming people who have Jewish heritage in the new US administration was based on a January 20 article in the JTA.
The post was clearly designed to single out Jewish members of the administration and included Israeli and American flags, a dog whistle that indicated to viewers that Jews in the administration were somehow suspect and linked to Israel. Turkish media has not singled out Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims or other groups and added flags of a foreign nation to posts about them.
The post singled out Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, nominee for attorney-general Merrick Garland, Secretary for Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, CIA Director Avril Haines, Chief of Staff Ronald Klain, and other key officials like Wendy Sherman and David Cohen. “Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and Treasury Minister Janet Yellen are the leading names of Jewish origin preferred by Biden and well known to the public,” the article said.
This follows an article at the social media site Clash Report on January 24, which frequently publishes pro-Ankara tweets about Turkish military successes, and posted that Jews were “over-represented” in the Biden administration. On January 9 the pro-government far-right Yeni Safak newspaper ran an article asserting that Jews control America and the Biden administration. “America is a guinea pig for Jewish power, from which the Jews produced and legitimized their hegemony around the world. Jews have been using America as a guinea pig for nearly a century: there is no such people as the American people, there is no such state as the American state,” the article proclaimed.
While Ankara’s pro-government media may say it is merely reporting the “number” of Jews in the US government, it didn’t have similar reports targeting the Trump administration. Turkey’s government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been anti-Biden and has also compared Israel to the Nazis.
Turkey hosts Hamas which reportedly plans terrorist attacks from Turkey. Turkey’s ruling party and Hamas are both linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas and the Brotherhood both have a history of pushing antisemitic conspiracies, including those linked to the Nazis and Elders of Zion hoax.
Malaysia’s former leader Mahathis Mohammed, also an ally of anti-Israel extremists and Turkey’s ruler, has pushed the same antisemitic concepts. He once told an Islamic gathering that Jews “rule the world by proxy” and claimed Jews are behind wars throughout the globe. Mohammed, nevertheless, received invitations from Columbia, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and then denied the Holocaust and accused Jews of being “hook nosed” around the time of his university talks.
Turkey’s regime is increasingly pushing hate speech against minorities, singling out gay rights activists as “deviants” and sounding more and more like Iran’s regime in anti-gay rhetoric.
Turkey has increasingly seen antisemitic conspiracies pushed online, mirroring and borrowing from similar social media and chat groups in places like Pakistan which frequently single out Jews as hate figures.
A Turkish summer camp in 2019 taught children to shout “death to the Jews.”
And yet, Turkey has also memorialized the Holocaust recently and has historically sheltered Jews in previous centuries.
But while Turkey’s current leadership frequently uses the Holocaust as a reference, it often accuses Israel of acting like Nazis and claims that European countries treat Muslims like they once treated Jews.
Turkey is the largest jailer of journalists in the world, so the fact that its pro-government media can openly print antisemitic articles points to state support and approval. Hatred of the Biden administration, of Israel, gay rights, Kurdish activists, left-leaning students and Jews appears to coalesce into one conspiracy-laden view in Ankara.