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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Calling a spade a spade

I have so far successfully resisted the temptation to weigh in on the current conflict. And I will continue to hold my tongue for the simple reason that I have nothing helpful to say beyond the following which I shared a few days ago in a more intimate online setting:

I want to ask that people refrain from contemplating and/or assigning blame. It is unhelpful. I cringe when I hear people say they are 'pro-Israel' or 'pro-Palestinian'. This isn't the world cup or some zero-sum game where you root for a side. Wanting anyone to win implies that you also want the other side to lose.

In a just, peaceful solution (as my country has so far achieved - tenuous as it may be - with two of our neighbors), both sides should win and nobody should lose. And by 'win', I mean both sides should enjoy the benefits of peaceful coexistence. That can't happen so long as anyone (here or around the world) actively works and prays for anyone's victory or defeat.

If you can view current events through that mindset, it quickly becomes clear who wants peace and who can't exist without war.

I encourage everyone to follow the news and think critically about what you see. There are state actors involved in the current conflict as well as non-state terror organizations (as defined by the US, EU and UN) that do not represent any state and, in fact, would cease to be relevant the moment a just and lasting peace would be achieved. Don't forget that essential fact for a moment as you scan the news!

That said, I can't remain silent in the face of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most recent hateful, anti-Israel rhetoric.

Today he managed to ignore the fact that Israel heeded a 9:00 AM cease fire while Hamas continued to fire more than 50 unanswered missiles into Israel civilian population centers.

Instead, when after four hours of unabated bombardment Israel resumed military operations to protect its citizens, Erdogan accused Israel of "perpetrating a 'massacre' of Palestinians" and of "committing 'state terrorism'".

But the bit that shattered the last of my resolve to stay silent was his statement this afternoon in which he compared Israel to Adolf Hitler (according to Turkish daily, 'Hurriyet'). [source]

Okay, here's the deal, Recep. As a Turk, you should know a thing or two about Genocide... and about shame.

Specifically, you should be able to differentiate between legitimate self defense and the stated intention to wipe out an entire people. After all, your country murdered a million and a half innocent Armenians in 1915 and created the model on which Hitler built his own grand vision for genocide.

In fact, in his 22 August 1939 speech prior to Germany's invasion of Poland, Hitler famously said:

"Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad – that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

For reasons that have thus far evaded me, the world continues to tip-toe carefully around using the 'G' word in reference to Turkey's massacre of its Armenian minority.

So let's call a spade a spade: Turkey committed Genocide. And they need to face up to their criminal past and national shame. Only then, like Germany, can Turkey accept responsibility and educate its citizens against ever contemplating such evil again.

Accusing Israel of perpetrating genocide is monstrous, and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan is indeed a monster; a throwback to a time when dictators and despots could bend the world to their will with deceptive words as much as unspeakable deeds.

As an afterthought, I would add that I am deeply ashamed of the civilized portion of the world that sits by and raises no objection to such monsters and their vile pronouncements... and even allows them the veneer and cover of membership in legitimate organizations like NATO.

Posted by David Bogner on July 15, 2014 | Permalink

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Yes.
But re: Germany - the past week-end has seen very ugly "pro-Pal" demo marches. Most of the attendants being Turkish/Arab muslim (yes, that's what it was). And all of them shouting from the depth of their lungs "Allahu Akhbar", right after "Israel children killer". Some of the marches heard and saw even worse (the taped evidence would be enough to sue people acc. to German law for severe incitement).
The mob feels so sure about itself. The mob thinks it's totally fine to wish death to Jews (not just Israel). The mob is a dangerous thing, and police just watched. Actually, since pro-Israel bystanders were mostly absent, the mob attacked journalists and police.

Police, by the bye, classified the demos as "majorly peaceful". A slap in the face of every single Jew and Israeli.

Posted by: a. | Jul 15, 2014 7:48:03 PM

That is as clearly and objectively as one can say it. Time for other, more prominent voices to speak!

Posted by: Delmar Bogner | Jul 15, 2014 8:14:53 PM

This Erdogan fellow is a puzzle. Turkey has a cold detente with Israel, he doesn't have direct skin in the game. And yet, here, as at the time of the Gaza flotilla, he has taken an anti Israel stance that nets him nothing vis a vis Israel. Unless in some weird math, he thinks that this will help shore up his country against the eventual Kurdish majority that will one day be ruling it.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 15, 2014 10:24:27 PM

"For reasons that have thus far evaded me, the world continues to dance carefully around using the 'G' word in reference to Turkey's massacre of its Armenian minority."

Because Turkey is a Muslim nation, and thus [according to the beautiful people] are in the class of "noble savage", and thus aren't fully responsible for their behavior (hence the moniker savage). It is for that same reason that the world doesn't hold the likes of Hamas (and ISIS, Fatah, etc) to the same basic standards that it holds civilized people to.

Posted by: Mark | Jul 15, 2014 10:38:15 PM

I condsider Hamas a successor to the German and Japanese racist,fascist,regimes of the last century. Anyone(including you Mr. Erdogan) who supports it, I put in the same boat, deserving of the same ultimate end. I had heard parts of that Hitler speech before,but never read the full paragraph.

Posted by: ED | Jul 15, 2014 11:33:51 PM

As usual, Trepp, you've hit a home run.

Posted by: AtTheBackoftheHill | Jul 15, 2014 11:59:08 PM

David:
This is an example of your writing that should be sent to the op-ed editor of all major publications.
Your words deserve to be seen by a wider audience.
Keep writing.
Michael

Posted by: Michael Harbater | Jul 17, 2014 3:41:46 PM

What Michael Harbater said.

Excellent and thoughtful post. I particularly liked the idea that the resolution to this conflict should produce a win-win solution. If the Gazans could let go of their hatred - and only if - it would be possible.

May you and yours be safe.

Posted by: Elisson | Jul 18, 2014 5:36:53 PM

Yes, very well said! I would love to see a response from him.
I keep reading about this 'genocide in Gaza' and I'm like, does NO ONE understand the definition of that word?!?! A clearer and more recent example would be to look at Mosul Iraq and ask 'where have all the Christians gone?' At least they aren't being used as human shields by their own fathers!!

Posted by: Lynn | Jul 19, 2014 5:28:22 PM

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/09/19/224183763/is-it-racist-to-call-a-spade-a-spade

Posted by: Hedva | Jul 22, 2014 5:08:20 AM

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