Friday, October 16, 2009

Turkish TV show may boost antisemitism

A Turkish TV drama showing Israeli soldiers as child-killers may boost incitement against the country's 26,000 Jews. Meanwhile relations between Turkey and Israel have taken a turn for the worse:

( Turkey, Israel’s erstwhile ally in the north which abruptly called off a joint air exercise with Israel this week, is broadcasting a TV series depicting IDF soldiers as child killers.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded sharply: “The television series broadcast on Turkish TV constitutes the most serious level of incitement,” he said, “and it is being done with state sponsorship.” Lieberman has issued instructions to summon the Turkish Ambassador to a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials to protest the broadcasting of the series.

The TV shows “bear no connection whatsoever to reality,” a Foreign Ministry announcement stated, “presenting IDF soldiers as murderers of innocent children. It is not worthy of broadcast even in hostile states - and certainly not in a state that maintains full diplomatic relations with Israel.”

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Scenes on the shows include “Israeli soldiers” cold-bloodedly shooting an Arab girl to death, killing Arab youngsters who throw rocks, kicking and pushing elderly Arabs, and the like. A brief scene is even shown of a line of Palestinian Authority Arabs standing before an Israeli firing squad.

Broadcasts of the weekly series, entitled “Separation (Ayrilik) ,” began this past Tuesday on the Turkish public television station TRT1.(...)

The direction of future Turkish-Israeli relations is not clear; until now, Turkey's army has led an approach that is sympathetic to Israel, but of late, the increasingly anti-Israel government appears to be setting the tone. Turkey also announced this week that it would soon hold a joint military exercise with Syria.

Jews in Turkey say the incitement is nothing new. “Israelis are always depicted as the bad guys and the Palestinians are the good guys,” a Turkish Jewish leader told Ynet. “During the Gaza War, they never showed both sides – only the Palestinian side… But we sense no change in how Turkey relates to us both as Jews and as Israelis.”

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

(Beniz) Saporta (of the Jewish community leadership) said Ayrilik depicted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict differently than how some of the Jews of Istanbul view it.

"It was being portrayed as a war of religion," she said. "But it's a war over land. It's a political problem."

Saporta said she was wary of a potentially dangerous future for Turkey's Jews. "This is bothering us, because we think it may increase anti-Semitism," Saporta said, although she did not know of any recent anti-Semitic occurrences stemming from the events of the past week.

Ayrilik producer Selcuk Cobanoglu told Israel Radio on Thursday that the soldiers depicted in the drama "are not Israeli soldiers," but it was clear to Saporta what was being presented.

No pro-Israel rallies or educational programs are being planned by community members or the Rabbinate at this time, according to Saporta, although the Rabbinate was still formulating an organized response to the media on Thursday.

The Israeli Embassy in Ankara sounded cautious, with one representative saying, "The situation is problematic, but we don't want to blow it out of proportion."

A representative from the Jewish Agency said that its emissary in Istanbul would not be allowed to speak on the topic of Jews in Istanbul because the matter was "very delicate."

According to the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey's Web site, there are around 26,000 Jews in Turkey. The vast majority live in Istanbul, with Sephardim making up 96 percent of the community.

There are about 100 Karaites, an independent group that does not accept the authority of Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva, known as the hahambasi.

There are currently 19 synagogues in Turkey, with Neve Shalom in Istanbul's Galata district being the largest.

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1 comment:

Rafael said...

Manuilsky, a prominent Soviet professor at the School of Political Warfare, said: "The bourgeoisie will have to be put to sleep. We shall begln by Launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard-of concessions. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends." And Khrushchev, a more contemporary Soviet prime minister, said: "We cannot expect Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find out they have Communism.''