BLOG: How does it feel to be ‘Israeli spawn’ in Turkey?
Haymi Behar - Radikal
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Soma on May 14. AA Photo
As you may have heard, Prime Minister Erdogan allegedly called a shopper in Soma after the mine disaster “the spawn of Israel.”
In case you are interested, I’ll try to explain what it is to be born as “Israeli spawn” in Turkey:
It means having a name and/or surname in Hebrew or Spanish and a middle name in Turkish.
It means being called by your first name at home and by your middle name in the street by the age of 3.
It means developing skills to quickly decide which name to use to introduce yourself by, as soon as you enter a new place.
It means getting used to hearing the question “Why is your last name different?” starting in primary school.
It means your favorite team Fenerbahçe playing against Maccabee Tel Aviv – which you only know by name – and your classmates who go to matches with asking you: “Are you supporting ‘us’ or ‘them?’”
It means internalizing Anne Frank’s Diary as you grow up.
It means being a part of a mere 13 million tribe in a sea of 7 billion in the world, and being a small sample of the 17,000 “spawn brothers” in Turkey.
It means trying to figure out why you are being held personally responsible Jesus’ crucifixion and the killing of Sultan Fatih the Conqueror, even though Jews only make up 0.2 percent of the world’s population.
It means having the ability to have all the answers ready, waiting in your mind, to respond anytime in your life to all these colossal historic questions.
It means trying to create a happy life for yourself while baring the burden of your ancestors having been enslaved, expelled constantly, despised and being the victims of the most massive industrially planned genocide ever committed.
It means keeping in your mind the question, “How did we manage to be the leading actors of so many conspiracy theories with such a small population?”
It means getting used to hearing hate speech and discrimination any God given day.
It means consoling yourself by knowing that you carry the same cultural heritage as people like Einstein, Marx, Jesus and Freud, who all changed the faith of the world.
It means hearing the same lines your grandma used at home from comedians like Woody Allen and Adam Sandler, who tell them to the world.
It means waiting at the end of every movie for the credits, in order to count the number of “Israeli spawn” that were part of making it.
It means complaining about not having enough beautiful “Israeli spawn” like Natalie Portman or Ashton Kutcher.
It means taking pride in the Nobel Prize winners who contribute to science and humanity as “Israeli spawn”
It means being blamed for every good or bad action of the Israeli government, even if you never even stepped foot there.
It means ignoring the curses against your religion, book and faith by everyone, from politicians to street vendors, and still trying to enjoy the sunny days.
It means starting to think, “How did we ever step up from being ‘cowardly Jews to ‘Jews who know how to kill?’”
It means being treated as foreigners by the government agencies of your birthplace, in the country that you love, call your own, pay taxes in and serve the military of.
It means knowing that you can select any profession but cannot enter the judiciary, military or bureaucracy, instead accepting second-class citizen status.
It means getting used to hearing from people who you have just met that all Jews are related to one another.
It means learning to smile in a dialog with white Turks who discriminate, and who when they get caught say “I have a lot of Jewish friends.”
It means praying in synagogues and studying in schools in Turkey and passing through security that is tighter than airports.
It means going to the synagogue and praying that you do not get bombed.
It means leaving the synagogue running out of the door, as if leaving a crime scene.
It means being the first curse that comes to mind with whoever is angry.
It means having a broken heart seeing the new generation of “Israeli spawn” who cannot carry the heavy burden, and instead leave to start a new life in other countries.
It means knowing that there will be no more “Israeli spawn” in Turkey in the next generation, but the hatred will still live on.