Leading international Jewish rights NGO issues travel advisory for Turkey
Turkish protestors shout slogans during a demonstration to denounce the Israeli military operations in Gaza on July 18, 2014 in front of the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul. Israel decided to pull some of its diplomatic staff out of Turkey in the wake of violent protests targeting the buildings of its embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, an embassy spokesman said. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSEThe Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading international Jewish rights NGO, has issued a travel advisory, labelling Turkey’s current climate as a “prescription for disaster" in reference to the pro-Palestinian protests that led the Israeli government reduce its diplomatic presence in Turkey.
"Recent acts of violence, rioting, threats and insults against Israel and Jews--including Turkey's historic Jewish community--by national leaders and personalities, are prescriptions for disaster," Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center's associate dean, said in a statement released on July 18.
"When Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip) Erdoǧan falsely describes Israel's self-defense against Hamas as 'genocide'; when calls for the elimination of Jews are backed by the mayor of Ankara; when a popular Turkish singer tweets that it will be 'Muslims who will bring an end to those Jews' and 'May God bless Hitler', it cannot be business as usual," the Rabbis charged.
"For hundreds of years, Turkey has served as a safe haven for Jews who were fleeing from persecution and intolerance. It is tragic that today the world is witnessing the scapegoating of Turkish Jews—people who have no input or influence over any actions taken by the state of Israel," Hier and Cooper continued in the statement.
"Finally, we call on NATO Secretary General (Anders Fogh) Rasmussen to denounce the anti-Jewish campaign in Turkey. NATO was created to defend democracies and freedom, not bullies and bigots," the Rabbis concluded.