Netanyahu slams Erdoğan’s words on Israel’s Gaza offensive as ‘anti-Semitic’

Netanyahu slams Erdoğan’s words on Israel’s Gaza offensive as ‘anti-Semitic’

Netanyahu slams Erdoğan’s words on Israel’s Gaza offensive as ‘anti-Semitic’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference. AP Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned as “anti-Semitic” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s criticism of the latest military operation in Gaza, Israeli newspaper Hareetz reported on July 20.

Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone conversation that Erdoğan’s recent remarks, accusing Israel of massacring Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and carrying out war crimes “worse than Hitler” were anti-Semitic, adding that they “desecrated the memory of the Holocaust.”

During an election rally on July 19, the Turkish prime minister slammed the latest military operations, describing Israel as a “terrorist state.” “The terrorist state Israel has attacked Gaza once again, hitting innocent children who were playing on a beach,” he said.

“They always curse [Adolf] Hitler, but they [Israel] now even exceed him in barbarism. Some Americans ask why the prime minister [Erdoğan] makes such comparisons with Hitler. What’s that to you? You’re America, what’s Hitler got to do with you?” Erdoğan added, criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama for stressing Israel’s “right to self-defense” over its military operation in Gaza.

In a phone call with Netanyahu hours before Erdoğan’s speech, U.S. President Barack Obama backed Israeli’s right to self-defense but warned against an escalation in Gaza.

“What self-defense? One Israeli is killed and over 300 Palestinians ... What kind of defense is that? Israel has everything, including nuclear bombs, but they say the Palestinians shouldn’t be armed. With what will they defend themselves then?” Erdoğan said.

On July 18, Israel stated that it was reducing its diplomatic delegation in Turkey to the “minimum required,” following violent pro-Palestinian protests that it linked to the Turkish government’s fiery public criticism of Israel.  

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Turkish police had failed to provide adequate protection for Israel’s embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul, in what it described as a “blatant breach of diplomatic regulations.” It added that envoys’ families were now being repatriated.

Israeli troops have launched an offensive on the Gaza periphery aimed at destroying Hamas’s network of cross-border tunnels on the 13th day of an assault in which more than 370 Palestinians, including many children, have been killed.