Israel's Turkey embarrassment


By Miriam Shaviv
January 14, 2010
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Jeffrey Goldberg gets it completely right on the scandal of the Israeli deputy foreign minister's deliberate humiliation of the Turkish ambassador. Danny Ayalon has shown himself to be utterly juvenile (as have some Israeli commentators, who have very strange ideas about what constitutes 'national honour').

What's more, this is the man who - as you recall - confessed he had no idea that Michal Kaminski, the Polish MEP he hosted on a visit to Israel, was in any way controversial and the subject of a massive row in the UK, until he read about him on the front page of the JC, waiting to be interviewed in our office.

If Netanyahu can't, for coalitionary reasons, fire Ayalon right now, I hope he is gently eased out sometime in the coming months. He is completely unfit to hold public office.

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 13:22

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Why don't you put this in context by describing what led to it?

It was a Turkish TV series which depicts Israeli intelligence agents as baby-snatchers.

"Valley of the Wolves", popular in Turkey, depicts Israeli intelligence operatives running operations to kidnap babies and convert them to Judaism.

Last October Israel complained over another Turkish series, which depicted Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians. In one clip, an Israeli soldier shoots dead a smiling young girl at close range.

Making the Turkish Ambassadior sit on a low chair pales into insignificance in the face of this revolting antisemitism.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 13:26

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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1142522.html

The Ha'aretz piece you disparage is in fact spot-on.


DLeigh-Ellis

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 13:37

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I think the problem is that the programme wasn't made by the Turkish ambassador, he did not deserve such treatment because of somebody elses antisemitism.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 13:46

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That won't wash. It was shown on the state-sponsored channel. And even if it was not, the Turkish OFCOM-equivalent should have stepped in long ago - it was not the first antisemitic TV show in Turkey.


DLeigh-Ellis

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 13:54

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I wasn't having a go Jonathan, anyway, does Turkey even have a watchdog organisation like Ofcom?

Its not like Britain called in the US ambassador after that South Park episode in which the British tried to invade America, using the snuke, under cover of die-hard-esque terrorist organisation with the Queen shooting herself in the head at the end.

Unfortunately, any antisemitic ideals in the programme have now been overshadowed by Ayalon's inability to engage in discussion. All he needed to do was be a little bit more 'diplomatic,' and the Turkish ambassodor would probably have been forced to concede. Now its a new propoganda war, threatening to increase resentment of the Israeli's in Turkey, and by proxy other Muslim nations too.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:04

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The slight to the Ambassador is trivial compared with the state-sponsored antisemitism on Turkish TV. Anyone who believes otherwise has lost their moral compass.

Anyway Danny Ayalon apologised and Turkey accepted.

http://www.rtuk.org.tr/sayfalar/default.aspx

Of course there is a Regulator!


Miriam Shaviv

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:15

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I am not in any way excusing the Turkish tv programme or claiming that the ambassador did not deserve to be rebuked. However, Ayalon acted in an embarrassing, juvenile and unclassy manner. Since when do you gain 'honour' by humiliating someone else? He behaved with no honour whatsoever.
The idea that 'they're worse than we were' somehow gets Ayalon off the hook is ridiculous.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:19

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I disagree


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:31

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Hoffman and others, what you appear not to grasp is that Turkey is a democracy and in democracies TV stations can broadcast programmes which are abhorrent.
The programme in question, by the way, was anti-Israel, not Anti-Semitic, and it is doing Israel's cause no good if the two are conflated with such gay abandon.
It's worth noting that the Turkish Jewish community has shown more cajones than their British counterparts by saying that Israel's actions were wrong.
True, Ayalon apologised, but I don't find it at all surprising that he made the faux pas in the first place, given that he and his political master are from the racist Yisrael Beiteinu party. If some far right politicians in Europe had made disparanging remarks about Jews in their country like YB politicos make about Israel's non-Jews, Israel would have been the first to take umbrage and return its ambassador.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:31

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Hoffman and others, what you appear not to grasp is that Turkey is a democracy and in democracies TV stations can broadcast programmes which are abhorrent.
The programme in question, by the way, was anti-Israel, not Anti-Semitic, and it is doing Israel's cause no good if the two are conflated with such gay abandon.
It's worth noting that the Turkish Jewish community has shown more cajones than their British counterparts by saying that Israel's actions were wrong.
True, Ayalon apologised, but I don't find it at all surprising that he made the faux pas in the first place, given that he and his political master are from the racist Yisrael Beiteinu party. If some far right politicians in Europe had made disparanging remarks about Jews in their country like YB politicos make about Israel's non-Jews, Israel would have been the first to take umbrage and return its ambassador.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:31

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0 points

Hoffman and others, what you appear not to grasp is that Turkey is a democracy and in democracies TV stations can broadcast programmes which are abhorrent.
The programme in question, by the way, was anti-Israel, not Anti-Semitic, and it is doing Israel's cause no good if the two are conflated with such gay abandon.
It's worth noting that the Turkish Jewish community has shown more cajones than their British counterparts by saying that Israel's actions were wrong.
True, Ayalon apologised, but I don't find it at all surprising that he made the faux pas in the first place, given that he and his political master are from the racist Yisrael Beiteinu party. If some far right politicians in Europe had made disparanging remarks about Jews in their country like YB politicos make about Israel's non-Jews, Israel would have been the first to take umbrage and return its ambassador.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:51

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Just a point of info, the programme is on Show TV, a commercial and not a state-sponsored TV station as someone has incorrectly stated.


DLeigh-Ellis

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:56

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Excellent post Miriam, and excellent reponse too....

I agree, it is the embarassing, almost cringeworthy nature of Ayalon's idea of how to tackle this issue that is the problem for us to deal with.

Unfortunately as Jews we are not in the position to make those who dislike us behave as we wish. We do however, have the power to ensure that those who represent us do so with dignity and honour. In this respect Ayalon's actions undermine efforts by Jews to oppose antisemitism, as they serve to reinforce myths about notions of Jewish supremacy.

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment Miriam, 'The idea that 'they're worse than we were' somehow gets Ayalon off the hook is ridiculous.' It is a point I have been trying to make on these boards for some time.

Jewish priorities should be on educating our own in the values of dignity and tolerance, then we can worry about everyone else.


DLeigh-Ellis

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:57

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EDIT: accidently posted that twice, my bad


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 15:02

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Excellent response Miriam: "Pikeach yode'a le'tzet mematzav she'chacham lo hayah nichnas elav" ("A smart person knows how to get out of a situation that a wise person wouldn't have entered.")


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 15:45

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Tell you what, I bet they set up a JCWatch after Miriam's blog

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