The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
The ongoing Turkish request for an Israeli apology over the killing last year of nine pro-Palestinian flotilla activists has been a major hindrance in efforts to improve Israeli-Turkish relations.
The negotiations between Israel and Turkey come at a convenient time. The Turkish elections, during which Prime Minister Erdogan employed anti-Israeli feeling as a propaganda tool, are behind us. There are no great benefits at this time for Erdogan to incite against Israel. Anti-Israel hatemongering is no longer a political necessity. It is more of a luxury, to be used when there are no other pressing issues for the Turkish government.
Putting anti-Israel incitement on ice may even help the Turks as they try to wean Israel, even just a little bit, from its warming relations with Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus – countries that view Turkey’s increased power in the region in a very negative light.
On the other hand, the continuing Syrian riots and their suppression by the country’s government pose a genuine problem for Turkey. Erdogan has no way of knowing whether President Bashir Assad will continue to govern in Damascus and for how long. Another uncertainty is whether Turkey will have to absorb more Syrian refugees.
With large parts of the Arab world in turmoil, there are other developments that require Turkey’s constant attention. Who, for example, will rule Egypt after the autumn elections – and will the new government view Turkish support for Hamas positively or negatively?
There are those who argue that strengthening Erdogan is in Israel’s interests, and if Israel were to apologize for the deaths of those killed on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, Erdogan would avoid losing face after having demanded for so long that Israel “admit its guilt.”
Apologies, say those who push the above argument, are only words; it costs Israel nothing to admit it was at fault.
The Turkish government was, however, heavily involved in many aspects of the flotilla incident. This information can be found in investigative research by Steven Merley, who specializes in political extremism.
Merley exposes Turkish government support for the flotilla, channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. This support included the presence of officials from Turkey’s ruling AKP party at many important Muslim Brotherhood network events in support of the flotilla, as well as a meeting attended by Erdogan himself with a delegation of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and flotilla movement leaders from Britain and France. This get-together took place shortly before the ships left port for Gaza. (“Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011).
Without Turkish government support, the Mavi Marmaraprobably would never have approached Israel’s waters.
Any apology by Israel, however limited and politically calculated, would have far more negative aspects than might seem to be the case at first thought.
Israel and the Jewish people have historical experience with apologies and therefore should have a keen understanding of their importance.
Nations, as well as organizations such as the Red Cross, various church bodies and others, have apologized for their behavior during the Holocaust. Apologies by nature bring something of closure to a debate. The two parties involved jointly agree on their interpretation of the past.
After the collapse of communism, when Israel requested apologies from the newly independent nations in Eastern Europe, there were those who stressed that such apologies would not be genuine. Others maintained that those apologizing were not the ones who had committed the actual crimes.
Israel’s leadership, however, understood that official apologies play an important role as potential anchors in collective memory. They are preserved in archives and become an important source for historians. These apologies will remain well documented for future generations.
Apologizing to Turkey over the flotilla incident would, seen in that light, mean distorting Israeli history forever.
The world has had enough time by now to understand how Erdogan operates. In 2004, out of the blue, he accused Israel of state terrorism. In 2005, he came on a visit to Israel to mend fences. What probability is there that he will structurally change his future behavior in a positive way? When it becomes politically expedient to do so at home, he may well consider it opportune to attack Israel again.
About the Author: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld’s upcoming book, “The War of a Million Cuts,” analyzes how Israel and Jews are delegitimized and how to fight it. He is a former chairman (2000-2012) of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
A record number of hate crimes complaints in Malmö from 2010 through 2011 led to zero convictions
The West must be educated about the cruelty that has become endemic to much of the Muslim world.
Studies show that large numbers of Europeans hold a demonic view of Israel.
Now that several weeks have passed since President Obama’s visit to Israel, it is possible to get a better perspective on many of its aspects. Focus must not only be placed on what was said and done, but also on what was missing.
On February 17, the Dutch Nederland 2 TV station broadcast an interview with Dutch Turkish youth conducted by volunteer youth worker Mehmet Sahin. In the broadcast the youngsters expressed their admiration for Hitler and his role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
Apologies offered by the British Sunday Times for an anti-Semitic cartoon published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day address only one, albeit major, aspect of this issue.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-apology-to-turkey-would-distort-history/2011/07/13/
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