In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
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 is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
You must log in to post a comment.
The growing revelations that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty.
We must confront Islamist groups with what Prime Minister David Cameron referred to as “muscular liberalism.”
Al-Qaradawi’s visit and statements also serve as a reminder that the Israeli-Arab conflict is centered, more than ever, around religion.
Everyone who reads newspapers should know at least one thing. Threats to annihilate Israel have always been unremarkable. Almost never, it seems, have Israel’s existential enemies sought any reason for concealment.
Mark Treyger, a candidate for city council in New York City’s 47th council district, met recently with the editorial board of The Jewish Press at the newspaper’s Boro Park office.
Israel’s government did not want to liberate Jerusalem. Or to be more specific, the Labor and National Religious Party ministers did not want to liberate Jerusalem. “Who needs that whole Vatican?” Defense Minister Moshe Dayan explained at the time.
Last Friday, the Western Wall underwent an unwelcome transformation from sacred site to media circus as the group known as the Women of the Wall sought to hold a decidedly non-traditional prayer service.
Two recent revelations have raised serious questions about the kind of government President Obama is running.
Readers of my monthly Baseball Insider column may have noticed its absence last week (the column appears in the second issue of every month). The reason for that is I have something more serious and personal to share with you, something that didn’t seem appropriate for a baseball column.
Herbert Romerstein died last week after a long illness. With Herb’s passing, we lose not only a good guy but a vast reservoir of knowledge that is not replaceable.
Freedom House recently released its annual report on press freedom throughout the world at an event sponsored by the Newseum in Washington. But along with the usual and appropriate condemnations of dictatorships and totalitarian states, the group decided to slam the one democracy in the Middle East as well as one of the few states in the region where press freedom actually exists: Israel.
What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:
Now is the time for Ankara to take some corrective domestic and foreign policy measures consistent with what the country has and continues to aspire for but fails to realize.
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.
On October 15, the Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve itself. Elections will be held on January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take the step after realizing he could not obtain a majority for his proposed budget.
When Israelis say, “I worry about my grandchildren’s future,” it has a radically different dimension than similar concerns expressed in many other countries.
Since Oslo we have had some Israeli governments emulate Neville Chamberlain’s foolish position. While the current government has not done so, there certainly is vast room for improvement in the presentation of Israel’s case to the world.
There are few societies where the contradiction between Holocaust distortion and Holocaust commemoration is as pronounced as it is in the Netherlands. This phenomenon came to the fore earlier this month on National Memorial Day, May 4, designated to commemorate the many victims of the German occupier. One hundred thousand Dutch Jews – more than 70 percent of the country’s pre-war community – were by far the largest group of victims.
Last month the IDF responded to rockets being launched from Gaza into southern Israel by bombing Gazan targets. It took little time for some media outlets to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer for many other media outlets to highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.
Let us employ a bit of fantasy and assume that Muslim states were intent on assailing the Netherlands. They would claim in the United Nations Human Rights Council that the hundreds of cases every year of euthanasia in the Netherlands, in which the patient is not asked his or her permission, constitutes a severe breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These states could easily muster a majority to have the UNHRC appoint a commission of inquiry into this matter.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-apology-to-turkey-would-distort-history/2011/07/13/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: