Major American-Jewish Organizations May no Longer Back Turkey in Congress

By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier , Glendale CA, 28 January 2009

There are serious indications that Israel and American-Jewish organizations are no longer willing to support Turkey’s lobbying efforts to block a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier , Glendale CA, 28 January 2009

There are serious indications that Israel and American-Jewish organizations are no longer willing to support Turkey’s lobbying efforts to block a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

The dispute between the two strategic allies began with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan harshly denouncing Israel’s incursion into Gaza and accusing the Jewish state of committing crimes against humanity. He suggested that Israel be barred from the United Nations as mass demonstrations were held throughout Turkey with banners that read: "Gaza will be a grave for Israel" and "Put Israel on trial for war crimes." Israel’s Consul General in Istanbul, Mordehai Amihai, told Milliyet that the consulate received hundreds of anti-Semitic e-mails every day during the fighting in Gaza.

Initially, Israeli officials expressed their displeasure through diplomatic channels. But as the anti-Israel rhetoric intensified, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister publicly warned Turkey that Tel Aviv might retaliate by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. Last week, Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert invited the leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic to dinner in Jerusalem after their summit meeting in nearby Egypt. Significantly, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul, who also had attended the summit, was excluded from the dinner.

American-Jewish organizations, which had for years supported Turkey’s denialist agenda on the Armenian Genocide in the U.S. Congress, were highly incensed by the Turkish condemnations of Israel. The American Jewish Committee sent a letter to Erdogan on January 8, to express its "grave concern over recent official statements" by Turkey’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. On January 21, a second letter was sent to Erdogan, this time signed by five leading American-Jewish organizations, expressing their "profound concern over the current wave of anti-Semitic manifestations in Turkey."


In their joint letter, the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs complained about "gravely distressing" recent incidents: "Protestors besieging the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul have expressed their hatred of Jews. Billboards around Istanbul are full of anti-Jewish propaganda posters. The door of a Jewish-owned shop near Istanbul University was covered with a poster that said, ‘Do not buy from here, since this shop is owned by a Jew.’ The defacing of an Izmir synagogue has brought about the temporary closure of all but one of that city’s synagogues." The American-Jewish groups also stated that the Jewish community in Turkey feels "besieged and threatened. A connection is clearly perceived between the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials and the rise of anti-Semitism."


Ironically, Abraham Foxman, ADL’s National Director, who is now complaining to Prime Minister Erdogan about anti-Semitism in Turkey, had presented a prestigious award to him in 2005. Foxman conveniently overlooked the fact that four days before he gave that award to Erdogan, the Middle East Media Research Institute, based on a report from Hurriyet, revealed that Erdogan in 1974 had written, directed and played the lead role in a play called "Maskomya," an acronym for the triple "evils" of Masons, Komunists (Communists), and Yahudis (Jews).


Having given Erdogan one of ADL’s highest awards, Foxman must have been shocked by the Turkish Prime Minister’s recent criticisms of Israel. Foxman told Milliyet last week: "Turkey was our friend. We were friends. I still can’t believe it. I am very sad and confused. The Jews in Turkey are threatened…. They feel encircled…. The Prime Minister spoke very harshly. We were friends. How did we come to this situation?" Jacob Isaacson, an official of the American Jewish Committee, was also unhappy with the Turkish reaction. "Once you start poisoning the well, you do not know where it leads," he said. Moreover, an unnamed American-Jewish leader was quoted as saying: "This time, we are going to face great difficulty. In the past, we defended the Turkish position, not only because Turkey was right, but also because we were friends." Yet another American-Jewish official, washing his hands from further involvement in Turkey’s lobbying efforts on the Armenian Genocide, told Milliyet: "Count us completely out of this problem. We don’t believe Congress should deal with it. Let Armenia and Turkey resolve it between them."


In another indication of diminishing support for Turkey among Jewish circles, Prof. Benjamin Yafet advised this writer that he had "very reliable information that all major American Jewish organizations are now fed up with Turkey and are ready to support the Armenian Genocide resolution."


It appears that this time around Israel and American-Jewish organizations will not be as forgiving as they have been in the past, in the face of persistent and vicious anti-Semitic attacks emanating from Turkey. After the loss of lobbying support from American-Jews, Pres. Obama’s election, and Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, Turkey is expected to have great difficulty in the coming months to block a renewed attempt to pass a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. Faruk Logoglu, Turkey’s former Ambassador to Washington, should know! He told Milliyet: “The Jewish lobby is the strongest in the United States and the only one supporting Turkey. Therefore, the letter of disappointment sent to Erdogan [by 5 Jewish groups] is of great importance.”


To listen to this writer’s hour-long interview with radio KZSU Stanford on this subject, please click on Radio For All .

  1. Shame!

    I can’t believe how sensitive the Jews are!!! 

    We live in an open society where there is freedom of expression. we have always been good and loyal friends of Jews and throughout history we have proven this enough. Israel just can’t take criticism.  What’s going on in Gaza is just wrong and nothing is wrong with saying that. Should we applaud them? Congratulate them or approve them?

    Mind you the Jews in Turkey have always been in key profiles and still are.
    Recently one of the richest Jewish Turkish families committed a crime in Turkey and the alleged person can not be  found because he is protected by our own prime minister.

    What the heck blackmailing us with Armenian Genocide. I find it ridicilious. Their friendship actually is the one that should be questioned. For centuries we have lived with them and supported them. 


    1. How naive…

      I am not surprised of your naive thinking, however, I would agree in several of the points that you are making, which contradicts your thinking:

      1. Erdogan’s accusations towards Israel and Jews might be fair, however coming from a person who’s nation and grandfather have committed even worse genocides to Armenians, Greeks, Cypriots, Assyrians, Kurds and more…it’s ironic.
      2. Yes, the Jews are on high profile, as were the Armenians in 1915, but what happened to them??
      3. Don’t you forget that your nation and rules have been carved by the Jews; Ataturk was a Jew as well as most of your leaders.  Jews have taken over your country and you need to wake up and take it back!!  they are using Turks to their benefit.
      4. It’s funny that you are accusing Jews to be so pissed off at Erdogan, but you are not tolerant if anyone will criticise Turkey or Turks, it goes both ways.
      5. Nobody’s blackmailing anyone, it’s the truth that needs to come-out so we can live in peace.  Learn from Germany, they admitted their guilt and now everyone respects them.
      6. Allah is already punishing the Turks for their crimes against humanity – Turkey is not independant, it relies on aid from several nations to survive, it can’t live without USA, can’t live without Jews, have no culture, have no future and are despised and used by all nations that deal with them…
  2. You mention organisations

    You mention organisations like "the Middle East Media Research Institute" as if they are respected organisations.

    It was founded by
    Meyrav Wurmser and Yigal Carmon. Google them.The purpose of this group is not to promote peace and love but only hatred towards Muslims/Arabs and anyone else they might not like, of course in favour of Israel. Research these names and learn about all they are linked with.

    It just annoys me a lot that these groups get mentioned as if they a reputable and do not have an agenda.

    1. Middle East Media Research Institute

      I am in agreement with Adam. The so-called Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is a propaganda arm of the Israeli government. It monitors Arab and Moslem media 24/7, and whenever it finds something that could portray Arabs and Moslems in dark light, it spreads the item around the globe with the help of other Zionist propagandists and lobbyists. For example, every day Arab TV and radio air thousands of programs using countless hours over a 24 hour period. When MEMRI locates anything that could depict Arabs/Moslems in a negative manner, it zooms on it pronto. The other day, an Egyptian cleric–fundamentalist and not too bright–said some absurd things over his TV program. Guess what: all the reasonable, credible things said over all those thousands on Arab/Moslem TV and radio went unreported by MEMRI, but the loony cleric’s brief sermon went around the globe via youtube. I am surprised that Sassounian isn’t aware that MEMRI’s specialty is black propaganda against Arabs, particularly Palestinians.

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