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Thursday, February 28, 2013

When Kerry meets Erdogan

In an earlier post, I reported that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had referred to Zionism as a crime against humanity, and I asked what Secretray of State John FN Kerry would say to Erdogan when he meets with him on Friday. Noah Pollak of the Emergency Committee for Israel has now released a statement dealing with that very issue.
"Yesterday, at a UN-sponsored conference and in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Zionism is a "crime against humanity." Moon, who was on stage with Erdogan, said and did nothing in protest. But tomorrow, the new Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrives in Ankara to meet with Erdogan.

"What will Kerry say? How will he respond to Erdogan? If he says nothing, he will be turning a blind eye to an explicit denial of the Jewish State's right to exist. The denial of Israel's right to exist is defined by Kerry's State Department as a form of anti-Semitism. Will Kerry stay silent in the face of such a reprehensible statement by a member of NATO, a major recipient of advanced American arms, and -- ostensibly -- a U.S. ally?

"President Obama likes to say that "when the chips are down, I have Israel's back." Erdogan's call for the destruction of Israel does not mean the chips are down. But shouldn't the U.S. president and secretary of state speak out when they hear such a statement? Will American leaders remain silent in the face of eliminationist rhetoric from leaders who seek our good favor? We will see tomorrow whether Secretary of State Kerry and the White House have Israel's back, not when the chips are down, but when the leader of an important country over whom the U.S. has substantial influence speaks in a way that forecasts and encourages the worst kinds of deeds."


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