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Press Release - JINSA and Major Organizations Protest Anti-Semitism to Turkish PM

New York - January 21, 2009 - JINSA and four other major Jewish organizations today sent a letter to the Prime Minister Erdogan expressing concern over the current wave of anti-Semitic manifestations in Turkey

Dear Prime Minister Erdogan:

We write to express our profound concern over the current wave of anti-Semitic manifestations in Turkey.

Many recent incidents are gravely distressing to us. 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.

To be sure, we disagree with your government's view of the situation in the Gaza Strip and with some of your own harshest statements. We firmly believe that responsibility for the conflict lies with the terrorist group Hamas, and that Israel is permitted, indeed obligated, to exercise its right of self-defense. We should certainly agree, however, that such differences of opinion do not justify any display of anti-Semitism in Turkey or elsewhere.

Turkey rightly prides itself on many centuries of coexistence with Jews. But today, our Jewish friends in Turkey feel besieged and threatened. A connection is clearly perceived between the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials and the rise of anti-Semitism.

We fully recognize the importance of Turkey and appreciate its role within the region. We have been longstanding friends of the Republic of Turkey and have always valued our relationship with your Government. In the spirit of this historic relationship, we express our deep concern and, recalling your earlier denunciation of anti-Semitism as a "crime against humanity," call on you to urgently address these disturbing developments.

Respectfully,

David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director
Anti-Defamation League

Daniel S. Mariaschin
Executive Vice President
B'nai B'rith International

Malcolm Hoenlein
Executive Vice Chairman
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Thomas Neumann
Executive Director
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs

Jewish Institute for National Security of America
1101 14th Street, NW, Suite 1110
Washington, D.C. 20005

(202) 667-3900 Office • info@jinsa.org