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Turkey’s Anti-Semitic, Anti-Democratic, Pro-Erdogan Hit Television Drama

One of Turkish television’s most popular series, The Last Emperor, tells of the final years of Sultan Abdulhamid II—before he was overthrown in 1909 by advocates of constitutional monarchy. While Abdulhamid is still remembered by many in Turkey as the ruler who revoked the Ottoman empire’s short-lived first constitution, instigated bloody pogroms against Armenians and other minorities, and cultivated a pan-Islamist ideology, the show makes him its hero. Aykan Erdemir and Oren Kessler describe its depiction of his opponents:

Of all the series’ villains, none are more sinister than the Jews. Two minutes into its very first scene, Abdulhamid is riding in a procession in Istanbul when a mustachioed onlooker flips a coin into the hand of one of the royal guards. The soldier opens his hand to find the coin is etched with a Star of David surrounding a squat cross in the style favored by Crusaders and Freemasons. The signal thus received, dozens of his fellow guards turn around and open fire on the royal carriage. The screen fades to black—and to the crescent moon that accompanies the mournful opening theme.

Later in the episode we learn that underneath the coin-flipper’s Ottoman fez is the black skullcap of a Catholic priest, for he is a Vatican emissary working for none other than Theodor Herzl, the Jewish Austrian journalist who founded modern Zionism. Herzl, his beguiling assistant Sarah, and their various co-conspirators are forever haunting Istanbul, meeting with wayward members of the sultan’s family who are themselves intoxicated by deviant, imported ideas such as popular sovereignty. Herzl is the series’ arch-villain, so perfidious as to hold his penniless father imprisoned without his mother’s knowledge — all because the old man opposes Zionism. . . .

As with much of The Last Emperor, most of [what involves Jews is inaccurate]. . . . . [But] this revisionism would be less egregious if the show portrayed itself—accurately—as historical fiction. Instead, a split-second screen at the start of each episode declares that the program is “inspired by real historical events.” . . . President Erdogan [praised the show himself], telling state TV, “The same schemes are carried out today in the exact same manner. . . . What the West does to us is the same; just the era and actors are different.”

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arts & Culture, Ottoman Empire, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Television, Turkey

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC