Turkey Must Tackle Its Anti-Semitism Problem If It Wishes to Reconcile with Israel

Ankara has been making efforts at repairing its relationship with Jerusalem, and simultaneously at displaying a more benevolent attitude toward Turkish Jewry. In one example, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made public his plans to act as a witness at a wedding in a synagogue in Istanbul. However, argues Aykan Erdemir, the Turkish government must do more than make a few public gestures if it really wants to regain its former ally:

Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Democracy Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2002, is attempting to paper over some ugly truths. The AKP is desperate to overhaul its failed foreign policy—including an ongoing crisis with Russia, fear of Iran’s rising regional hegemony, and the collapse of Turkey’s vision for Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and Syria. With its list of regional enemies mounting, the AKP hopes to steer Turkey back to its traditional allies: the European Union, NATO, and Israel. This is why Erdogan recently toned down his anti-Western rhetoric and miraculously came to appreciate the transactional relationships he can establish with pragmatic counterparts, rather than with the Islamists he was courting just months ago.

Turkey’s government, however, still offers frequent reminders of its hypocrisy on Jews and Israel. Following last month’s suicide bombing in Istanbul, a board member of the AKP’s women’s branch in the city tweeted her wish for the wounded Israeli tourists to have been killed. A few weeks before, a chief adviser to the president appeared in pro-government media to attack political rivals as “raising soldiers for the Jews.” The board member had to leave her post but the chief adviser is still serving. . . .

Turkish-Israeli rapprochement is important for regional stability. A sustainable relationship, however, cannot be built on hypocrisy and silence. Turkish society needs to recognize and confront the pervasive anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment that has taken hold of wide segments of the population, due in large part to the influence of the AKP. A future built on dialogue must start with genuine conversation about the wrongs of the past, but also about the dangerous politics that have led us to this perilous present.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, Turkish Jewry

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7