The Nazi comparisons seem to increase in the past couple of days. One of the latest perpetrators who cannot help himself: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Commenting on Israel’s recent military offensive in Gaza, Erdogan said the following:
“They curse Hitler morning and night [. . .] however, now their barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s.”
I cannot help but think that the ‘they’ used here implies not just the Israeli military but ‘the Jews’ in general, as is commonplace in the language of antisemitic Islamists everywhere. That sounds very ugly.
And when he claims that Israel’s military actions surpass the cruelties of Nazi Germany, we are clearly in the territory of Holocaust relativism.
I would like to emphasize that in my view, the civilian casualties on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides are a tragedy that I would rather not see happen. And yes, I, too, found the report about a few Israelis watching the spectacle of war from their garden chairs like in a movie theatre—aka ‘Sderot cinema’—somewhat disturbing. To be fair, in the article it says that similar things happened among Palestinians. Then again, Hamas’ rocket attacks aimed at random Israeli citizens are no joking matter either. One must also see these actions in light of the eliminatory antisemitic ideology in Hamas’ charter.
I think there is room for a sober critique of certain aspects of the current Israeli military offensive. This is also the position, for example, of the former head of the Israeli interior security service Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin.
But what Turkish PM Erdogan does here with his likening of the Israeli military to the Nazis betrays no interest in such a nuanced, rational discussion. To claim that the Israeli military acts not only like the Nazis, but worse than the Nazis—how could that be possible?—just reeks of pure antisemitism. Such outlandish hyperbole is unworthy of a head of state.