US Congressmen are talking Turkey. And it’s no thanksgiving.

US Congressmen ratcheted up their criticism of Turkey Wednesday, warning that Ankara was risking its historically warm ties with Congress by reaching toward Iran and breaking with Israel.

In a press conference defending Israel’s raid on a Turkish-flagged aid ship trying to break the Gaza blockade, several dozen of whose passengers had ties to terror organizations, numerous members of Congress turned their ire toward Turkey.

“Turkey is responsible for the nine deaths aboard that ship. It is not Israel that’s responsible,” declared Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada), who pointed to Turkish funding and support for the expedition.

“If Israel is at fault in any way, it’s by falling into the trap that was set for them by Turkey.”

She continued: “The Turks have extraordinary nerve to lecture the State of Israel when they are occupiers of the island of Cyprus, where they systematically discriminate against the ecumenical patriarch, and they refuse to recognize the Armenian genocide.”

Her comments – which were accompanied by an announcement that Turkish representatives were no longer welcome in her office – touched on sensitive issues with Turkey that the US has often shied away from pressing Ankara on aggressively.

Her words raised the prospect that the US Congress at least would be more assertive about its displeasure with Turkey.

Speaking at the same press conference, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) said he recently warned the Turkish ambassador that “With regard to Congress of the United States, there will be a cost if Turkey stays on its current path of growing closed to Iran and more antagonistic to the State of Israel.”

Among other issues, he said, he was now likely to switch his vote to support a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians during the Ottoman empire as a genocide, a move he had voted against in the past because he thought relations with Turkey were more important.

Turkey has vehemently opposed the resolution, briefly recalling its ambassador to the US when the measure passed a House committee earlier this year.

The Obama administration, in keeping with past administrations, has opposed the resolution moving to the full chamber for a vote because of Turkish sensitivities. Many Jewish lobbies in Washington opposed the resolution on the same grounds.

That argument also resonated in the past with Rep. Peter King (R-NY), another participant in the press conference who said he was now likely to switch positions – as were many other of his colleagues.

King stressed that this wasn’t just about Turkey’s support of the Gaza flotilla and its heavy criticism of Israel, but the government’s move toward Iran and its turn away from running a secular democratic state.

“This is a clear effort, I believe, by Turkey to distance itself from the West, and there have to be consequences for that,” he said.

Indeed, Adam Schiff (DCalifornia) cited Turkey’s opposition to sanctions against Iran in circulating a letter Tuesday calling for his colleagues to take up the Armenian genocide resolution.

“Now is the time to recognize the Armenian genocide.

As Turkey sides with Iran, why defend its campaign of genocide denial?” asked Schiff, who sponsored the resolution.

At this point, Capitol Hill watchers don’t see enough momentum to force a floor vote, given how explosive the resolution would be in the current state of tension between the US, Turkey and Israel. But that could change, and insiders did see dissatisfaction with Turkey pushing forward initiatives to investigate the country’s connection to the flotilla and other moves opposed by Ankara.

The shift in tone, at least, was also evident in a letter Gary Ackerman (D-New York) sent to the Woodrow Wilson Center Tuesday afternoon calling on the think tank to rethink honoring Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with its public service award.

“Publicly honoring Foreign Minister Davutoglu at this time is absolutely inconsistent – absolutely inconsistent – with the mission of the WWC and the ideals that animated President Wilson’s administration and foreign policy,” he wrote in a letter to the center.

At the same time, members of Congress are reaffirming their strong support of Israel and calling on the White House/administration to do the same.

A letter collecting signatures among members urges US President Barack Obama “to remain steadfast in the defense of Israel in the face of the international community’s rush to unfairly judge and condemn Israel in international fora such as the United Nations Security Council.” The letter has the support of many American Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which put out a statement strongly backing the measure Wednesday.

But some have taken issue with it. The progressive J Street lobby urged senators and representatives to amend the letter, or write their own.

“The sign-on letters now circulating in the House and Senate, while expressing strong American support for Israel – a position we endorse – fail to address the impact of the present closure of Gaza on the civilian population, the deep American interest in resolving this conflict diplomatically, or the urgency of moving forward with diplomacy before it is too late,” J Street writes. “By ignoring these critical issues in favor of a simplistic statement that supports Israeli policy and actions, Congress is serving neither the best interests of the United States or of Israel.”

Meanwhile, a number of Jewish groups – AIPAC, B’nai Brith International and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) intend to skip a meeting with members of the Turkish ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party).

“I believe in dialogue and meetings but there is a point at which it becomes useless to have a conversation,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told Haaretz on Wednesday.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

9:18PM: A 17-year-old palestinian has been killed in an explosion in Hebron by” an unknown ordinance.”

Hebron police officer Col. Ramadan Awad said Wahid Rashid was working in his father’s scrap iron workshop when the hydraulic canister exploded.

The area was cordoned off and explosives experts were called to scene, saying the blast was likely caused by a mine.

Awad said an investigation has been launched and are treating the incident as an accident.

A mine? Riiiight.

3:32PM: Elton John is set to perform in concert tonight, in front of more than 50,000 people at the Ramat Gan stadium (unlike the plethora of other performers who have recently canceled, including Santa-Na, and Elvis Bordello)

As Elton posted on his website 3 weeks ago:

elton john“I have always believed that music inhabits a world set apart from politics, religious differences or prejudice of any kind.

“Throughout my career I have made a point of playing concerts in challenging places, such as the USSR and Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Israel in the 1990s and very recently Morocco. Every concert was an enjoyable event for us all and, as I found in Morocco just this last Wednesday, it is always a great experience playing to a new audience in a new country, getting a wonderful warm reception, and hearing the 30,000-strong audience singing along to lyrics that are not in their native tongue.

“Music is, and always will be, a universal language, free from boundaries. It can and does inspire unity and builds bridges between people, and I will continue to play concerts anywhere in the world where I can encourage that unity.”

3:24PM: Not all in Spain are pains. There are those who are sane with brains (sorry for that terrible rhyming attempt, I am busy and tired, a somewhat brutal combination).

José Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, published an opinion article with the London Times Thursday saying the world must support Israel  because “if it goes down, we all go down”.

Aznar, who has joined the ‘Friends of Israel’ campaign to which David Trimble, a foreign observer taking part in Israel’s flotilla raid probe, also belongs, calls on Europe to refuse to put up with cries to eliminate Israel as part of global Christian-Jewish cooperation.

“In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship.”

Aznar also criticizes Turkey, to which the Marmara belonged, for placing Israel “in an impossible situation” in which it would have to either give up its security or face world condemnation.

The former prime minister calls on the world to “blow away the red mists of anger” and take a “reasonable and balanced approach” based on the fact that Israel was created by a decision of the UN and therefore unquestionably a legitimate state.

“Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology,” he adds.

However, he says, “62 years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.”

Aznar says the real threat to the region is extreme Islamism, “which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony”.

“Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large,” he adds.

Aznar concludes by saying that Israel is the West’s first line of defense against the chaos set to erupt in the Middle East, and therefore must be protected.

“It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East,” he writes. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.”

10:05AM: Separated at birth?

6:02AM: Photo of the day: The head of the PA’s Special Second Brigade talks to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as he arrives for the opening ceremony of their base in Jericho.

Salam Fayyad
AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi

“Do you think you could have dressed up a little for the occasion?”

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68 thoughts on “The Day In Israel: Thursday June 17th, 2010”

    1. It has nothing to do with living in sin. If they are living something on a work permit–read: temporary residene–and they begin to put down roots that shows the state that perhaps they have no intention of leaving then the state may assume that they are planning to violate their status as a temporary resident. Most nations have work rules in this sort of genre geared toward limiting the number of 'aliens' ompeting for jobs with nationals. That's all….

      1. i understand….

        however, as whacky as america's work permit rules are…they dont stop people from marrying

        if both are here temporarily for work…then when the permit runs out…they have to go…why kick them out just for getting married?

        gotta be hard to be in a foreign country

        and she is a nurse…is there a shortage of nurses in israel?

        shoot…i shoulda studied nursing…instead of computers

        1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

          One issue is that the left has started a "poor children" business, to stop deportation of children. I have never heard of something like that in the States.

          Of course, America is pretty unique in the world in giving citizenship to aliens born there.

          Elder care people here tend to be Filipino, mostly Filipinas. I don't have any knowledge of the issue, but I would think they are pretty moral. Also, we do have a semi-concept of common-law marriage here; so that could apply. (I was not interested in reading the article.) There are various proposals to extend certain rules, such as the anti-polygamy law, to people living together.

          1. holy gosh…the left in israel are grabbing onto the anchor baby stuff?

            ya, we have that here…its putrid

            thanks to our constitution, if your are born in america, no matter what the circumstance of your parents…you are automatically a citizen.

            this has been used to not break up families who are here illegally…and while the parents may not be able to get benefits…the kids do

            ok…so now i understand…..feel much better

            filipinos here in the states have a high percentage that are in nursing and elder care, didnt know it was a world wide racket

            1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

              Oh, the Filipilos are wonderful, I don't mean to knock them. It's the people trying to use the babies (who are still aliens) to destroy the Jewish character of the country.

              They wanted make a circus of a meeting by bringing in kids, but the Shas minister just refused to attend. The congress could learn something from him.

          2. Nah the entire Left here is obsessed with defending anchor babies. Its a tough constitutional debate in light of the 14th amendment, which is pretty clear cut. But there are arguments. I dont think a baby born here while the mother is on vacation gets citizenship. Similarly, a mother who should not be here, her child may not be legitimate.

          3. “Of course, America is pretty unique in the world in giving citizenship to aliens born there.”

            That seems obvious to me, and should apply everywhere. What other country could you be a citizen of but the one you were born in?

            Where your parents happen to have been born (maybe two different countries) is irrelevant.

            I suppose there have to be rules to deal with cases where the parents are just on a brief visit.

            1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

              No, I believe it is pretty unique in given citizenship to the children of non-Citizens and certainly to non-legal-residents. We Americans often don't realize how different the U.S. really is even from other Western countries.

              I remember talking to the British kids in school. From what I understoof, perhaps incorrectly, is that you can live in Switzerland for generations and not be a citizen, but you can beocme naturalized by giving a speech. I think some people there still valued Swiss citizenship, perhaps remmebering the Nazi era. BTW, if your parent is Israeli, you are at least a partial citizen of Israel ,whether you like it or not. If you show up, I believe they can draft you (not sure how many parents you need).

      1. I think his getting it is that he shut up. Or maybe G-d blew up the oil rig to distract him. In which case, Im angry at G-d for killing several hundred turtles. :'(

        1. The Gulf spill is a definite force majeure distraction.

          Unfortunately, it's not just turtles. This is a major environmental catastrophe, in G-d's world, which He gave us "Le'avdah Ule'shomrah" – to make it productive and to take care of it.

          From what I'm reading, this is practically impossible to cap.

        2. Michael Zvi Krumbein

          Judaism believes in measure-for-measure (by God). Obama sold out Israel for oil, and God gave him oil. Lots of oil.

  1. oops…couple more things

    when is the knesset going to take up acknowledging the armenian genocide and what is up with the whole beis yaakov situation

    are these people suicidal?

    there is no time like now for all of klal yisrael to be united…and ashkenazi families dont want their daughters in the same class as sephardim? and they are willing to go to jail???

    ya…let the world see this chilul hashem….great

    1. While it's a chilul Hashem one way or the other, I am reading here and there that this is not about Sefaradim per se but about modesty standards of a proportion of the Sefaradi girls/families involved.

      Again, from what I am reading, the school is already comprised of 25% Sefaradi girls and no one in the school was questioning their continued attendance.

      The entire story requires first hand research and quotations.

      In any case, I'm much more worried about the Supreme Court playing nanny and sending parents to jail. This tyrannical judicial overreach has got to go. The court needs to be disbanded and the judges tossed either into the streets or into a prison cell for the many people they have sunk their fangs into.

    2. As an addendum to what I wrote, above, see this morning's Jerusalem Post article. Even SHAS has a certain empathy with the protesting parents.

      So this is not all or only about "ethnic" differences. Perhaps there are 2 issues here, with a question of the relative weight of one versus the other. For that, I can't rely on the Israeli press to give me an accurate picture, nor on the warped Supreme Court to repeatedly spew out their own morals for the rest of us "little people", as BP would call us. 😀

      1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

        OK, I am shocked; The JP actually has a proper article on the subject.

        My understanding is that the plan was to send the girls to B'nei Brak, a fun two-hour(?) bus trip each way. But one of the few (only?) non-Ashkenazi members of the Supreme Court will have his fun at the expense of the children.

        According to his decision, shouldn't the Supreme Court itself be dispanded for discriminating against Sephardim?

    3. Michael Zvi Krumbein

      Look, this is a a fake issue. The school is 27% (29%?) Sephardi. All they want is a school with higher standards of behavior. They are talking about equality of result. One journalist (not in a Chareidi paper), who felt the decision was a great injustice, said that the fancy art schools in Tel Aviv proobably could not meet that standard, and wondered if the students there even kknow what an Ethiopean looks like.

      Meanwhile, they are giving Chinuch Atzmai, which is already in financial crisis, a huge fine for every day the kids do not return. Exactly how are they going to force the children into the school? Kidnap them?

      In the meantime, no-one has any trouble with Sephardi schools that discriminate against Ashkenazi students, a matter of which I have personal knowledge.

      I am disapposinted with B'sheva, by the way, for mis-covering this issue. I may have to start reading the Chareidi press, after all.

      1. i thought the problem was not regarding the acceptance rates…but that the girls were being kept in separate classes…am i wrong?

        and i know many frum sephardi families….their level of tznius far outweighs that of ashkenazim

        i think one of the reasons why the world is allowed to hate the jew and israel, is because we still havent understood the concept of achdut.

        in america, there is way too much emphasis placed on wealth and stature in regards standing in the community….in israel, too much on spirituality and perceived level of frumkeit (or chareditude…or whatever) its not like the girls from sephardi families are gonna come in talking about what they saw on tv the night before.

        i just dont wanna pick up the la times on friday and see splashed all over the front page pictures of police arresting charedi families….its giving our detractors more weapons.

        didnt know that sephardi schools discriminated against ashkenazi students

        i do know that israeli yeshivot and seminaries discriminate against americans

        we american jews are a hated lot

        1. and i know many frum sephardi families….their level of tznius far outweighs that of ashkenazim

          That's obviously not the issue here, if there are other Sefaradi girls in the school with whom the parents and staff have no problem with.

          I thought the problem is with girls from not very religious home, even non-Shomer Shabbat homes – and they happen to be Sefaradi and that fact is irrelevant to this case.

          If this is so, we are talking about fitting such kids into a very Haredi school in a very Haredi community, in Emanuel. This sounds like a case of pushing irreconcilable limits.

        2. Michael Zvi Krumbein

          Speaking as someone who attended all sorts of places, Americans do tend to be on a lower level academically.

          There is an old question in Jewish education of quantity vs. quality – in this case both are possible, so there should be no problem. This whole thing is lies and hypocricy and I am sick that I fell for it.

          I believe that the Sephardi scholl IN Emmanuel discriminates. I know of a family whose kid could not get into a school because they are Ashnazim – which is funny because he is a Black African. On the other hand, I know Ashkenzi parents with kids in Seaphardi schools, where they are treated well and are very happy.

          Generalizing is never a good thing.

        3. Michael Zvi Krumbein

          I have never thought it a co-incidence that the way the Israeli press talks about Chareidim (and religious Jews in general) is the same way the world press talks about Israel.

          And before you blame us, the N.Y. press talks about ALL religious Jews the way the Israeli press talks about Chareidim. I recently saw a quote in Mishpacha from the New York Times around 1912 where they referred to the editor of the Yiddish paper Morning Journal as "ultra-Orthodox". Somehow I doubt he was Chareidi.

      1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

        Why did it take so long? Why, for once, did b'sheva not give more than one side? Why were all my Dati L'umi friends giving me the same line? The most was when B'sheva had the editor of one of Charedi magazines as a comenter, but I did not have enough context to understand then.

        I did like his line. "Even (dealing) with Chareidim, facts matter."

  2. Michael Zvi Krumbein

    I wonder if some of this is payback by Turkey for the partial support of the U.S. Jewish community for the Aramenian Genocide resolution? One has to remeber that a lot of people have an exaggerated idea of the power of the U.S. Jewish community.

    1. Not likely. Turkey wanted to be on NATO so badly that they sent letters to all the prominent Turkish Jews across the world to get them to write letters to NATO to say how wonderful turkey wa to the Jews. Now that turkey is being stupid, Turkish Jews are like, screw you. So that's why it is key we support this congressional ruling of recognizing the Armenian genocide because if Jews don't support turkey, they have nothing.

    1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

      Not bad ,almost no Kol Isha. I have to ask what the Halacha is on a mixed choir in a recording. But I don't see the point. The issue is over the personal standards required by the school. Maybe the supreme Court and the jounalists should watch it.

  3. Turkey is not silent on the problem of "activists" of the fleet, for the world to forget the problem of genocide practiced with the Kurds and Armenians, and occupation in Cyprus, this issue is far more reprehensible than that of Israel and must also make a research about these crimes to Turk. I do not understand how people speak more of this problem, the Turkish vessel, than the genocide practiced throughout the world.

  4. I think we should deal with the problems earlier in the first place, beginning with the massacre of Armenians and Kurds, and the occupation of Cyprus and only after the problems in Israel, one has to follow an order. And what is the Day of Judgement? Like other similar cases, never. Turki can not criticize nobody. Turky is also a colonialist nation, because it invaded and still occupies half of Cyprus.

    1. “Turky is also a colonialist nation, because it invaded and still occupies half of Cyprus.”

      And a big chunk of Greece, including Constantinople.

  5. Much has been said about this case and is not justified so much noise, the terrorists have killed far more people and nobody does anything to the countries that support them. Mussulman only see to their side, only see the tail of who is ahead of him … do not see his ass.

  6. Erdogan says that "one can not remain silent with the death of 9 people". And a genocide ? The death of thousands of Kurds and Armenians? Nor can it be shut for the next thousand years

  7. Elton John:

    “Throughout my career I have made a point of playing concerts in challenging places, such as the USSR and Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Israel in the 1990s and very recently Morocco."

    And you think this is pro-Israel? Think again.

              1. This is precisely why I suggested that people like you "think again".

                (See, Dave? We found one. And please don't ask "who's 'we'"?)

    1. who said he is pro israel?

      tell you one thing…he knows that he wouldnt be able to live his life in an islamic society

  8. For anyone interested, Nigeria is playing Greece today. Currently 1-0 Nigeria. But…All 3 of the Nigerian goalkeepers play in Israel. 😀

    1. Change that to 1-2 after a Nigerian was sent off. What is going on Africa?! :'(

      Sorry Dave, but Im going to be rooting hard against you on Saturday.

  9. What the heck is "most Jewish lobbies"? You mean the Ashkenazic Jews who think everything was hunky dory in Muslim countries? They don't know what it was like for us Turkish Jews. It was the Jews who got turkey acceptance to NATO despite the Armenian genocide. Believe me, Turkish Jews are seething about what is going on in turkey. Now that they see turkey is becoming more like their extremist neighbors, I highly doubt any Turkish Jews are going to be ok with letting the Armenian genocide fall by the wayside.

    J street and other Jewish lobbies are mostly comprised of Jews of Ashkenazic descent. I believe that in this situation, the Jewish opinion needs to be represented by Turkish Jews.

    1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

      J street is not a pro-Israel lobby, this is clear. They are just another incarnation of the same Hydra. Before them was the New Jewish Agenda, and before them Bereira. They are just the first that was not immediately discredited – as they should be.

      J street is the "Jews for Jesus" of pro-Israel lobbies.

      I assure you we aren't fooled. (Sometimes Sephardim push the hunk-dory myth, BTW.) For example, the reason there wasn't much of a "Free Syrian Jewry" movement is that the Syrian community in the U.S. felt it would do more harm than good.

      1. Agreed. That has always bothered me about Sephardim in general that they just want their life and don't want to have to dwell on their past. But what I'm saying is that Turkish Jews feel like they are the ones who gave turkey their place in NATO and so now that turkey seems to be content to throw Jews under a bus, Turkish Jews are a little more indignant than they would normally be.

        And you're right to say Jews tend not to push these issues because it would do more harm than good, but in this situation where non action will cause more harm by allowing islamicization of turkey, I think that Turkish jews are more likely to denounce turkey. But that's just me hoping my fellow Turks are truly reacting as strongly as I am. Here's hoping

      1. Yes but they would have never been accepted had they not proven that they supported western ideals of freedom of religion. So they were willing to ignore the Armenian genocide if it meant that they treated the Jews very well. So America wanted them as an ally because they thought that it was the only true democracy in the middle east that supported religious freedom(besides for Israel who would have never been accepted ironically because it is a Jewish state)

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