An answer to hypocritical jihad apologists among tourism researchers

Boaz Arad | Sep. 29, 2014

TurkeySyriaA conference for tourism researchers took place in Istanbul last August, where a fringe group of Jihad apologists published an anti-Israel statement, in an online forum of about 2,000 members from the global tourism-research community (Trinet).  The statement is part of the BDS-crowd routine, where Israel is accused of any possible crime under the sun ‒ including war crimes, massacres, destruction of cultural heritage and archeological sites ‒ and is effectively faced with the demand to cease to exist. Since this statement is just another recycling product of the same arguments I have covered earlier, with regard to a letter published in the Lancet magazine, I saw it fit to focus instead on the location chosen for its release ‒ namely, Istanbul, Turkey. The following is my reaction:

The statement of condemnation by the Tourism Advocacy and Action Forum, published on a respectful academic forum by several anti-Israel radicals and their colleagues, pretends to argue in favor of human rights and justice. Instead, it effectively ignores the big historical and political picture, while grinding an ax against Israel and doing great harm to justice and human rights. 

Of all countries from which to release their statement of condemnation and their call to boycott Israel, members of the forum, so mindful of human rights, chose Turkey ‒ the country that in 1915 set the ominous precedent for the very concept of genocide, while shirking all responsibility for it.

The Armenian Genocide and its aftermath were closely watched by German officials at the time, with Germany having been militarily allied with Turkey in WWI. It also gave no small inspiration to Hitler on his way to implement The Final Solution. (Incidentally, some descendants of the surviving Armenian refugees still live in Israel, in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem). The butchering of Armenians enabled the confiscation by the Turkish government of private and Church property, with no reparations made to the heirs to this day.

The Turkish imperialistic aggression had never ceased, and was exhibited again in early 1970s. Even though Cyprus was never a threat to Turkey, in 1974 it nevertheless invaded the island, and overtook 40% of its territory. Many residents were killed, and about a quarter of the population were evicted from the northern part. Numerous archeological treasures and private art collections were plundered or destroyed. In the occupied part of Cyprus Turkey created a puppet state that has not been recognized by any country in the world, other than itself.


Conversely, the 1917 Balfour Declaration (incidentally issued only two years following the Armenian Genocide), which was effectively recognized by the League of Nations in 1922, included the recognition of the right of the Jewish People to a national homeland in Israel, alongside their Arab neighbors.

That decision was not welcomed by the political and the clerical Arab leadership, who were ready to accept any partitions of the Middle East into states newly created by the European powers following WWI ‒ but refused to allow an independent Jewish state for reasons that had to do with nothing but religiously motivated racism. Some of those leaders, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem among them, happily cooperated with Hitler in order to help him implement his Final Solution. They even tried their hand at it themselves against the peaceful Jewish settlers who came to Palestine, or Jews whose families lived here since antiquity.

Unlike Cyprus, which was split in two as a result of Turkish aggression, the state of Israel has been recognized by the UN, and was divided between the Jews and the Arabs with the consent of the Member Nations, as well as that of the Jews ‒ while the Arabs rejected the UN resolution, and started a war against the new Jewish state in order to destroy it.

A clear connection can bee seen between the Jihadist war that began over a century ago against the self-defending Jewish community in Palestine, and the Turkish support of the antisemitic and totalitarian Hamas organization today.  Hamas in Gaza sees itself as part of Muslim Brotherhood, with both organizations seeking the establishment of a caliphate in the entire Middle East, while waging a war against Israel and other “infidels” until our utter destruction. The ISIS movement, notorious for the atrocities it is committing in the areas under its control, is another head of the Hydra that is the militant and totalitarian Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood variety. Both Hamas and ISIS enjoy the support of Turkey, as well as of some other Islamist states.

Hamas operatives who were behind the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish youth that triggered the latest round of fighting in Gaza, are living safely in Ankara. Turkey is buying oil from Iraqi pipelines, the profits from which end up in the ISIS coffers. Turkey is the country through which, by CIA estimates, some 31,000 ISIS volunteer fighters have so far passed into Syria and Iraq. Turkey does not allow the anti-ISIS coalition forces to use the military bases within its territory, and it refused to sign an agreement which would commit it to stopping the movement of these volunteers through its territory, as it would not serve its policy.

In the alternative reality inhabited by the BDS activists, the international recognition for the right of the Jewish people to live in their historic homeland alongside their neighbors, is described as “historic crime”, and our use of the right to self defense from genocidal aggression waged against us is defined as “war crime”. That, while genocide committed by their hosts, the expulsion of some million Jews from their homes in the Arab countries, and the Jihadist atrocities that are taking place in the region on a daily basis, and which are openly pronounced as just and moral by the Islamist organizations enjoying the support of these activists, are seen as implementation of “civil rights” and “social justice”.

It is imperative that the decent readers of the Trinet forum ask themselves: how does it happen that of all the countries in the Middle East, only in Israel do Muslims, Jews, Armenians, Druze, Arameans, Christians, Circassians and Bahá’í live in peace, while it is also the only country to become the target of attacks by these activists? Sadly, we live in an upside-down world, where apologists for totalitarian murderers are presenting themselves as human-rights activists and advocates for justice.

Turkish soldiers after massacre of Armenians, 1915.

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