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January 29, 2009

In News

AJC Denounces Turkish Prime Minister’s Shameful
Outburst at Davos

01.29.2009 | American Jewish Committee

January 29, 2009 – New York – AJC called today’s vicious verbal assault on

Israeli President Shimon Peres by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “a

public disgrace that may well encourage further outrages against Israel and


“When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill,” Erdogan yelled at Peres, a

recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, during a panel on Gaza at the World Economic

Forum in Davos. Erdogan then stormed off the stage.

“Prime Minister Erdogan’s tantrum at Davos throws gasoline on the fire of surging

anti-Semitism,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. “Erdogan’s

unjustified remarks and disrespect of Israel’s president are yet another

demonstration of how criticism of Israel is becoming increasingly virulent.”

AJC also was stunned to see Erdogan quote with approval the obscure writings of a

Jew turned anti-Semite, a former Israeli citizen named Gilad Atzmon, who has said

that “the Jewish state is the ultimate threat to humanity and our notion of


“When the author of such ravings is quoted by the prime minister of a democratic

country, we must seriously ask ourselves where reason ends and hatred begins,”

Harris said.

“The relationship between Turkey and Israel is a vital one that has enjoyed the

support of American Jews,” Harris continued. “But we cannot remain silent in the

face of such appalling rhetorical denunciations of Israel, particularly when

there has been a worrying surge of anti-Semitism in Turkey in recent weeks.”

In a letter to Erdogan last week, AJC and four other American Jewish

organizations expressed profound concern over the current wave of anti-Semitic

manifestations in Turkey.