The Simon Wiesenthal Center commended U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday for directly confronting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's slanderous accusation in which he called Zionism a “crime against humanity”.
“Secretary Kerry is to be commended for publically objecting to Erdogan’s outrageous attack against Zionism, the bedrock of the Jewish people's historic narrative,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the leading Jewish human rights organization. “If our Turkish NATO ally wants to contribute to peace the first step would be for the Turkish prime minister to stop his verbal assaults against the Jewish state and her supporters around the world.”
At a press appearance in Ankara, Kerry condemned Erdogan’s comparison saying, "We not only disagree with it, we found it objectionable."
“We are grateful to the Obama Administration for speaking out against Erdogan's slur and the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Egypt's President Morsi,” Rabbi Cooper concluded, additionally referring to the Egyptian president’s January comments in which he referred to Jews as being the “descendents of apes and pigs.”
Earlier this week, Turkish prime minister Erdogan used a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations forum in Vienna promoting West-Islam dialogue, to label Zionism “a crime against humanity”.
With U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sitting alongside, Erdogan denounced racism in Europe and said that many Muslims “who live in countries other than their own” are often subjected to discrimination.
“We should be striving to better understand the culture and beliefs of others, but instead we see that people act based on prejudice and exclude others and despise them,” Erdogan said.
“And that is why it is necessary that we must consider — just like Zionism or anti-Semitism or fascism — Islamophobia as a crime against humanity,” Erdogan concluded.
The Simon Wiesenthal had initially decried U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s silence in face of the remarks saying, “we are deeply disappointed that the U.N. Secretary-General, the world's leading diplomat sat through the attack in silence.”
"With the upsurge of anti-Semitism raging across Europe, such a slander, left unchallenged will only further embolden anti-Semites everywhere," the organization maintained.