A good many Turks celebrated Israel's fires on Twitter

Happy, venomous Turkish hashtags abounded as people were losing their homes. Reconciliation, anyone?

Uzay Bulut

OpEds Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A wave of fires began in Israel on 22 November.  This wave went from as far south as the Dead Sea area to Israel’s' north at Nahariya, not far from the border of Lebanon, destroying apartments and gutting buildings in some places, leaving many people homeless.  

In Turkey, the fires became one of the most popular topics on Twitter under the hashtag “Israel is burning” (#İsrailYanıyor). Many Turkish Twitter users celebrated the fires, displaying their genocidal desires for murdering the Jewish people. 

According to the Turkish website Avlaremoz, which covers Jewish-related incidents, some of the tweets included:

“Israel is burning. They are already used to it. Mashallah, burning fiercely like Jews.”

“Hitler was very right in what he said about killing Jews. I am swearing at him for every Jew he did not kill. Let them get burnt. Israel is burning.”

“Jews are degenerate dogs. Adolf Hitler did a favor to the world by turning them into soap. I wish he had a grave so that we would send a wreath to him.”

“No offence but even if it is in Israel, I cannot be happy with forest fires. What is burning is the trees, not the Jews.”

“You are not tired of getting burnt. Back in the day, Hitler too burnt you. You did not learn your lesson. Israel is burning. We are the friend of the oppressed, and the fear of the oppressor. Who cares about the EU?”

“To be happy with Israel’s burning does not suit Muslims. The trees are not Jews. We will exterminate them one day through fighting.”

“Israel is burning. Hope they will get even worse. Let the hell fire surround them. Let all Jews on Palestinian lands burn alive fiercely.”

“Poetic justice prevails. Don’t think about it too much. Let the Jewish sperms burn fiercely.”

“You will reap the harvest of what you have done, dirty Jew. Israel is burning.”

“Burn, Israel! Burn until there is not a single Jew left. Burn so that those who burnt the hearts of Muslims will get burnt.”

“That race will be exterminated sooner or later.”

“You plant the gharqad tree everywhere so that they would hide Jews. But my God cleanses these trees. Israel is burning, you cannot hide any more, Jew.”

The user was referring to a hadith, a saying of Muhammed, the founder of Islam, which reads:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allaah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”

The scholar David Solway explains:

“According to a hadith attributed to Mohammed (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985), Judgment Day will see Jews hiding behind stones and trees which will betray them to their Muslim attackers. Only behind the gharqad tree, which we know as the boxthorn, will Jews be safe.”

Anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in Islamic sc‎ripture including the Koran and the hadith. Throughout Islamic history, this has fact has been acknowledged by many Islamic scholars.

Since the founding of Israel, many Arab states have loudly and publicly displayed hate to the Jewish state and do not recognize it. Turkey is also a majority-Muslim state, but it recognized Israel in 1948.  Turkey has made countless military and commercial agreements with Israel since.  

Israel and Turkey are now preparing to exchange ambassadors as part of a reconciliation deal. However, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan
From a sc‎riptural and theological perspective, Muslim people are already inclined to hate Jews.
has recently announced he “can't say if Israel or Hitler is more barbarous."

“I don't approve of what Hitler did, and neither do I approve of what Israel has done,” Erdogan said, according to a translation by AFP. “When it's a question of so many people dying, it's inappropriate to ask who was the more barbarous.”

Striking a tough stance on Israel, Erdogan has also urged Muslims at a parliamentary symposium on Jerusalem in Istanbul to defend the Palestinian Arab cause: "It is the common duty of all Muslims to embrace the Palestinian cause and protect Jerusalem,” said Erdogan, adding that safeguarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque should not be left to children armed with nothing but stones.

From a sc‎riptural and theological perspective, Muslim people are already inclined to hate Jews.  The Turkish state could have tried to reduce this hate through public education and media, but the religious education Turks receive at school and particularly from the Turkish mainstream media seem to have doubled the Jew-hatred and Israel-hatred in the country.

The Turkish government, the media and public seem to be nurturing one another in their hostility towards the Jews and their only county. What does this say about Turkey as a supposed “ally” of the West and of Israel?

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist based in Washington D.C.