Erdoğan at UN summit: Zionism a ‘crime against humanity’

Click photo to download. Caption: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan grouped Zionism with anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as a “crime against humanity” in a speech at a United Nations summit on tolerance held in Vienna on Wednesday.

“Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity,” Erdoğan said, according to Israel Hayom.

Erdoğan was speaking at the fifth global forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was seated behind Erdoğan on the dais, did not react.

Erdoğan’s comments echoed U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on Nov. 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), which determined that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was revoked in 1991 by UN General Assembly Resolution 4686.

“The status accorded to Palestine at the U.N. General Assembly [in recognizing it last November as a non-member observer state] was indeed a historic achievement. This has been a very important turning point in global peace,” Erdoğan added.

B’nai B’rith International condemned Erdoğan’s comments, calling his language “inflammatory” and part of an “insidious canard.”

“Zionism is the embodiment of the millennia-old Jewish longing for self-determination and a return to the Jewish homeland,” B’nai B’rith said in a statement.

The remarks were also part of a trend for Erdoğan, B’nai B’rith noted. “This is not the first time Erdoğan has made inciteful remarks about Israel or Jews,” the group said. “In November, he called Israel a ‘terrorist state,’ during the Hamas-instigated fighting in Gaza.”

The non-governmental monitoring organization UN Watch said on its blog, “Erdoğan’s misuse of this global podium to incite hatred, and his resort to Ahmadinejad-style pronouncements appealing to the lowest common denominator in the Muslim world, will only strengthen the belief that his government is hewing to a confrontational stance, and fundamentally unwilling to end its four-year-old feud with Israel.”

Posted on February 28, 2013 .