Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo by Reuters
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What a disappointment, what a tremendous disappointment: Turkey didn't sever relations with Israel! These people evidently just cannot take a hint. We humiliate their ambassador, kill more than half a dozen of their citizens on that flotilla, stick our tongue out at them, spit on them, cancel vacations to Antalya. And still they don't budge, they don't cut off diplomatic ties with us.

There was a small glimmer of hope at one point this week: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly announced, with an angry scowl, that his country's airspace is now closed to Israeli aircraft. There you go again - God heard our prayers and aroused the evildoer of Ankara to whip us again. For the truth is that Israel, deep down, secretly wants Turkey to become an official enemy. That way the Foreign Ministry and all the other institutions in charge of nurturing and preserving the hatred of Israel among the nations of the world will be able to put a check mark next to yet another country.

And since hostility toward Israel is a contagious virus, there's a reasonable chance that the countries bordering Turkey will also come down with a case of anti-Israelitis. Greece, for example. Didn't a couple of punks spray paint swastikas on Jewish gravestones there a month and a half ago? Spray they did. So there is anti-Semitism there. Hooray!

After all, without a sense of siege or the feeling that the entire world is closing in on us, and without the certainty that no matter what we do anti-Semitism will continue to flourish, the State of Israel might lose its justification for existing. And so a Turkey that closes its skies to us is simply the fulfillment of every Israeli's masochistic nationalist wishes. Nothing creates the feeling of isolation and ghettoization like having to take a half-hour detour en route to Europe so as not to fly over Turkey. But then along came a clarification: 'Twas not actually so - Erdogan was referring to military flights, not civilian aircraft.

Israelis now visiting Turkey (there are still a few unaffected by the general panic ) say they've never received a heartier welcome. On Tuesday evening a terrific item appeared on the Channel 2 evening news: Young Turkish volunteers have come to work in the apple harvest in Israel and are enjoying every moment. In my opinion, they ought to be deported at once! And the cheeky Israelis who still travel to Turkey these days and even dare to say they are having fun, should be lined up in front of a firing squad. Such examples of normalization jeopardize Israel, chopping off the branch on which we stand - the already-fragile branch called "the whole world is against us."

Ideological opium

On Wednesday morning, I read testimony in the Turkish daily Zaman from a human rights group representative, concerning the autopsy reports on Turks killed in the flotilla incident. A grave claim is made there - that the victims were shot in the head from the helicopters that circled above the ship. It is further alleged that Israel tampered with the bodies to cover up any evidence before sending them on to be examined. As these comments were written cautiously and with reservations, I therefore, for some reason, tend to believe what is written. Furthermore, I do not see in the text even a smidgen of anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic incitement.

The opposite is happening in Israel, land of the supposedly free press. Every new report from the outside world, like that statement about closing airspace to Israeli planes, or spray-painted swastikas on graves in a Greek village, or the brawl between Arab ruffians and Jews in Germany - any such scrap of news adds to the ideological opium that clouds the Israeli's mind with the notion that his only course of action is to hunker down, seal all the borders and wait for catastrophe.

To sum up, you are behaving badly, Mr. Erdogan. It's not nice to sow the false illusion that at any moment we could become eternal enemies, and then suddenly drop the blessed project to deal instead with the Kurds. You can't do this to us. Just check out all the anti-Turkey signs and placards hanging in the streets of our cities. Please, hate us. Please. We are much worse than the Kurds. And do something, will you, to make them stop treating Israeli tourists so nicely. Otherwise the tourism business to Antalya might recover, and in the end we will go back to being friends. Perish the thought!