WASHINGTON – Leading U.S. lawmakers from both parties forcefully condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza as antisemitic, saying they were “tantamount to blood libel against the Jewish people.”
Erdogan accused Israelis earlier this week of being murderers, “to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old” and “to the point they drag women on the ground to their death,” adding that Israel is only “satisfied by sucking their blood,” according to AFP. He also accused U.S. President Joe Biden of having blood on his hands for supporting Israel’s operation in Gaza.
The eight co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Antisemitism Task Force — Democrats Ted Deutch, Marc Veasey, Grace Meng, and Ted Lieu, and Republicans Chris Smith, Kay Granger, Randy Weber, and Brian Fitzpatrick — said that “the leader of an American partner should not use the same antisemitic tropes that have been used countless times to justify violence against Jews for centuries.”
They also called on Erdogan to retract and renounce his remarks, “which only serve to fuel the dangerous rise in global antisemitism and increase the threat to the Jewish community.”
The State Department condemned Erdogan’s remarks earlier this week as antisemitic and “reprehensible” warning that these comments could incite further violence. Turkey rejected the U.S. allegations of antisemitism as an “illogical and untrue approach.”
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Erdogan has often called Israel and Israelis “child killers,” and in 2014 called a protester against his internal policies “seed of Israel,” drawing accusations of antisemitism. This week, the Jewish Confederation of Turkey, the main organization representing the country's Jews, defended him from the State Department's criticism, saying it was “unfair and reprehensible to imply that President Erdogan is antisemitic.”