"Allahu Akbar! Remember the battle of Khaybar, O Jews! The Army of Muhammad will return!" This is what crowds on board a Turkish ship bound for Gaza were shouting on May 31. The ship was part of a so-called "humanitarian flotilla" which failed to break Israeli naval blockade on Gaza. A Turkish man named Bülent Yildirim, an Islamist partner of Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, was also on board that Turkish ship. A Turkish American citizen recently wrote an open letter to Erdogan, claiming: "About a year ago, Bülent Yildirim delivered a jihadist speech in Gaza to tens of thousands of Hamas supporters, declaring Israel, the United States and England as 'terrorist countries.' Yildirim addressed the Hamas supporters as "the children of paradise.'"
What happened at Khaybar back in 628/29? Khaybar was rich and prosperous and it was there that a Jewish tribe which had been driven out of Medina by Muhammad, the anything but peaceful Muslim prophet, had found refuge. In 628, Muhammed decided to make war on those Jews and subsequently defeated them. One of the Jewish girls captured was 17-year old Safiyya whom Muhammed took for himself after killing her husband. "To take women from a defeated enemy and use them as slaves or concubines was already permitted," writes John Bagot Glubb in his biography on Muhammad. "The spoils of Khaybar (Kheibar) proved to be the richest which God had yet bestowed upon the believers," Glubb writes. The battle of Khaybar became a symbol of Muslim conquest and especially of the defeat of the Jews at the hands of the Muslims.
Today, Islamists and Muslim anti-Semites (Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, etc.) invoke the battle of Khaybar to justify their ferocious hatred of Israel and the Jews.
Anti-Semitism, Nazism and denying the Holocaust in Turkey
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Turkey. Both the fascist "Grey Wolves," a powerful and extreme nationalist paramilitary organization, and extremist Muslims embrace anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as those propounded by the notorious book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (in Turkish: "Siyon Liderlernin Protokolleri"). This obscure book claims there is a world-wide Jewish master conspiracy behind historical events. This originally Russian book was later translated into German and it was an integral part of Nazi propaganda between 1933 and 1945. The Turkish version of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was published on the internet in 2004. Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" ("My Stuggle") has also been translated into Turkish. Among those who distributed and recommended Hitler's book were the Turkish "Grey Wolves." This book is also still rather popular in the Arab world, by the way.
"Mein Kampf" is banned in Germany, France and Holland, and rightly so. There was a major political row in Germany in 1995 when Turkish extremists (all of them were immigrants) were selling Hitler's infamous book on the occasion of the opening of a large Turkish mosque in the city of Mannheim.
In the 1930s and early 1940s, the military and political elite in Turkey as well as the Turkish immigrant community in Nazi-Germany largely sympathized with the Nazis and their party, a recent German study called "Die Türkei, die Juden und der Holocaust" ("Turkey, the Jews and the Holocaust") revealed. With the then Nazi capital of Berlin being home to the largest Turkish community in Europe, many Turks there even gave the typical Nazi salute. Many Turkish students and businessmen in Germany equally espoused the Nazi cause. In 1938 – the year of the infamous "Night of the Broken Glass" or "Kristallnacht" – the Turkish Chamber of Commerce ("Handelskammer") in Berlin issued a publication comparing Hitler to Atatürk: "Two great men, two heroes who played a comparable role in the history of two peoples."
Turkey was officially neutral during the Second World War, but the ruling elite remained largely pro-German. However, the Turks began to distance themselves more and more from Nazi Germany by 1943/44, when it became clear to them that the Nazis were losing the war. The Turks tried to rescue as many Turkish Jews as possible, especially in France and Italy.
Some influential Turkish anti-Semites fully embraced Nazism throughout the war. One of them was Cevat Rifat Atilhan, born in Constantinopel (Istanbul) in 1892. (He died in 1968.) Atilhan traveled to Nazi Germany as early as 1934. He was to meet Julius Streicher, the editor-in-chief of the notorious anti-Semitic weekly "Der Stürmer" ("The Stormtrooper"). Streicher published vitriolic articles dehumanizing the Jews, claiming, for example, that the Jews were drinking human blood. Back in Turkey, Atilhan began to publish his own Turkish version of "Der Stürmer," calling it "Milli Inkilap" ("National Revolution"). Its June 1, 1934, issue showed exactly the same anti-Semitic cartoon on its frontpage as the one that had previously appeared on "Der Stürmer's" frontpage.
Atilhan and "Milli Inkilap" were instrumental in instigating anti-Jewish pogroms in Thracia (Thrace) in July 1934 as a result of which between 10,000 to 15,000 Jews had to flee from the region. (Most of them fled to nearby Istanbul.)
It was two years after the Second World War that Atilhan, Sükrü Isdeger and Behçet Demirgil founded their own "Turkish Conservative Party" ("Türk Muhafazakar Partisi" or TMP). This initiative was lauded by Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the grandmufti of Jerusalem who also happened to be an ardent supporter of the Nazis during the war when he called on the Arabs to kill all the Jews. "Mili Inkilap" was the official party organ. In 1951 Atilhan and seventeen others founded another party, the "Islamic Democratic Party" ("Islam Demokrat Partisi" or IDP). It was the first postwar Islamic party in Turkey. The party was also aiming at "purifying the moral roots of Islam from Jewish fabrications." It was banned in 1952. (That same year Turkey joined the Western alliance of NATO and has been a member ever since.) Even after his death in 1968, Atilhan and his views are still amazingly popular among Islamic radicals.
Indeed, prejudices against Jews are very common in Turkey today, especially among the Islamists. They embrace all kinds of conspiracy theories and do not distinguish between Jews, zionism and Israel. It was in 1996 that Necmettin Erbakan, one of the most popular Islamists at the time, became the first Islamist prime minister of Turkey. In 1969, the same Erbakan had founded the Islamist movement "Milli Görüs" which has branches in Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands. Milli Görüs is very close to the Muslim Brotherhood and claims that "world zionism" and "American imperialism" are the main enemies of Islam. In August 2006, Milli Görüs publicly joined the ranks of the Holocaust deniers by referring to "the lie and legend according to which 6 million Jews have been killed." One of the most notorious Turkish Holocaust deniers is Adnan Oktar who writes under a pseudonym: Harun Yahya. Oktar's book "Soykirim Yalani" ("The Holocaust Lie") was recommended in "Milli Gazete," the official outlet of Milli Görüs. The book showed, the reviewer wrote, that Hitler conspired with the Zionists to allow the migration of Jews to Palestine and furthermore that those who died in the concentration camps died of typhus. Necmettin Erbakan and his Welfare or Refah Partisi (Party), also recommended the book. Copies of Oktar/Yahya's anti-Semitic "Yahudilik ve Masonluk" ("Jewry and Freemasonry") were sold at a major Turkish book fair in Berlin in April 2005. The author even asserts that Jews compare other people to animals. Yahya's books are also distributed in Holland. His claim that he has now distanced himself from previous anti-Semitic writings is not very credible. Recep Tayyib Erdogan, the current prime minister of Turkey, was a member of Milli Görüs and is still advancing its objectives. He and his "Justice and Development Party" (AKP) are now even alligning themselves with Iranian Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites such as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What Erdogan really wants is to replace Turkey's traditional secular "Kemalist" commitment to democracy by the Islamist model of an Islamic state. Indeed, Erdogan's pro-Iranian AKP is the successor party of Erbakan's Welfare Party.
Anti-Semitism in Amsterdam
Holland is a tolerant country. Throughout the ages those who were persecuted by totalitarian regimes found refuge in the so-called Low Countries. Not only persecuted Protestants in France – so-called Huguenots – but also many Portuguese Jews fled to Holland because they knew they would be safe there. There is no tradition of anti-Semitism in Holland. The most tolerant and liberal city is the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. Things changed in 1940, when the Nazis occupied Holland, and also sixty years later, after the turn of the millennium when Moroccan youths began to harass Jews.
During the five year long Nazi occupation of Holland – between May 1940 and May 1945 – the Nazis sent more than 100,000 Jews from Holland to the gas chambers in Poland. The deportations, though, did not start immediately. It took the Nazis two years to send the first Dutch Jews – Jews from Amsterdam, by the way – to Auschwitz. About 75 percent of all the Jews from Holland did not survive the war – an extremely high percentage (even higher than the percentages in France and Belgium). Among those who died in a Nazi concentration camp was a girl from Amsterdam whose name was Anne Frank. She and her parents left Nazi Germany as early as 1933 and settled in Amsterdam where they thought they would be safe from persecution.
After the brutal invasion of peaceful and neutral Holland in May 1940, Dutch collaborators assisted the German Nazi occupiers in many ways. It actually began in Amsterdam in February 1941 when paramilitary Dutch Nazi groups called the "WA" decided it was time to harass the local Jews. Amsterdam Jews were beaten up, molested and forcibly thrown out of streetcars.
After the war most of the surviving Jews felt relatively safe in Amsterdam, although a number of them emigrated to Israel. Those who stayed hoped that traditional Dutch "multiculturalism" and tolerance would protect them from harassment by anti-Semites. Never could they imagine that fifty to sixty years after the Holocaust they would again be subjected to harassment. Not by neo-Nazi fringe groups but by angry and aggressive young Muslim males, most of whom are second-generation immigrants from Morocco who for some reason regret that Hitler did not finish the job and killed "only" six million Jews. (Other Moroccan males, though, are fervent Holocaust deniers.)
"Dirty fucking Jew, all of you will be slaughtered by Allah!" ("Vuile kankerjood, Allah gaat jullie allemaal afslachten!""). This is how Moroccan youths addressed two Amsterdam orthodox Jews on Sabbath day as they were on their way to the synagogue. Dutch journalist Paul Andersson Toussaint even claims that today's anti-Semitism in Holland is "salonfähig" (socially acceptable). We are no longer talking about isolated incidents, it is much more widespread, notably among Muslim immigrants, and not just in Amsterdam.
One out five history teachers in four big cities in the Netherlands find it rather difficult to discuss the Holocaust and the so-called "Final Solution" in the class room. If they insist on raising this important theme, Muslim pupils invariably protest (This is also happening in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Sweden and Norway, by the way.) Exactly 65 years after the Nazi occupation of Holland, there are now six Amsterdam city districts where Jews wearing a yarmulke or Jewish skullcap are being spit at, harassed, intimidated or even beaten up. Just like they were back in 1940/41. All these city districts are densely populated immigrant (Moroccan) neighborhoods.
Orthodox rabbi Raphael Evers lives in the fashionable South Amsterdam city district of Buitenveldert. His mother , 83-year old Bloeme Evers-Emden, barely survived Auschwitz, all her family members died in the Holocaust. Raphael Evers was born nine years after the war and fortunately he never suffered in a Nazi death camp. Nevertheless, he still occasionally wakes up after having had nightmares about Auschwitz. Evers recently said he now avoids walking in the streets of Amsterdam as much as possible (only 12 minutes per day). Just as it was at the time of the brutal Nazi occupation, Evers and other Amsterdam Jews are too scared now to leave their house. Young Moroccan males once lashed out against Evers, a nice, friendly and peaceful man, saying: "Hitler forgot (to kill) you!" ("Hitler is er eentje vergeten!"). Large parts of the city are no longer accessible to Jews, Evers says. He recently told the Amsterdam newspaper "De Telegraaf": "We Jews now feel we are no longer living our own country. It is as if a burglar entered your home." "This is my own city, and yet there are no-go areas."
Another Amsterdam Jew, Herman Loonstein, claims that even fashionable "Buitenveldert" is no longer safe for Jews. The doorbell of a house belonging to a Jewish family rang just before eleven a.m. When the husband opened the frontdoor he faced a group of young Moroccan males who threw eggs at him, shouting all kinds of anti-Semitic slogans. The family reported the incident to the police who lamely claimed that they could not do anything unless they were shown photographs of the perpetrators. "A lot of Jews now emigrate to Israel or Britain," Loonstein says. "Even in our own public transport system our children are not safe from harassment." (Back in 1941 Nazi collaborators also did not allow Amsterdam Jews to travel by streetcar any longer.)
"Jews in Amsterdam have had to resort to meeting in a 'hidden synagogue' after a series of anti-Semitic attacks by Moroccan youths on anyone whom they perceive to be Jewish," Beila Rabinowitz, who reads Dutch and who knows Amsterdam quite well, recently reported in Pipelinenews.
The Dutch weekly "Vrij Nederland" published a shocking story about this so-called "Sjoel West" (synagogue in Amsterdam West). Nine years ago, shortly after "9/11" that is, Muslim youths threw stones at synagogue visitors. When "Vrij Nederland" reporter Elma Drayer raised the issue with the Amsterdam police, a police spokesman told her not to overemphasize such incidents. "Mind you, they are already being stigmatized," he said referring not to the Jewish victims but to the Moroccan perpetrators. "We were not allowed to see the perpetrators as perpetrators," Drayer writes. "Even more absurd was the fact that Muslims were seen as the 'new Jews.'" Nine years later, little seems to have changed. The real victims are not the Jews but the Moroccan youths themselves. Victimization of the perpetrator or showing (too much) understanding for the perpetrators is often a lame excuse for failing to act. Understaffed police in West European countries and North America actually cannot cope with the manifold, huge and unprecedented problems of crime and culture clashes in multicultural societies.
Mass immigration from non-Western countries (especially from sub-Saharan, Muslim and violent Latin American societies) poses a clear and present danger to traditional Western culture, values, freedom and independence. A desperate German juvenile judge named Kirstin Heisig made shocking observations in multicultural Berlin. Her book, "Das Ende der Geduld" ("The End of Patience") will be published in a few months' time. The justice system and the police are just unable to cope with Arab and Turkish frequent offenders in Berlin, she says. What to do with a seventeen-year old boy who already committed 70 offenses? Or nine-year old kids who boast about the 40 robberies they committed?
This is one of the many reasons why Turkey should never be allowed to join the European Union. The Turks recently opened their borders to citizens of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon who no longer need a visa. This will only lead to a further increase of undesirable migration flows to Europe – via Turkey, that is.
A westernized Iranian woman living in Holland recently told a friend of mine: "You in Holland should take care. There are too many Muslims here. Do not underestimate this problem. Don't think that these Muslims don't pose any danger because they are in a minority position in society. Before the fall of the Shah radical Muslims in secular Iran were in a minority position, too. But in no time everything changed completely, a mass movement erupted from nowhere and suddenly everybody began to express support for Khomeini."
It was in Tsarist Russia back in 1917 that the communists were in a minority position, too. And so were the Nazis in Germany in January 1933. Yet, in both cases fanatical totalitarian minorities prevailed over the liberal, weak and indecisive majority.
Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands specialized in crime and terrorism. Website: emersonvermaat.com.
IPT News, July 1, 2010, p. 2 ("An Open Letter to Mr. Recep Tayyib Erdogan"). "Khaybar Khaybar ya Yahoud!" See also: Al-Jazeera TV, May 29, 2010.
Maxime Rodinson, Muhammad (London/New York: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 252-254.
John Pasha Glubb, The Life and Times of Muhammad (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1970), p. 280-284.
Antisemitisme and Nationaal-Socialisme in Turkije (Utrecht: Alert! Onderzoeksgroep Turks-extreem-rechts, 2005), p. 4-34. NIOD Library, Amsterdam. A very informative and well documented study.
Corry Guttstadt, Die Türkei, die Juden und der Holocaust (Berlin: Association A, 2008), p. 169-174 (Turkish community in Nazi Germany), p. 448-451 (Turkish consul in Milan who saved many Jews during the Second World War).
Emerson Vermaat, Turkey on the Brink, in: Pipelinenews, March 29, 2010.
Stanford J. Shaw, Turkey and the Holocaust. Turkey's Role in Rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi Persecution (London: Macmillan, 1993), p. 1-45.
Umut Özkirimli and Spyros A. Sofos, Tormented by History: Nationalism in Greece and Turkey (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), p. 168.
Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), Verfassungsschutzbericht 2006 (Cologne: BfV, 2007), p. 251 ("…die Legende, dass 6 Millionen Juden ermordet worden seien.")
Bassam Tibi, Islamists Approach Europe: Turkey's Islamist Danger, in: The Middle East Quaterly, Winter 2009, p. 47-54 (www.meforum.org). "The secular commitment to democracy and its values does not register in the Islamist model of an Islamic state (din-ü-devlet), which the AKP's actions show it accepts."
Vrij Nederland, March 13, 1941, p. 1, 2 ("De gebeurtenissen in Amsterdam"). "Joden werden op straat, wanneer er maar weinig mensen aanwezig waren, gemolesteerd en van de tram afgeslagen." "Vrij Nederland" was an illegal underground resistance paper at the time; it is now a well known Amsterdam weekly. See also: B.A. Seijes, De Februari-staking, 25-26 februari 1941 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1954), p. 63, 65. "Terwijl hij dit deed, gaf een der andere mannen de Jood opzettelijk en herhaaldelijk hevige vuistslagen op diens gezicht." (A Dutch Nazi collaborator hit a Jew in the face with his fists). "Joodse vrouwen aangevallen…" (Jewish women attacked).
Paul Andersson Toussaint, Antisemitisme is meer dan een incident. Het is normaal, in: NRC Handelsblad (Amsterdam/Rotterdam), June 12 and 13, 2010, p. 3 (Saturday/Sunday Supplement).
De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), June 26, 2010, p. 1, TA1 ("Joden doodsbang in Amsterdam"). "Grote delen van de stad niet langer toegankelijk." "Marokkaans straattuig drijft families Nederland uit." "Joden op de vlucht."
Het Parool (Amsterdam), June 26, 2010, p. 1, 5 ("De Davidsster dragen we nu onder het T-shirt"). "Antisemitisme is geen taboe meer." "Mijn moeder zei al: 'Ga niet herkenbaar als Jood over straat.'"
Beila Rabinowitz, Dutch Jews Under Increasing Attack From Moroccan Muslims, in: Pipelinenews, June 28, 2010.
Elma Drayer, Moslims als de nieuwe Joden, in: Vrij Nederland (Amsterdam), July 3, 2010, p. 16. "Om mysterieuze redenen mochten wij de daders nimmer als daders zien. Absurder nog, moslims gingen door voor 'de nieuwe Joden.'"
Kirstin Heisig, Das Ende der Geduld (Freiburg: Verlag Herder, September 2010); German TV news, July 17, 2010. "Arabische Intensiv Täter mit BMW." "17-Jährige mit 70 Straftaten." "Sehr agressiv…" See also: Der Tagesspiegel (Berlin), November 23, 2008 ("Berliner Jugendrichter 'Zivilisatorische Standards gelten nicht mehr'"). ("…dass solche Kinder frank und frei davon berichten, dass sie schon 40 Raubtaten begangen haben.")
© 2010 Emerson Vermaat. All rights reserved.