NOVEMBER 18, 2009 – This past September, I reviewed Professor Arnold Reisman’s book on Turkey, “Shoah: Turkey, the US and the UK.” The book addresses the little known role the Republic of Turkey played in saving Jewish lives before, during, and for three years after WWII. Reisman is a distinguished American scholar who recently returned to the USA after visiting Turkey.
On his return, he had this to say:
I have written a few books and several papers about the modernization of Turkey’s systems of higher education and health care delivery, about development of her library system, the creation of an infrastructure for the musical, performing and visual arts, and even some of her legal codes. Turkey began the modernization process with the help of 190 eminent Jewish intellectuals who, after being discharged from their posts in 1933 by the Nazis and finding no refuge in the West, were saved from certain death when they were invited, along with their families, to help in this great project.
Knowing my interest, a friend sent me the following URL http://news.am/en/news/8706.html
An article on the site dated November 16, 2009 stated: “Simon Wiesenthal Center: Turkish Premier responsible for anti-Semitism in Turkey.”
I read the information on that site with great concern. A Holocaust survivor myself, I was thoroughly dismayed by the antisemitic turn of events taking place in Turkey today and even worse, being orchestrated by its sitting Prime Minister, as reported on the site. Knowledgeable of his personal attack at Davos against Nobel Laureate Simon Peres, I found the assertions against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made on the NEWS.am website plausible. My knee jerk reaction was one of disgust, bewilderment, and an urge to forward the URL to everyone I know. After all, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) logo was clearly displayed along with the information.
However, I first ran the idea past two close and knowledgeable friends. One immediately responded that the website was Armenian and had nothing to do with the SWC. Yet, the issues covered in the URL could be correct. I then asked my wife to look into the official SWC site to see if there is any statement made there that is similar to those expressed on the NEWS.am site, since the impression is given that the opinions came from the SWC. Her finding: “There is no evidence of statements on the SWC web site such as:
The Simon Wiesenthal Center considers Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to be the main culprit in the intensifying hatred against Jews in Turkey. The Jewish organization plans actions of protest.”
The information on http://news.am/en/news/8706.html was obviously written by a very sophisticated person(s) who know(s) how to manipulate information and cleverly showcase it on the web. Without defending Turkey’s sitting Prime Minister who has shown his true colours, in this one posting the people behind the site managed to inflame anger in the west against the Turks, while fanning antisemitic flames in Turkey.
It does not matter if the ultimate goal of those involved in the site is deemed worthy or noble. A civilized society must not ignore the use of a public good, like the internet, to disseminate purposefully negative, mean spirited propaganda, albeit clever and subtle to fan the flames in three different directions. To ignore such behavior is to condone it.
Arnold Reisman received his PhD in engineering from UCLA and is a retired professor of operations research from Case Western Reserve University. As an independent scholar he authored Turkey’s Modernization: Refugees from Nazism and Atatürk’s Vision; Classical European Music and Opera: The Case of Post-Ottoman Turkey, and Rejection and Acceptance and The Impact of European Culture on Turkey: 1933- 1950. His latest book, The Transformation of Istanbul: Art galleries reviving decaying spaces, will be available later this month. All the above books are available through Amazon.com and other outlets. He can be reached at: email@example.com