Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv
Photo: AP
Turkish PM Erdogan
Photo: Reuters

Should we boycott Turkey?

Head to head: Two views on whether Israelis should be boycotting Turkish economy

Raz Shechnik – Yes

Actually, why not travel to Turkey? I heard they are offering excellent deals at this time, on the house, all inclusive: Abuse at the airport, strip-searches – for security reasons, of course – hatred on the streets, anti-Semitism in the press and an especially hostile regime.


But have no fear, if you encounter any problems, you can always approach the Israeli ambassador in your vicinity. Wait, what is that? The ambassador is no longer there?


This is quite amazing. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been hitting the streets in a touching protest to improve their living conditions and no longer be trampled over, yet at the same time tens of thousands of Israelis forego their personal and national honor for the sake of a little discount, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and Turkish deserts you can get in southern Tel Aviv for cheaper.


I know your responses, you people who love these all-inclusive deals. I especially like the explanation whereby “the average Turk is not at fault for having such government and we should not be punishing him.”


Firstly, I’m not sure that this average Turk is not at fault. Secondly, even if the man who serves you at the hotel used to be an Israel fan, I’m not sure that the hostility at the top has not filtered down to him at the end of the day. Thirdly, when you pay this average Turk, Erdogan also enjoys the money. I think no sane Israeli would want to make Erdogan richer. We already paid needless taxes as it is.


I also heard about the Israelis who wish to punish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, thereby clearing their conscience before boarding the flight of some Turkish airline. There is no doubt that Israel is not without fault for the crisis with Turkey, and our diplomatic conduct stirs longing for Shimon Peres, but this has nothing to do with the full stop we must put to trips to Turkey.


Even if Lieberman is wrong at any given moment, it does not mean that we should be traveling to a place where at best they don’t like us and at worst they humiliate us. However, if you decide to sleep with the enemy after all, be careful not end up with Midnight Express.


Hanoch Daum – No

A good psychologist – this is mostly what is needed in order to resolve the emotional conflict between Israel and Turkey. A wise psychologist, preferably with extensive experience in marriage counseling, who will know how to secure a compromise between Turkey’s desire for an apology and Israel’s feeling that there is no room for such apology.


A psychologist that would prompt both sides to undertake a healthy role reversal: Instead of each party clinging to its own position, Israel would take a deep look at Turkey’s need for an apology, while Turkey takes a deep look at Israel’s concerns over such apology.


After all, more than anything else, this conflict is mostly personal. The short-tempered Erdogan is going all the way, soft Minister Meridor backs an apology, pragmatic Minister Yaalon is in favor of a compromise, Minister Lieberman won’t hear any of it, and the emotionless Ehud Barak fails to understand what the commotion is all about.


So with this conflict being all about emotions in any case, why should we add more emotions to the mix? When the leaders on both sides are engaged in an emotional struggle, just like any regular couple facing a crisis, why should we, the citizens, add more fuel to this fire?


Even though I am a patriot since birth, I find no reason for Israelis who wish to vacation in Turkey to refrain from doing so. There is no logic in linking the personal lives of each one of us to the lives of states. No benefit will come from that.


This is true on all levels, by the way. Boycotting the cultural hall in Ariel is idiotic as well. Even if you are a pure leftist, there is no connection between your decisive views against living in Ariel and the charming Ariel residents attending a show.


Any tendency to mix the personal with the general and blend subjective feelings with collective aspirations is an absurd renunciation of our personal living space. As it is, we contribute much of our money to the State every month and our finest years during our army service, so why should we also contribute our peace of mind and get upset at Turkey on the State’s behalf? What will that promote, aside from our own nervous breakdown?


If our State is embroiled in a conflict with Turkey, our State should cope with it. We don’t have to get involved, just like the Foreign Ministry does not get involved in our conflict with our neighbor whose dog ruins our backyard.



פרסום ראשון: 09.07.11, 11:28
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