American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week, demanding that Erdogan returned an award given to him by the AJC because he does not deserve it any longer.
Erdogan received the prestigious Profile of Courage award in 2004 for his "stances on fighting terrorism, working to secure a peaceful solution for Israelis and Palestinians, rejecting fundamentalism and being steadfast in your commitment to protect the Jewish citizens of Turkey," Rosen wrote.
But a decade later, Erdogan has become "arguably the most virulent anti-Israel leader in the world — spewing dangerous rhetoric for political gain and inciting the Turkish population to violence against the Jewish people," Rosen went on to say.
"This month, in response to Israel’s defending itself from indiscriminate rocket attacks, you accused the State of Israel of committing acts of genocide and surpassing Hitler in barbarism," Rosen wrote.
"Not only do those type of venomous statements do irreparable damage to Jewish-Turkish relations and put innocent people at risk, they forfeit your seat at the table of legitimate mediators working to end the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.
"Rather than falsely comparing Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, to Hitler (an endeavor that only serves to undermine your credibility in the international arena), Turkey’s leadership would be much better used influencing Hamas to cease its aggression against Israeli civilians."
Rosen told Erdogan that: "Our award is meant for someone who demonstrates true courage and deserves recognition from the Jewish community for his or her positions on issues important to Jews, Americans and people around the globe looking for a more peaceful world. Your current positions, as reported in the media, are abhorrent and your attacks on Jews call into question everything we honored you for.
"Therefore, we ask you to return our award. Had we known of the seismic shift that would take place in your views towards Israel, the Jewish people and seeking peace in general, we would not have recognized you in the first place. However, should your views change in the future, we hope to be able to return the Profile of Courage award."
Rosen is an important benefactor of the Democratic Party, and is close to President Barack Obama, his Vice President, Joe Biden, and Bill and Hilary Clinton.