‘Hitler’s spirit’ lives in Israel’s nation-state law, Turkish president says


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. (Hadas Parush/Flash90, Yasin Bulbul/Presidency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the “spirit of Hitler …  has found its resurgence among some of Israel’s leaders,” in criticizing the country’s nation-state law.

“The Jewish Nation-State Law is proof, with no room for doubt, that Israel is the world’s most Zionist, fascist and racist state,” Erdogan said in a speech Tuesday to his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

“This Israeli understanding is no different from Hitler’s search for a pure race,” he also said.

Shortly after Erdogan’s statements were reported and tweeted out by his office Netanyahu responded, calling Erdogan’s criticism a “compliment.”

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“Erdogan is massacring Syrians and Kurds and has jailed tens of thousands of his citizens. The fact that the great ‘democrator’ Erdogan is attacking the Nation-State Law is the greatest compliment for this law,” Netanyahu said in the statement.

“Turkey, under Erdogan’s rule, is becoming a dark dictatorship whereas Israel scrupulously maintains equal rights for all its citizens, both before and after the law,” he also said.

Erdogan last week accused Israel of apartheid in passing the legislation which enshrines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.