A day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of being behind Egypt’s military coup, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman shot back at Ankara, calling Erdogan the ideological heir to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
“Anyone who heard Erdogan’s words, which were full of hate and incitement, understands without any doubt that we are talking about the successor to Goebbels, and his plotting is in the same vein as the Dreyfus trial and the Elders of Zion,” Liberman said Wednesday, referring to two notorious instances of anti-Semitism.
The head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, known for his sometimes fiery and undiplomatic language, currently heads the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and pending acquittal on a fraud indictment, aims to reassume the post of foreign minister.
The Dreyfus Affair involved the false accusation and conviction in 1894 of French Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus on charges of treason that has become symbolic of institutional anti-Semitism. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a notorious anti-Semitic text that describes a fabricated Jewish plot to control the world.
On Tuesday Erdogan drew condemnation from Washington, Cairo and Jerusalem for his comments about Israel’s alleged hand in events in Egypt.
Speaking at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party, Erdogan said his government could prove Israel’s involvement, and cited as evidence a statement made during a 2011 panel with Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy and then-opposition leader Tzipi Livni in France, according to a Hurriyet Daily News report.
Erdogan cited Levy as saying at the time that “the Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box.”
“Now the West starts to say democracy is not the ballot box or not only the box, but we know that the ballot box is the people’s will,” Erdogan said. “This is what has been implemented in Egypt. Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence,” the Turkish prime minister added.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the statement “offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong,” in a briefing to reporters Tuesday.
In 2001, Liberman drew fire for reportedly saying Israel should consider bombing Egypt’s Aswan Dam. He later said then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak could “go to hell.”
In 2006, he compared Arab MKs who met with the Hamas terror group to Nazi collaborators.