In the Helsingin Sanomat(25.3.06) the article “Jewish genocide is unknown to many in central Turkey”, (in a series concerning the Holocaust) set out to describe the level of understanding of the Jewish Holocaust by the average citizen in central Turkey. In what could otherwise have been a promising window into the thinking of these Turkish citizens, ended up reinforcing old anti-Jewish imagery in the form of a blood libel.
In interviews of various young adults, journalist Ayla Albayrak records how they heard about the Holocaust. One of those interviewed said “he learned about it at school, and was mortified when he saw a program about it on state TV. The next interview however, gave a different perspective which was published without a disclaimer, correction or even an objection from the paper’s editor.
“The memories of the young student
Eyüp Ilhanin, 18 are drilled with a different kind of television pictures. Of a Palestinian father and his five year old son huddled against each other near a wall, until an Israeli soldier kills them on the spot, Ilhan descibes angrily….”
The incident he was referring to was of course the ”shooting” of Mohamed al Durah and his father Jamal at Netzarim Junction, September 30, 2000. This incident has been proved to have been a fraud, staged along with the other supposed shootings that happened throughout that day.The fact that this fraud about a pre-staged event by Palestinian cameramen working for a French news station, (no French newsperson was in the area) and fed them the story to the journalist in Ramallah, never grabbed the attention of the paper’s editor. While a paper is free to report someone’s point of view, that doesn’t absolve them from informing the reader that the quote is pure fiction. Here is a link to a short video about the events.
The damage done by this article is tremendous, in that it reinforces old anti-Semitic imagery of the ‘evil Jew’ who kills for pleasure. The European anti-Antisemitic canard that “Jews kill children ” has made the ‘cross over’ into the anti-Semitism of the Islamic world. Incredibly, a Nordic European paper trying to describe the understandings that people may have about the Holocaust, resorts to this canard all over again. Old habits die hard…..especially if they’re not understood.
“When the subject is about Jews, for many, the first things that come to mind is Israel’s action in the Palestinian territories. “Back then the German practiced genocide, now Jews kill the Palestinians” Says Hasan Hüseyin Alkan, 60.”
The fact that there isn’t a genocide happening in the Palestinian areas should have been noted in the article, but most importantly, it’s worth noting the need of the paper to offset the horrors of the Holocaust with a grossly false narrative. That fact gives me reason to believe that Finland’s most respected newspaper is definitely not worthy of that label.