At the time of the Mavi Marmara incident, two anti-Zionist Jews became mouthpieces of the Turkish Jewish community while the official leadership retreated into dhimmitude. Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews historian Rifat Bali in Israel National News:
“On 31 May 2010, the Israeli Defense Forces stopped the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship of the flotilla of the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). In the ensuing fight, eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed.
“This became a critical moment for the Jewish community. The Turkish public perceived the incident as the murder of Muslim Turks by the Jewish army. A new wave of anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories appeared in the Turkish media and were supported by public figures. One conspiracy theory was that Israel was behind the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) attack on a Turkish military base which occurred a few hours after the IDF intervention on the Mavi Marmara.
“It came as no surprise that the Turkish media would ask Jewish leaders to declare which side they were on. The Chief Rabbinate responded a few hours after the incident saying, ‘We are distressed to learn of the military intervention carried out against the ship Mavi Marmara, which was heading toward Gaza. The fact that, according to the first reports we have received, there have been dead and wounded in the intervention, has increased our sorrow all the more. We fully share our country’s reaction generated by the stopping of the aforementioned [relief] effort in this manner and our sorrow is the same as that of the general public.’
“Besides this declaration, the Jewish community tried to keep as low a profile as possible. This void was filled by two Turkish Jewish public figures. Mario Levi is a well-known novelist. He told the Italian daily ‘La Repubblica’ that, ‘As Jews in Istanbul, we are in solidarity with the people in Gaza.’ He added that he did not think there was anti-Semitism in Turkey.
“Roni Margulies is a Jewish Trotskyite poet and a columnist at the liberal-leftist daily Taraf. He stated that he approved of the Gaza flotilla, disapproved of Israel’s raid and wished he could have been there. He remarked that ‘For a Jew, Israel is the most dangerous place to live in the world and Israel is a danger to world Jewry.’ Both Levi and Margulies’ statements were well received by the Turkish media.
The Mavi Marmara incident has thus shown again, that the Turkish public and media see an anti-Zionist as a good Jew and a pro-Zionist as a bad Jew.
“In such an environment, the leadership of the Turkish Jewish community cannot reach out to Turkish society. In order to preserve the identity of the Turkish Jewish youth, Zionism and an attachment to Israel are two main themes taught to them.
The Turkish public and media see an anti-Zionist as a good Jew and a pro-Zionist as a bad Jew.
Jewish parents however, counsel their children not to display Star of David necklaces in public and to ignore as much as possible the hateful criticism of Israel in the Turkish public sphere.
“The Turkish Jewish community has one element of added value for the government. It is expected to help convince American Jewish organizations to use their influence to block the official recognition as genocide by the U.S. Congress of the 1915 murderous deportation by the Ottoman Turks of the Armenians.
“In the past decades, there has been increased violence toward the Jewish community.