Turkish government-owned television begins broadcasting anti-Semitic drama

MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, reproduces and translates politically “sensitive” (i.e. anti-Semitic, extremist Islamist, etc.) clips from Middle Eastern media, bringing them to the attention of those who wouldn’t normally see them. And because of this, it’s been closed several times by YouTube (and then reinstated), with the explanation always “violation of copyright or of community standards.” I suspect it’s the latter, because short clips wouldn’t anger Muslim stations unless they showed something unpalatable to the West. In other words, it’s likely that MEMRI’s clips (which have never been faulted for accuracy) were banned by YouTube for “hate speech”, but it was the hate speech of the countries producing the videos, not MEMRI! Besides, if it really were the violation of copyright, why would the clips be reinstated? Appeals to reason by MEMRI have gotten their YouTube site repeatedly reinstated.

But these days, because of the hassle and new climate of “hate speech” accusations, MEMRI publishes a few videos on its channel, reserving many for its own site, which makes it even harder for Westerners to see them. That’s the case for this one: a series of vile, lying, and antisemitic television broadcasts from one of my favorite countries.

It was only a matter of time before my beloved country of Turkey, now in the grips of a theocratic government, started going the way of less secular Middle Eastern states and using state media to broadcast hatred of the Jews. In this case it’s a television drama that depicts Theodor Herzl, the prime mover of the creation of a Jewish state (now Israel), as a conspiratorial, conniving, and money-grubbing Jew. As MEMRI’s post notes:

The Turkish television drama series Payitaht: Abdülhamid (roughly, “Sultan Abdulhamid”)  began airing on February 24, 2017, on the Turkish state-owned TRT 1 television channel. The series comprised 17 episodes; the final episode aired June 23. According to the TRT 1 website, the series, which is set in the period from 1896 to 1909, aims to show “within the framework of the events of the last 13 years of the period of Sultan Abdülhamid II, while the Western states seek to design a ‘new century’ for themselves… the story of the valiant man [i.e. the sultan himself] who stands against them.”[1] One alleged plot against the sultan that is depicted in the series is that of Theodor Herzl, and of Jews in general, is their pursuit of the establishment of the state of Israel, and their scheming, deception, and cruelty in attempting to achieve this end. In the series, a ruthless Christian priest-turned-assassin, Hiram, helps Herzl stir up revolt in Istanbul, and British spies pose as Arabs in an attempted false-flag attack against Jews, planned by Herzl.

You can see the clips for yourself, but I’ll put the six of them up with links to MEMRI’s videos. Note that every single incident or allegation made in these clips is demonstrably false. It’s like a television “Protocol of the Elders of Zion” for Turks. I’ll add the notes for one of them. Remember, everything here is a lie: it’s all made up to demonize Jews for the audience:

Theodor Herzl Kidnaps His Father, Locks Him In A Dungeon, And Details A Plot To Transfer Jews to Palestine

Theodor Herzl Calculates Jewish Gold As Part Of His Schemes  In this clip, from Episode 2, Herzl meets with a Jewish femme fatale named Sara and calculates that the wealth of four rich Jewish families “equals half of the world’s riches.” Sara encourages his plans.

Herzl Rises To Power, States Goal: A Jewish State From The Nile To The Euphrates

Herzl Conspires With Christian Priest To Assassinate Notables And Incite Population

Herzl Sends British Spies To Kidnap And Kill Jews In Jerusalem In Order To Drum Up Support For His Zionist Agenda

Herzl Celebrates Purim In Istanbul, Gets Mugged, And Learns A Lesson In Jewish Scheming From Co-Conspirator Emanuel Carasso

MEMRI and other organizations (not US or UK mainstream media!) have long documented the hatred not just of Israel, but of Jews themselves, spewed on the airwaves by public and private stations in the Middle East. Palestine does this all the time, but it’s never mentioned by the Regressive Left. Why, do you suppose? Israel doesn’t do this, but of course gets no kudos for that. Once again we see the “racism” of low expectations. I’d love to hear someone like Reza Aslan or Linda Sarsour explain the Palestinian clips (and cartoons in state-owned newspapers).

Here are some screenshots from the “rich Jewish conspiracy” clip, a classic anti-Semitic trope. As far as I know, neither the DuPonts nor the Morgans were even Jewish!

Woe to Turkey and to the secular Turks! They are now subject to these kinds of lies. The show has been seen as factual by the Turkish Press, and I find no indication of a disclaimer that “these characterizations of Herzl are fiction.”  And even if they said that, it would still be inexcusable hate-mongering.


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    It’s always the Rothschilds. You can make a million great bottles of Chateau Lafite, but start one itsy-bitsy conspiracy to achieve world domination and you never live it down.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    When you live on this kind of junk you make no progress and there is no movement forward. It is just government propaganda. Well known in other Middle East countries and similar to Germany of the 30s. The Trump parade in America is also similar, spreading the ideology with the assistance of Fox news. The rest of NATO should threaten Turkey with removal if they don’t stop this. Fat Chance.

  3. Malgorzata
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink


  4. rickflick
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Nasty, nasty, stuff. This makes me wonder about humanity. Why is it that Erdoğan wants to foment hatred? What possible rational motivation is there? I know there’s the argument that there are political motives and indirect goals that use hatred as a tool to advance some cause or consolidate power. But you’d think there would be rational methods for accomplishing fundamental goals for national progress without resorting to promoting hatred and violence. Look at the issue of global warming. It has spawned a great deal of cooperation between dozens of countries(with one notable exception). A decent cup of tea and a few hours’ toking on the peace pipe should be able to solve most problems between peoples. Yet, mankind seems to prefer force and mayhem as a way to get what they want. I guess this is equivalent to asking, why has the United Nations failed to provide a solution to disputes. Perhaps we are just hard-wired for hatred. If so we are sadly condemned to bluster on in this way.

    • kirbmarc
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      “Nasty, nasty, stuff. This makes me wonder about humanity. Why is it that Erdoğan wants to foment hatred? What possible rational motivation is there?”

      Finding a scapegoat is great for getting disaffected people on your side. Erdoğan is a Salafi-friendly dictator who pushes for a bigger space of islam in Turkish politics, undoing all the work done by Ataturk to secularize Turkey.

      Hatred for Jews is common in the muslim world and it helps Erdoğan to get easy sympathy from conservative muslims who think that all the problems of muslim nations are due to Jewish conspiracies.

      Also an anti-Zionist fiction which paints Herzl in the worst possible light is likely to be a political move to get closer to Hamas and Hezbollah now that the US have stopped financing Salafi militias against Assad in the areas of Syria (like the Idlib province) which Turkey hopes to control indirectly.

    • Zach
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Why is it that Erdoğan wants to foment hatred? What possible rational motivation is there?

      I think the answer to your question has less to do with the anti-Semitism in the show and more to do with the overall subject—the opposition of Sultan Abdülhamid to the West. Turkey’s top-down secularization /modernization by Kemal Ataturk is approaching its centennial and, from a certain perspective, it’s incredible it lasted this long. Indeed, it would not have, if not for periodic coups by the military in order to maintain it. The most recent of these failed.

      This show is but one more example of Erdoğan consolidating his rule. He doesn’t strike me as an aspiring Sultan, a new Ottoman Emperor—just a cynical power-monger. But any power-monger, no matter how cynical, will make use of reactionary call-backs to more glorious times. You might say the underlying message of the show is, “Make Turkey great again.”

      So why the anti-Semitism? Really, why not? It probably plays well to a significant portion of the population; it’s deep in the cultural marrow, as are the anti-secular/anti-modern energies that Ataturk and his inheritors never could completely make go away. Their resurgence, which Erdoğan is exploiting, go hand in hand with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

    • Adam M.
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Why do people always hate on the Jews? Muslims, neo-Nazis, random schizophrenics… I’ve never understood why Jews are singled out for crazy conspiracy theories and hatred.

      Jews have contributed much to humanity. Their scientists are greatly overrepresented among Nobel price recipients. Their average IQs is above the mean. Those I’ve known personally have been smarter and saner and more progressive than most. What’s not to like? To the neo-Nazis: a lot of Jews are pretty much indistinguishable from other white Americans.

      People talk about how Jews own all the big banks and media organizations. Even if that’s true, so what? It just means they’re successful. You don’t see people hating on the wealthy generally.

      Jerry has posted several times about the ludicrous anti-Jew brainwashing that goes on in a lot of Muslim countries, and from a young age: anti-Jew cartoons for the kids even. Muslims thousands of miles away put so much effort into hating on Jews. Why? They can’t all be grieving about the Palestinians!

      It makes no sense to me.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Why the Jews? Historically, Jews have been a small and relatively insular, but geographically diverse, minority. As a matter of self-preservation, they’ve sought refuge in education and economic security. Thus, they occupy a unique position that allows them to be both loathed as untermenschen yet feared for their vast and secretive powers. It is an especially toxic and intoxicating brew for bigots to imbibe.

        • Zach
          Posted July 27, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Thus, they occupy a unique position that allows them to be both loathed as untermenschen yet feared for their vast and secretive powers. It is an especially toxic and intoxicating brew for bigots to imbibe.

          Indeed. I would recommend Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism for an exposition on this theme. The first section is devoted to anti-Semitism in (mainly Continental) Europe, covering everything from political and class tensions to the Dreyfus Affair. Very illuminating reading, especially for an American whose political heritage’s answer to “the Jewish question” has always been, by default, assimilation.

          One especially insidious irony it explains well: the “Jewish family of international bankers” stereotype (the most prominent example being the Rothschilds) does have some basis in reality, but only because Jews were pushed into that role as a consequence of the political/class structures of 19th century Europe. Thus, even as Christianity waned (a la Nietzsche, who, despite his reputation, was not an anti-Semite), anti-Semitism continued and, in certain respects, grew even more virulent.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Dictators and demagogues always need a permanent enemy to scapegoat. Throughout history, Jews frequently have provided a convenient target. In our country, Trump is employing the Clintons and the #FakeMedia (and scary foreigners) to fill that role.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Trump sees enemies all around him. Even his best friends yesterday can become his worst enemies today…just ask Sessions. Those who hate the Jewish people have always been abject failures looking for an excuse. From Hitler to entire religions the result is the same.

  5. Posted July 27, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Read. Study history. Don’t accept anything on face value. Research it. (I need to dig out my book from a course I took many years ago on the “History of the Jews” to refresh my ancient memory.)

    Prior to becoming the favorite bad guys for Christianity, one of the biggest mistakes of the Jews was living in an area that was frequently a pathway, or target, for invading and conquering armies. The other was their desire to maintain separateness as to their religious beliefs and practices. (Although this was never consistent 100%. Jews have always had some who worshiped gods other than YHWH, or whatever precursor names of their god(s) were. That’s why prophets got on their cases so much.)

    However, when other nations or leaders needed doctors or lawyers or bankers, they gladly called in the Jews. Christianity essentially forced Jews into becoming lenders of money at interest because Catholicism forbade it to Catholics (for centuries, employees were not supposed to make a profit beyond what was absolutely necessary for providing food, housing, clothing and tools of their trade.) Most other jobs or professions were not open to Jews (unless they converted.) Survival at a cost.

    I find it a strange coincidence that earlier today I was researching the establishment of modern Israel and its’ government in response to a previous item on WEIT, wherein I read about Herzl. One of the articles made it seem that Herzl would have wanted a thoroughly democratic Israel, not the heavy dosage of religion in politics that apparently exists there now.

    Did you know that in Israel you are classified as a Jew only if your mother was? (I know, we’ve touched on this recently.) And that marriages in Israel have to be performed by Rabbis or you’re not legally married? So Jews whose mothers were not Jews leave the country to get married. Seems a little strange that people who consider themselves historically Jews, and who may have paid the price for that in whatever countries they came from, are not Jews in Israel.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Commonly speaking, this is true outside of Israel as well, that a person is automatically Jewish at birth if they are born to a Jewish mother. It doesn’t matter how religiously observant one’s family is. Such a person, from a religious perspective, would only stop being Jewish if they converted to another religion.

      • Posted July 27, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        No doubt you are right.

        Being raised on the west coast of the U.S. in a Christian Protestant tradition, but becoming an atheist, my experience has been different. I’m used to the notion of people not being stuck in one category all their lives. Many people are free to become whatever they choose. Change is almost always possible. Having lived much of my life in the suburbs of metropolitan areas, I’ve been fortunate in knowing people of all ethnic backgrounds, religions, educational and economic levels. It is not necessary for anyone to self-identify as a Jew unless they are religious, proud of their cultural heritage, or fighting against centuries of mistreatment.

        Most anti-Jewish sentiment is directly attributable to the centuries of diatribes, physical and economic abuses against Jews perpetrated by Christianity. Which is weird,
        because if Jesus lived, he was a Jew and if his brother, James, and his followers in Jerusalem had been successful instead of Paul, there would have been no Christianity. The religion would have been a Jewish variant. Christianity was the version created by Paul to accommodate gentiles so they didn’t have to live by Jewish laws. As the New Testament became codified by the Catholic church, it developed that Jews were held totally responsible for the death of Jesus, not the Romans, and the canard has stuck.

  6. Gabrielle
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    The DuPonts were Jews? What a joke. The original E.I. du Pont de Nemours,who started the chemical company, was a scion of an aristocratic French family.
    It’s as if there is a weird circular reasoning: All Jews are rich. Therefore, the ultra-wealthy must be Jews, or how else would they have amassed their riches.

  7. Posted July 27, 2017 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    This is very far afield from the original topic, but the debbil made me share it. The story is about a woman who thought she was Irish, because both her parents supposedly were proud of being Irish. But,through a DNA test and subsequent intensive research, she discovered she was half Ashkenazi Jew. Amazingly, she was successful in finding out that her father and another male child born on the same day in the same hospital mistakenly were sent home with the wrong parents. Not, surprisingly the “Irish” family was devoutly Catholic.


  8. Posted July 29, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    This is frightening. The west needs to work harder to confront state sponsored hatred in the middle east.

  9. Posted July 29, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    “MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, reproduces and translates politically “sensitive” (i.e. anti-Semitic, extremist Islamist, etc.) clips from Middle Eastern media, bringing them to the attention of those who wouldn’t normally see them.”

    Right. It’s a well-meaning, neutral research institute, like all the other Zionist think tanks with well-meaning, neutral-sounding names.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 29, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      MEMRI is translating texts of statements, sermons, schoolbooks, articles etc. by a very broad range of figures and institutions in the Islamic world. Nobody managed (and many tried) to show that their translations are distorted. They are not. The allegation of “cherry-picking” is laughable as MEMRI is the biggest platform for dissidents (and feminists) from the Islamic world in the West.
      You seem to be the supporter of the infamous UN Resolution that Zionism equals racism passed by UN General Assembly by Soviet Union and its satellites plus Islamic countries, and annulled (an unprecedented event) after collapse of this Communist empire.

    • Posted July 29, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      By the way, do you have a name beside the “dash” symbol?

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