Originally published under the title, "What Phobia is This."
A bias in plain sight.
Turkey's leaders, most notably President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have a habit of expressing their loathing for "Islamophobia" in the West. They are right to do so. All the same, their condemnation of the bad is, almost always, incomplete and selective.
Ahmet Orken is one of Turkey's best-known professional cyclists and the multiple Turkish time trial champion. In September, he signed a two-year contract with Israel Cycling Academy. In the aftermath of the Turkish public outcry over U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Mr Orken, under pressure, had to quit his Israeli team and join a homegrown Turkish team. "It was a difficult period in the last two weeks," he said, referring to pressure on himself and his family for having signed up with an Israeli sports team.
What phobia so powerfully hates peace and love? Islamophobia?
What phobia could have forced an athlete to quit his team just because a foreign head of state recognized a city as the official capital of another foreign country? Islamophobia?
In November, during the Miss Universe Pageant contest in Las Vegas, Miss Iraq (Sarah Idan) and Miss Israel (Adar Gandelsman) uploaded images of themselves on their Instagram accounts, with the words "peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel." A month later the family of Miss Iraq was forced to flee the country because of this photo. Miss Israel's family still lives in Israel peacefully.
What phobia is it that forced an Iraqi family to flee their country just because their daughter posed with an Israeli contestant and posted the words "peace and love?" What phobia may have prompted threats of violence against the Iraqi family? What phobia so powerfully hates peace and love? Islamophobia?
The UK branch of Amnesty International, the global defender of civil liberties, recently banned UN Watch from speaking at their headquarters, joining politicians like Ahmadinejad, Assad, Qaddafi, Castro, and Chavez, who, over the years, have all tried to intimidate and silence UN Watch.
"In debates of the UN Human rights Council, ambassadors from Iran, Syria, Cuba, and the PLO routinely interrupt testimony from victims we bring, and urge the chairman to rule that I am out of order. I'm used to that by now. Yet never did I imagine that the world's largest human rights organization would join their ranks," said Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. "In a patent display of bigotry and intolerance, a human rights group that is supposed to defend freedom of speech and the right to argue is shutting down a debate in their offices."
Why, really, would a human rights watchdog ban another watchdog? It's not too difficult to guess. On February 5, UN Watch released a fifty-page report documenting ten years of UN indifference to combating Antisemitism. Would Amnesty ban UN Watch if it documented UN indifference to combating Islamophobia? Again, not too difficult to guess.
Ah, yes, the world would be a perfectly peaceful place to live in if Islamophobia did not exist.
Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.