February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Thursday of making a “dark and false” statement by calling Zionism a crime against humanity, a comment likely to harm efforts to repair ties between the countries. Speaking at a United Nations meeting in Vienna a day earlier, Mr. Erdogan said, according to Turkish news reports, “Just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become impossible not to see Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.” The Zionist movement was the main force behind the establishment of the state of Israel. The leader of Europe’s main rabbinical group called Mr. Erdogan’s remarks a “hateful attack” on Jews, and the White House also condemned them. “We reject Prime Minister Erdogan’s characterization of Zionism as a crime against humanity, which is offensive and wrong,” said Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, in a statement. No one was immediately available from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry to comment on the criticism from the rabbis or from Mr. Netanyahu.


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