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İstanbul bookstore sparks criticism with antisemitic sign amid Israeli-Hamas conflict

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In an example of growing antisemitism in Turkey following the start of the Israeli-Hamas conflict, the owner of a bookstore in İstanbul’s Beyazıt district has drawn the ire of both Jews and Turks with a sign that says “Jews not allowed.”

Avlaremoz, an online platform that focuses on antisemitism, on Thursday shared a photo of the sign on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that what the İstanbul book store owner is doing is no different than the practices of Nazi Germany.

Louis Fishman, an assistant professor of modern Middle East history at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, also posted the photo of the sign on X, saying he also encountered a similar store in İstanbul in 2014.

“Then I was also attacked by a professor who promised to send me to [the former Nazi extermination camp] Treblinka. But I must say, I was also comforted by so many Turkish friends who fight this ugly antisemitism on a daily basis. I thank them,” Fishman added.

Eren Keskin, a prominent human rights activist and lawyer in Turkey, urged people not to go to the bookstore as they are “engaging in racism.”

Sinan Ciddi, non-resident senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington, D.C., based nonpartisan research institute, also commented on the bookstore’s sign.

“[President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and his supporters are not advocating for Palestinians: they simply hate Jews and Israel. A bookshop in Istanbul tells all,” Ciddi said.

Süleyman Sezen, a city council member from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Samsun’s Atakum district, also recently made antisemitic remarks, including praise for Adolf Hitler for killing Jews, to condemn a strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip that killed at least 500 people and injured hundreds on Oct. 17, according to Palestinian officials.

“Today, I once again remember Hitler with gratitude. … And I condemn Israel. Hopefully, the end of this state of terror will come soon, and after the world is cleansed of Jews, peace and tranquility will be achieved,” he said during a meeting earlier this month.

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