Stas v. Turkey: Why All the Uproar?

Israel Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Michael Feigin)

The news story that has most recently gotten all of the anti-Israel complainants in an uproar is this one, quoting Israel’s Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov as calling for a boycott on Israeli tourism to Turkey. This came in response to Israeli news reports that said Turkey had classified Israel as a threat to regional security (though apparently various reports used different terminology for the same apparent move by Turkey). The web has plenty of blog posts and I’ve seen tons of tweets in my Twitter feed that have made this seem like a horrible thing for Misezhnikov to have said.

My question: why all the uproar?

Firstly, is there anything really wrong with what he said? Isn’t it common sense that if a country defines your own country as a strategic threat, that it probably isn’t a place you want to go visit? The real question should be, why did Misezhnikov feel the need to call for such a boycott? Shouldn’t Israelis realize on their own that they shouldn’t be traveling to Turkey right now?

Which brings me to my second point. They do! As relations between Erdogan’s Turkey and Israel have steadily deteriorated, there was already a drop in Israelis traveling there. Then Turkey supported and practically sponsored the Mavi Marmara that tried to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza and led to the lynching of Israeli soldiers and the deaths of 9 Turks. Tourism from here to there plummeted after that.

So really the question is not why everyone is so up in arms about Misezhnikov’s statement. It isn’t wrong and won’t likely have much of an effect anyway (since almost no one is going there now anyway). The real question is, why did Misezhnikov feel the need to make the statement? But the bottom line, as I see it, is let’s move on. This is yet another non-story that is being blown up to try to make Israel look bad.

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