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Published: Monday July 21, 2014 MYT 2:36:41 AM
Updated: Monday July 21, 2014 MYT 2:36:41 AM

Turkish PM's anti-Israel rhetoric 'anti-Semitic' - Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's comparison of Israel's offensive in Hamas-controlled Gaza to the Nazis was "anti-Semitic in tone," the Israeli leader said on Sunday.

"I heard the things the prime minister of Turkey said, words of the utmost gravity," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a briefing to reporters. "I told (U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry, (these are) anti-Semitic statements, they have an anti-Semitic tone."

The Islamist-rooted Erdogan accused Israel on Saturday of having "surpassed Hitler in barbarism through its attacks on the Palestinian territory, but warned Turks against taking out their anger on Jews in the NATO-member state.

Erdogan also accused the United States of defending Israel's "disproportionate" tactics, and bemoaned the failure of the Muslim world to take a stronger stance.

A once-strong partnership between Israel and Turkey, both allies of Washington, has frayed in recent years over Ankara's anger at the Jewish state's Gaza policies.

Israel withdrew some of its diplomats from Turkey last week following earlier censure by Erdogan and sometimes violent protests outside its embassy in the capital and consulate in Istanbul. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem also advised Israelis against "non-essential" travel to Turkey.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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