Daoud Baghstani is a brave man with an unusual mission: It has been almost two years since he started his glossy bimonthly magazine Israel-Kurd, published by his Israel-Kurd Institution. Now he is appealing to Jewish organisations and communities worldwide for moral, political and academic support.
The two nations are believed to have close genetic ties. In the absence of official ties, Baghstani wants to use the media to strengthen Israel-Kurdish relations. He wants to expand the distribution of his magazine to the whole of Kurdistan.
In a letter to the World Jewish Congress, Baghstani writes: “we bring an important message to Kurdistan about Israel-Kurdistan and Jewish-Kurdish historical relations.
“It was hard to broach such a subject in Kurdistan – a taboo for enemies of Israel, Kurds and Jews, but the matter is so important that we have been encouraged to break through the gloom”, he writes.
“Your support makes us stronger, braver and more determined to continue to convey our national and political aims to Kurds and Israelis in the region and even the world.
Baghstani shrugs off the threats he receives, especially from radical Muslims: “the Israel-Kurd Institution is the enemy of no religion and other nation. We respect and wish life to most of those people who may wish us to die.
“Our beliefs are not dependent on cruelty, especially in the media field in which the whole people have a right to be free and express their views.
“The Israel-Kurd Institution is against any destroying and (for the) reconstruction of ancient, historical, religious Jewish sites in Iraq and also Iran – especially in Iran – where the authorities are trying to destroy Jewish heritage and ancient areas in Iraq and the region.”
The Israel-Kurd magazine appears bi-monthly in Arabic. It has published two issues in English (Link here – click on Israel-Kurd magazine cover). The April 2010 issue carried an interview with Hassan Ahmad Mustafa, an expert on Israel-Turkey relations, and with Ofra Bengio of the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle East Studies in Israel.
Israel supported the Kurdish rebels, led by the legendary Mala Mustafa Barzani, in their war against the Iraqi regime in the 1960s. One of Barzani’s closest friends, Sagi Chori, was a Mossad officer, who allegedly planned several battles and helped train Kurdish fighters in Israel.
Chori features in the April issue as does Eliezer Jafferi, who hopes to be Israel’s first Consul in Erbil, and a profile of Zvi Bar (formerly Barazani), the mayor of Ramat Gan, whose parents were Kurdish Jews.
One issue’s front cover is graced by Lana, a blue-eyed, blond ‘Kurdish Israeli’ wearing an IDF uniform. Lana apparently returned to Kurdistanto live with her Kurdish Muslim husband Hano.
To contact Israel-Kurd magazine email [email protected].