Why Jews need to support the Kurds

 Jews need to support Kurds in their fight to defeat ISIS and protect threatened minorities, argues Michelle Huberman in the Harif JPost blog ‘Clash of Cultures’. That’s why she has been busy protesting on the streets of London with them:

It
all began when  a video clip went viral of a tearful Yazidi MP in the
Iraqi parliament. Screaming in despair, Fiyan Dakheel begged the
international community to save her people – they were being massacred,
buried alive, their women taken away to be sold as slaves. Soon after
images of dehydrated and starving figures, their faces beaten by sun and
sand, began to appear on our TV screens. Here was a catastrophe of epic
proportions – 50,000 Yazidis stranded on a mountain in northern Iraq.

It
was an opportunity for Harif – our  association of Jews from the Middle
East and North Africa – to show that we stood in solidarity with the
Yazidis  and other beleaguered minorities fleeing the barbarism of
Islamic State, the jihadist army sweeping across Syria and Iraq.

We
were invited to take part in a predominantly Kurdish demonstration on
Wednesday 13th August outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Downing
Street reported here.
The welcome was warm: Kurds addressed us in Hebrew and called us ‘their
brothers.’ We were all chanting  “Down with Isis, Solve the crisis”.
“We are all Peshmergas!” I was interviewed for Kurdish TV and I told
them I felt like I was watching the people board the train for
Auschwitz. It was not enough  just to drop emergency aid to let the
Yazidis live a couple more days. Not since the Allied war against the
Nazis had we been confronted with such evil.  I felt that we needed to
bomb the enemy into submission. To destroy ISIS. 

Michelle Huberman standing next to (reformed Islamist) Maajid Nawaz . (Photo: Daniel Levy)

Photo: Daniel Levy

Later,
a Harif representative joined with Kurds, Hindus and Pakistani
Christians to present a petition to the UK Prime minister to call for
the government to strengthen Kurdish fighters and prevent a genocide.

On
Saturday we heard about a second demonstration: I had forsaken
synagogue to be at the demo outside the BBC offices in Portland Place.
The crowd was double the size of Wednesday’s – more like 1,000, and it
swelled during the protest that culminated in a march down to Trafalgar
Square. The red flags of the communist Turkish Kurds were in evidence,
and some banners called for an end to Zionism and imperialism. We
already had our Harif posters – which we had made for a protest three
years earlier bringing attention to the non-Muslim and non-Arab
minorities in the Middle East. They seemed appropriate once again, and
probably more pressing now.  To this demonstration I also brought some
homemade posters showing both the Kurdish and Israeli flags –
overprinted with WE SUPPORT THE KURDS – DOWN WITH ISIS. 

The
Christians, the Yazidis and other minorities in the Middle East need
our support. They are experiencing the same brutality that the Iraqi and
Kurdish Jews experienced when they lived there when Iraq was ruled by
an  Arab Sunni Muslim regime. I have met too many Jewish refugees and
heard their first-hand testimonies to know that the Yazidis are
experiencing the same persecution. It is a myth that minorities and Arab
Muslims lived in harmony together. Hundreds of Jews were murdered in
the pogrom of 1941- known as the Farhud.  Many escaped Iraq through the
south to Iran just before the state of Israel was born. Israel airlifted
out 90 percent of the community in 1950 and 51 and in the 1970s the
remnant of Iraqi Jewry were smuggled out at great risk by Kurdish
people. The Kurds also had a discreet military alliance with the
Israelis .

Photo:  Neil Shroot

When
I reached into my bag and pulled out my little A4 Israeli Kurdish flag,
I hesitated at first but then held it high above my head so that
everyone could see.  I could feel the whole crowd slowly turning towards
me. Slightly shocked at first, but then turning to smiles. People
started coming over and saying, ‘thank you’. I was joined by friends who
also held up the same mini- posters and had the same experience.

I
was interviewed by an Italian journalist on what were my views on the
Palestinians. “I told them that we feel very sorry for the Gazans and
the problem was Hamas. They are like ISIS suppressing their people and
murdering those that don’t agree with them. They need to be overthrown
like ISIS.” 

To
another journalist: “ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda,
Boko Haram – they’re all the same. An enemy to civilisation. They need
to be destroyed.”

Jews
need to have a presence at these demonstrations. We need to show that
we stand with other minorities against religious fascism and fanaticism.
The Israeli and Kurdish flags need to flutter side by side.

Read article in full 

Anti-Jihadist solidarity(Jewish Chronicle)

Jews join Kurds in anti-ISIS protest

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