Opinion

Israel’s Romance With Kurds

By NAIM NAQVI

The coziness between Kurds and Jews dates back to 11th century. Sultan Ṣalaḥ al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (“Righteousness of the Faith, Joseph, Son of Job”) was one of the most famous Muslim heroes who had achieved great success against Christian empire and captured Jerusalem on October 2, 1187.

He was born into a prominent Kurdish family. At the age of 31, he was appointed both commander of the Syrian troops in Egypt and vizier of the Faṭimid Shia Caliph there. In 1171, he abolished the weak and unpopular Fatimid caliphate, proclaiming a return to Sunni Islam in Egypt. He soon moved into Syria with a small but strictly disciplined army to claim the regency on behalf of the young son of his former suzerain. Soon, however, he abandoned this claim, and from 1174 until 1186 he zealously pursued a goal of uniting, under his own standard, all the Muslim territories of Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt.

His court included Maimonides, the great Jewish religious authority, as a royal physician. There were three prominent Jewish sects in Egypt: Rabbanites, Karaites, and Samaritans, all considered the ‘dhimmi’, “protected people,” tolerated by the Muslim majority but disarmed and made to pay tribute. Following are some notes of this famous Jewish physician:

According to Professor Khaider Domle of University of Duhok, Kurd Iraq, “The Kurds have always thought that they were friends with Israel because there are lots of Kurdish Jews in Israel, and also many Jews in Kurdistan. We share a common history of being oppressed.” And the recent flare-up of the Old dormant Flame was seen in 1960 when Israel felt the Independent Kurdish state could become its moderate ally in the hostile Arab world.

The regular Internet visitors could find a lot of bonhomie on Facebook and other social media between Israelis and Kurds. Even if we make a cursory observation, it can’t escape notice that Kurdish public opinion seems generally in favor of establishing official ties with Israel.

Nothing seems to be permanent but a new Islamic State, without borders, has already emerged on grounds of Syria and Iraq. They have made rapid gains across the desert and are in control of some important cities and oil refineries of Syria and Iraq. It is piquant to notice the speed with which Iraq Armed Forces ran out the Sunni dominated territories. According to some students of military science, it might not have been an actual retreat but a shrewd move by Iraq Prime Minister Noori al Maliki to checkmate the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS) foray. While the Shia fortress around Baghdad is guarded with steel and gun powder, Maliki had left enough tactical room for an internecine fight between ‘Takfiri’ invaders and Iraqi Sunnis who had been opposing the rule of Iraqi Parliament since the inception of a government which is dominated by Shias.

Out of this burning turmoil, Massoud Barzani, the president of Kurdistan Regional Government, is proving to be the one who is trying to fly over the cuckoo’s nest. He has announced a plan to hold a referendum for independence. He is willing to sacrifice the unity of Iraq for personal gains and for the short term gains of Kurds.

It is worth to note that Jews and Kurds have common grievances and clash of interests against Arabs. Despite all the imaginable and unimaginable atrocities that Israel has perpetrated against weak and helpless Palestinians, the State of Israel still wears the mantle of an innocent victim. It has forgotten that the State of Israel was created by a historical injustice – the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. They are now scattered in neighboring Arab countries. They still inhabit the refugee camps or live in diaspora.

The State of Israel treats the Arabs who remained in Israel as third class citizens. In the short strip of land ceded as Palestine, Israel has been building new settlements every day on one flimsy excuse or other and under the very patronage of West. As for as the privileged Kurds, despite all the prosperity and highest standard of life in the Arab world, they have not yet given up the idea of independent Kurdistan. They have not, and may be rightly so, forgotten what Saddam Hussain had done to them in past. According to Human Rights Watch, in that brutal compaign, named as ‘Anfal,’ Saddam had killed more than 100,000 Kurds and destroyed 2000 villages.

Now, Kurds would like to present themselves in the similar category with Palestinians while they are exploring the new avenues to snuggle with Israel. They are looking for the marriage of convenience. The ground reality is that The Kurdistan Region has its own army, the Peshmerga or “those who face death”, and a strong internal security agency, ‘Asaesh’ at its disposal.

Going against Arabs would never benefit Kurds in the long run. Israel is no economic power and has little to offer other than war equipments. The world is not insane to see the hypocrisy of Israel as it suppresses the fundamental rights and rights of existence of Palestinians and becomes the first nation to support the Kurdish bid of self determination. Again it is strange that Kurds also show a lot of lip sympathy for Palestinian struggle.

Israeli media is brimming with the milk of human kindness for the poor Kurds these days. The editorials and statements in support are splashing like never before. Some articles are comparing the persecution of Jews throughout history with the suffering of the Kurds. ‘The Time for Israel to Help the Kurds’ has published an article which advocated: “Even though it lives in a terrible neighborhood and desperately seeks friends, Israel cannot and must not evade its unique responsibility towards the Kurdish people, who also suffer from the depredations of their hostile neighbors.”

The renowned Israeli scholar Shlomo Sand exposed the farce of Israel’s innocence in his book ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ by arguing that Zionist movement’s is based on racism and it has justified the colonization of the Arab lands under the guise of the chosen people and the promised land.

A casual Check in history books reveal that the Kurds and the Palestinians are both the victims of the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement that was tailored to the benefit Israel and Europe. It would not remain the last lines on the shifting sand dunes.

Here is lesson and advice for Israel – If it wants to support the right of self-determination and independence of Kurds, first it has to learn to treat Palestinians as human beings. It should vacate every inch of the land it had occupied since 1967.

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