Israel has just celebrated the 68th anniversary of its independence. No Israeli who is loyal to the state takes the country’s independence for granted, nor should they ever. After all, we as a people waited two thousand years to restore our sovereignty in our ancestral homeland. And we’ll be damned if we let anyone take it away from us! But whenever we celebrate our independence, I believe we should also think about the peoples of the world who have not yet achieved self-determination. There are countless groups of people in the world today who don’t have a nation-state to call their own and who are fighting valiantly for the opportunity to achieve independence, sometimes sacrificing their lives, just as many Israelis have sacrificed theirs in order to gain and retain our sovereignty. In fact, I would say that if we truly value our own freedom, we should support those who do not yet have it.
What do I mean by support? To put it succinctly, I mean that Israel should offer moral, financial and even military support to peoples fighting for their right to independence, so long as doing so does not endanger its own security. Actually, helping certain peoples to attain self-determination may enhance Israel’s security interests. For example, helping the Kurds of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey to achieve independence would gain Israel a valuable ally in the region. Israel and the Kurds already have mutual enemies, so it is only natural that we be on friendly terms with them and help each other out. In fact, it is generally known that Israel and the Kurds have cooperated on more than one occasion.
There are others who could use Israel’s help and with whom we share common enemies. Indeed, the dwindling Christian populations of the Middle East, especially the ones who have fallen victim to the atrocities of the so-called Islamic State, could certainly use a loyal friend since their fellow Christians in the Western world have largely abandoned them. Ideally, Israel would back every group of people who have a legitimate claim to an independent nation-state. I would love it, for example, if Israel’s leaders publicly supported independence for the peoples of Scotland, Catalonia and Quebec. But of course, Israel does not exist in an ideal world, so it would be impractical for me to expect our leaders to publicly support every righteous cause for independence. Still, there are cases in which Israel can and should support a people’s struggle for self-determination while maintaining and even enhancing its national security interests.