Esor Ben-Sorek

The Kurds Asked Us. Did We Answer?

On 10 October our Israeli prime minister announced that “Israel is prepared to offer humanitarian aid to the gallant Kurdish people”. Today, 11 days following his goodwill declaration what aid have we given? Shamefully, none. Only empty words.

Yesterday, the Kurdish leaders reminded us of the suffering of the Jewish people over the centuries. As good friends over centuries, the Kurds have turned to us to help them avoid the slaughter by the Turks.

It has now asked us to intervene with the Erdogan government in Ankara to cease military actions against them in their safe zones in Syrian territory.

That seems a fair request and there are several ways in which we might influence the Turks to cease their war against the Syrian Kurds. They are not connected to the Kurdish rebels in Turkey whom Erdogan, Trump and other European leaders have labeled a terrorist organization.

They are fighting for their land, for their Kurdish homeland which has been denied them by the fighting Turks and the vitriol which pours out of the mouth of president Erdogan.

There must be a realization of the kinship between Jews and Kurds. During the waning years of the British mandate in Palestine, our terrorist groups, Lehi and Irgun (God bless them all) were responsible for blowing up the British offices in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. Our terrorist groups often captured British soldiers and officers and executed them by hanging

Their brazen actions caused Britain to withdraw from its mandate and retreat from Palestine. Those Jewish terrorist activities gave birth to our independent State of Israel. Herzl’s dream had at last been realized.

After two thousand years of wandering and persecution, we were finally our own people in our own land

Jews, especially in Israel, sympathize with the Kurdish fight to establish a free homeland. It is our obligation to provide help and aid in any way we can to help them to secure their own land

What is it that they want us to do regarding our relationship and diplomatic efforts in Turkey ?

For one example, we can curtail all ElAl flights to Turkey and refuse landing rights in Israel to Turkish Airlines. We can reduce or cut military supplies which we send to Turkey. We can halt our diplomacy by returning our ambassador from Ankara and sending Turkish diplomats back to Turkey.

In small ways, we can demonstrate our protest against Turkish inhumanity to the Kurdish people and nation.

It is not a question of what can the Kurds do for us. They have given us decades of respect. No Jew has ever been attacked or beaten by Kurdish forces. It is not a question of what goods can be exchanged between the two nationalities.

It is only a question, at this dangerous time in history, of what we can do to help the Kurds and to relieve them from Turkish oppression and massacre. It is our mitzvah, our sacred obligation, to come to the aid of friends who are enduring oppression, persecution, execution and exile. We cannot… we dare not.. refuse their request for Israel’s intervention in an effort to save their lives.

The nations of the western world have forgotten the Kurdish people. No resolution has been made in the Halls of the Nations to formally recognize and support the Kurdish claim to Kurdistan.

Their national flag must hang high, waving breezes, on flagpoles of United Nations Plaza in New York

The Kurds have sought help from Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu favors offering aid to their cause.

They have asked. We have not yet answered their cries for help

We recite our Hebrew prayers blessing El Rahum, the God of Mercy.

What mercy have we shown to the brave and suffering Kurdish people?

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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