Kuzzat Altay
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The Uyghurs should have no better friend than Israel

As China wages genocide against my people, Jews may be the only one in the world who can truly understand our plight
Supporters of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally in front of the White House to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the July 5th Urumqi Massacre, July 5, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
Supporters of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally in front of the White House to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the July 5th Urumqi Massacre, July 5, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

After World War II and the tragedy of the Holocaust, the world adopted a phrase that expressed its newfound resolve: “Never again.” Never again would the world stand by and watch an entire people group be targeted for extinction. Never again would the world allow tyrants and thugs to engage in genocide without consequences. But today, the world is doing just that with respect to the Uyghur people of East Turkistan.

No pain can be compared to the Holocaust. As such, no people can understand the pain of Uyghurs better than the Jewish people. I recently visited Israel for the first time. The endless layers of history were fascinating, and I fell in love with the Jewish people. However, in my opinion, Israel is not doing enough to stand up for the Uyghur people – a people who are facing a level of persecution that few people, perhaps the Jews alone, understand.

Indeed, as I will show, they are facing a genocide.

If we really mean “Never Again,” we cannot allow this genocide of Uyghurs to continue. No one is better positioned to further this cause than the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Punishable genocide

After World War II, the United Nations established the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide in 1948. The purpose was to forever avoid atrocities against any group like those the Nazis committed against the Jews. The Convention defines “punishable genocide” as follows:

Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Each and every one of these criteria is met by the CCP’s actions against the Uyghur people. Thousands of Uyghurs have been killed; millions have been imprisoned in concentration camps; its women are forcibly sterilized, and their children forcibly aborted; and the CCP makes no distinction between Uyghur adults and children, who it persecutes, imprisons, or kills at whim.

I am a member of the Uyghur people, and a Muslim, both of which the CCP has identified as a threat, and seeks to annihilate within East Turkistan. Like so many Jews, many of my people have been targeted for destruction for not only their religious, but their ethnic identity as well. Fortunately, I was able to make it to the United States in 2008. But many of my family members have not been so lucky.

In East Turkistan, the CCP has created the perfect Orwellian police state – a “security” apparatus the Nazis could only dream of. My family, friends, and acquaintances are monitored at every moment. Their movements are tracked. They must register virtually everywhere they go through a system of QR codes by which the prying eyes of the Communist Big Brother can keep tabs on their every move. Even the slightest hint of resistance will end them up in concentration camps where they are “reeducated” to “Love the Chinese Communist Party” and to “Love Chairman Xi Jinping.” More than a million of my people have been in these camps since 2017, and many have simply “disappeared.”

Those who are lucky enough to survive are allowed to return home to their families, where their wives, sisters, and daughters, have often been sterilized or compelled to abort their children. Today, Uyghur population growth has been brought to a complete standstill thanks to the CCP’s imposition of forced sterilizations and abortions on Uyghur women – a tactic that was likewise considered and partially implemented by the Nazis against Jews and other “undesirables” prior to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

‘Never Again’ must mean something

Unfortunately, many in the world have turned a blind eye to the genocide of the Uyghur, preferring their own bottom lines and profit margins. Israel itself has too often been silent, turning a blind eye to the CCP’s atrocities. But if we really mean it when we say, “Never Again,” this must change. The CCP is engaged in punishable genocide. Its actions against the Uyghur fit every criterion established by the UN and international law.

China recently called for the UN to meet to discuss Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to Al Aqsa, or Temple Mount, as Jews call it today. China and Israel should strive for peaceful relations, but be under no illusions: China is not your friend.

“Never Again” requires action. Israel, at a minimum, should call for the UN Security Council to meet and take action to prevent the very thing the world declared it would never allow again after the Holocaust. It requires acting now, not tomorrow. Both the Jewish people and the State of Israel have faced the real threat of annihilation. You know the pain and anguish involved in facing oppression on a genocidal scale. That is why I believe you are uniquely positioned to stand up for the Uyghur people in their hour of need.

As a Uyghur myself, I humbly ask – I beg you – to do just that.

About the Author
Kuzzat Altay is a leading Uyghur American businessman, tech entrepreneur, and human rights activist. He is the Founder and CEO of Cydeo and a Harvard Business Alum. He previously served as President of the Uyghur American Association.
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