Attribution: Taysheyi [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

As we prepare for Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah and a wonderful celebration here at Ramat Shalom on Sunday evening, it is imperative for us to raise our voices to defend the Kurdish people who are under attack by President Erdogan and his military.

The Kurds are indigenous to the Middle East. While efforts have been made to create a Kurdish state, they remain a homeless people. We Jews, with our deep connection to the land of Israel, know all too well about the challenges associated with not having a home – a safe haven.  In Syria today, Kurds are the largest ethnic minority. They live in in the northern part of the country, along the border with Turkey in the region now under attack.

As ISIS rose to power, the Kurdish militia demonstrated that they had the capability and willingness to stand up to extremists. Because of this, the United States partnered with the Kurdish militia and they became an important US ally in the region. As the Kurds pushed ISIS out of northern Syria, they took control of a large area of land in Syria that borders Turkey. Turkey is threatened by the Kurdish presence on the other side of their border as the Kurdish militia does have ties to the PKK, a dangerous guerilla group inside of Turkey, which seeks to overthrow Erdogan and create an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. The PKK is considered by the United States to be a terrorist organization.

President Erdogan is no friend of Israel and the Jews. Just last month at the UN, he compared Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis. He questioned Israel’s borders and lied about violence committed against civilians in Gaza by Israel. Last year, he accused the Jews of financing terrorism in Turkey. 

The situation is complicated, but as Jews we have, in many ways, struggled with some of the same challenges facing the Kurdish people. As Americans, we owe our Kurdish allies protection and support. It is imperative that we stay informed, reach out to our political leaders and learn what we can do to make a difference. I encourage you to follow the American Jewish Committee on social media as they are paying close attention to the attack on the Kurds. I will share more information on my Facebook page as it becomes available. 

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