יום ראשון, 23 ביוני 2013

Evaluation of the PhD thesis upon which the book ("Jewish Subjects and their tribal Chieftains," by Mordechai Zaken) was based

Joyce Blau, Professor Emerita, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris 19/06/2004
Moti Zaken’s thesis on the "Tribal Chieftains and their Jewish Subjects in Kurdistan: A Comparative Study in Survival” is highly original and makes a significant contribution to the general history of the Jewish diaspora.

The aim of the author of the thesis was exhaustively to describe the relations between the Kurdish chiefs and their Jewish subjects during the first part of the 20th century in northwestern Iraqi Kurdistan... Mr. Zaken has undertaken the study of precisely this recent history of a few Jewish communities which lived in the former, prestigious principality of Bahdinan, in northwestern Iraqi Kurdistan. He did this remarkably well. His documentation is based on firsthand information, and is of the highest value. Mr. Zaken collected his data from men and women from various areas of Bahdinan, where they had lived either in cites or villages, and most of whom had immigrated to Israel in the 1950s. He interviewed more than 50 people, many more than once. These discussions, which add up to hundreds of hours of interviews, most of which were taped, were then analyzed and classified. The task of gathering and ordering all this fieldwork was immense, and the candidate is to be congratulated on the methodology that he chose. This part of Mr. Zaken’s thesis, concerning Jewish life in Bahdinan, well complements the Impressive work of the pioneer ethnologist Erich Brauer.[ Erich Brauer, The Jews of Kurdistan, First edition 1940, revised edition 1993, completed and edited par Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press, Detroit.] Chapter II, which deals with the Jews, Kurds and Arabs between 1941 and 1952 is important because it raises the issue of the emerging conflict between the Zionist movement and the incipient national movements in the Arab countries. This problem, which was aggravated by the establishment of the Stale of Israel in 1948, was profoundly to affect the situation of the Jews in the Arab countries. However, in Iraqi Kurdistan the Kurdish chiefs, who Were concerned by the conflict only indirectly, were not willing to break ties forged with the Jewish communities over the course of thousand of years of co—existence, which on the whole were useful to them, particularly when the Jews, in contrast to the Christians, as we see later in Mr. Zaken’s thesis, could not be suspected of harboring sympathy for the “European enemy”. Many agha and Kurdish chiefs regretted the massive departure of the Jews for Israel in the early 1950s.. Note, in particular, the ties which united the Barzani dynasty to the Jewish people, which Mr. Zaken describes at length and so well in several chapters of his thesis. These were not one-way ties, for even today, in spite of the departure of nearly the whole Jewish population of Kurdistan for Israel, the links have not been definitively broken, and there are many Kurds who recognize their debt to the Jews.. In order to defame the Kurds in the eyes of the Jslamicist-milieux, a thesis is now circulating in Turkey which ‘proves the Jewish origin of the Barzani family’ [Cevat Eroglu (2004) lsrail'in beak stratejisi ve Kurtler (Israel’s everlasting strategy and the Kurds), Sayfa, Istanbul, 244 p. ] Questioned about this, an eminent member of the family, not in the least upset, told me; ‘So much the better. I am convinced of our Jewish origins.” Chapters III to VI describe in detail the daily lives of the Jewish communities of Bahdinan during the first half of the 20th century.. The candidate tried to be exhaustive: the result of his quest for oral documentation was considerable. This huge amount of information has not only been well classified, hut the candidate succeeded in making it a smooth and agreeable read. This detailed study has made a major contribution to the study of the recent history of the region of Iraqi Bahdinan..
In sum, Mr. Zaken's thesis is highly original in both subject and method. The project he undertook is a significant one, in an academic area where there is still a dearth of knowledge, and his work complements the previous research which does exist. He made excellent methodological choices both in doing an impressive number of first hand interviews, a in the careful and detailed way he treated the material he obtained; his data is highly valuable. His work is an important contribution to the study of the Jewish diaspora, to the study of the specificities of the Kurdish Jews, to the study Jewish relations with Moslems and Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan, and to the study of Iraqi Kurdistan itself. I highly commend this thesis, and congratulate Mr. Zaken on His work.

Paris, June 19th, 2004,
Joyce Blau

יום שישי, 21 ביוני 2013

The Jews of Iraqi Kurdistan and the Tribal Kurdish society- an Amazon review by Mihmed Berzenji (reproduced)


The book of Dr. Mordechai Zaken is the most important book written on the Jews of Kurdistan. In fact, this book unveils the types and characteristics of the relations between tribal Kurdish Muslim chieftains, (called "aghas") and their Jewish subjects and protégés. It concentrates on several Kurdish towns and dozens villages, mostly in northwestern Iraqi Kurdistan, during the first part of the 20th century. According to the referees of his PhD dissertation, Dr. Zaken conducted his study remarkably well. His records are based on firsthand information, and are of the highest value. He interviewed more than 60 people, many of them more than once and up to seven sessions. The author discussions with elderly Kurdish Jews, add up to hundreds of hours of interviews, most of which were taped, analyzed and classified.

This review is partly based on the reviews of two great scholars of Kurdish and Near Eastern history, Professor Joyce Blau of IANLCO (The Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales), Paris, and Professor Moshe Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The undersigned is an independent scholar and a descendant of Kurdish Jews.

Both Moshe Sharon and Joyce Blau praised Mordechai Zaken for the immense fieldwork he conducted, for the methodology that he chose, and for his scholarly achievement.

The book of Mordechai Zaken is a unique history book for three main reasons. First, the book is based practically (besides archival and other written sources) on hundreds of oral-history interviews conducted by the author, with elderly Kurdish Jews. He interviewed, between 1985 and 2002, more than 60 Jewish informants who lived previously in Kurdistan. In other words, Mordechai Zaken not only wrote the history of the Jews of Kurdistan, but in fact, he saved the history and sculpted or formed it from the oral memoires of Jewish Kurdish informants. Thanks to his research, it is available for the public, for the present and future generations. As Professor Moshe Sharon of the Hebrew University put it, Mordechai Zaken diligently and competently collected oral testimonies of Kurdish Jews and examined them carefully. By doing so, "he rendered a great service to the study of the history of the minorities in the Middle East in general as well as to the history of the Jews." Dr. Zaken saved the memoires of the Jews of Kurdistan from being lost forever. His book presents one of the best works of oral history and its importance is highly accentuated bearing in mind that there are very little written material and sources on the Jews of Kurdistan.

Moshe Sharon concluded, "This is an original, comprehensive study on the Jewish community in Kurdistan during its last stages of its existence. I have no doubt that in his unique research the author has shown originality, independence and made major contribution to the study of the minorities in the Middle East, as well as to the social history of the Jews in modern times."

 

Prof. Joyce Blau argues that Dr. Zaken's work well complements the Impressive work of the pioneer ethnologist Erich Brauer [(The Jews of Kurdistan, 1st ed., 1940 (Heb.); rev. ed., 1993 (Eng.).

 

According to Prof. Blau, the result of his quest for oral documentation was significant. This huge amount of information has not only been well classified, but the author succeeded in making it a smooth and agreeable read. This detailed study has made a major contribution to the study of the recent history of the region of Iraqi Bahdinan.

In sum, Mr. Zaken's thesis is highly original in both subject and method. The project he undertook is a significant one, in an academic area where there is still a dearth of knowledge, and his work complements the previous research, which does exist. He made excellent methodological choices both in doing an impressive number of first hand interviews, a in the careful and detailed way he treated the material he obtained; his data is highly valuable. His work is an important contribution to the study of the Jewish diaspora, to the study of the specificities of the Kurdish Jews, to the study Jewish relations with Moslems and Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan, and to the study of (Iraqi) Kurdistan.

 

This book is also noted for its enthralling and readable style. The book is dotted with hundreds of new and vivid tales, the fruits of this tremendous study. Each time a fact or a certain topic is introduced, the author provides one, two, or three animated and telling stories from the personal experience of the Jewish Kurdish informants. These stories substantiate the subject discussed.

The elderly Jewish informants shared with the author remarkable and gaudy personal accounts. Some of the informants had been previously Jewish subjects and protégés within the tribal Kurdish society, who had encyclopedic memory, as they had been the product of oral culture, in which the memory, the verbal skills and the active knowledge of languages were important tools in their survival. The author brings fascinating stories that demonstrate variety of subjects regarding the social and economic relationships between Kurdish aghas and their Jewish subjects.

Finally yet importantly, this book has become an excellent source for the tribal Kurdish society, its rules of conduct and practices. It brings to life accounts about tribal figures that most Kurds have long forgotten them. These tribal figures, or aghas, embodied the special relations conducted with their Jewish subjects and protégés. Some of the most renowned aghas that have been discussed in the book are the following aghas: Shaikh Ahmad and Mulla Mustafa Barzani, Mahmud and Qadir Agha Zibari, Sa'id Agha and Dewali Doski, Shaikh Abdallah Barifkani, Hajji Malo, Shaikh Nuri, Hajji Abd al-Latif and Hajji Sha'ban (Amadia); Shaikh Mahmud Berzenji, Shaikh Muhammad Rabatke, Shaikh Tawfik of Sisnawa (Baijil), Hajji Sadiq Biro (Gulli), Jamil Agha and Salih Agha Sindi and Abd al-Karim Agha (Zakho).

Of great significance are the chapters in the research dedicated to the methods adopted by Jews in order to survive in conditions of complete inferiority, submissiveness and dependence, and with no measures of self-defense or safety outside the tribal framework. Similar to ether Jewish communities in exile, the Jews learned to take advantage of every possible opportunity to overcome periods of distress, and the study reviews the various methods of survival used in such cases.

A significant part of the research was dedicated to the economic life of the Jews. It describes the skills of innovation, inventiveness, enterprise and initiative, which characterized the economic activity of the Jews. Particularly interesting are the parts in the study describing the Jewish peddler who roamed around, frequently in hostile territory, having to protect himself not only against thieves and robbers but also against “partners,” imposed on him. The richer Jews, mainly in the large urban centers had to search for every way to defend their property and to use their wealth to survive and to contribute to the survival of the community.

Using new reports and vivid oral tales, Zaken examines the question of patronage of the aghas and the financial support and services given in return by the Jews. Also discussed are the status, the safety and security of the Jews of Kurdistan, the slavery of rural Jews and the dominance of the aghas over their daily life.

Examining the experience of Kurdish Jews in six urban centers, the author suggests three patterns of relations with the Kurds. In the first, the Jews enjoyed patronage of a powerful tribal agha(s). In the second pattern, a family of wealthy and generous Jewish leader(s) mobilized the safeguard for the Jewish community, thanks to its wealth and shrewdness. In the third pattern, the Jews had to mobilize their best ability and pay-off money to endure the caprices, the greed of urban aghas. In order to survive in the tribal society, most Jews sought patronage of local or tribal chiefs, paying fees and providing the agha with gifts and various services. Tribal Chieftains valued their rural Jews as asset both because of their important occupations and because of their submissive approach. Although the image of Jews was low, their reputation as loyal further fixed their status as asset. Indeed some greedy chieftains exploited wealthy Jews and abused their patronage, but many aghas acted justly. Rural Jews described several aghas as honest and righteous. The available records suggest that in spite of occasional exploitation, abuse and murders of Jewish merchants and peddlers, many aghas attempted to safeguard their Jews. Although most Kurdish Jews were urban dwellers, a significant number of KJ resided in hundreds of villages in rural Kurdistan with relative convenience and security and were able to provide livelihood for their families and maintain elementary spiritual needs. Several reports referred to rural Jews as slaves. Upon analysis and examination, most of these so-called Jewish slaves were non-tribal subjects and protégés under the complete dominance of their aghas.

One part of the book deals with the economic position and professions of Kurdish Jews, notably of merchants, peddlers and weavers. The exploitation of Kurdish Jews by Kurds in a tribal setting was possible because the tribesmen had social, political and military dominance over non-tribal Jews.

Living among Muslim Kurds for generations, Kurdish Jews experienced conversion to Islam. Mordechai Zaken engraved from the Jewish experience in Kurdistan 3 defense mechanisms that the Jewish communities and leaderships used in an attempt to annul conversion of Jewish women. These mechanisms are well described and befitted into the Muslim and tribal context.

I reproduced this review, written by Lora Galichco, an independent scholar and a descendent of Kurdish Jews, as appeared in Amazon review of books. Mihmed Berzenji. 

 

 

JEWS IN IRAQI KURDISTAN AND THE TRIBAL KURDISH SOCIETY - a review from AMAZON, by Mihmed Berzenji


The book of Dr. Mordechai Zaken is the most important book written on the Jews of Kurdistan. In fact, this book unveils the types and characteristics of the relations between tribal Kurdish Muslim chieftains, (called "aghas") and their Jewish subjects and protégés. It concentrates on several Kurdish towns and dozens villages, mostly in northwestern Iraqi Kurdistan, during the first part of the 20th century. According to the referees of his PhD dissertation, Dr. Zaken conducted his study remarkably well. His records are based on firsthand information, and are of the highest value. He interviewed more than 60 people, many of them more than once and up to seven sessions. The author discussions with elderly Kurdish Jews, add up to hundreds of hours of interviews, most of which were taped, analyzed and classified.

This review is partly based on the reviews of two great scholars of Kurdish and Near Eastern history, Professor Joyce Blau of IANLCO (The Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales), Paris, and Professor Moshe Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The undersigned is an independent scholar and a descendant of Kurdish Jews.

Both Moshe Sharon and Joyce Blau praised Mordechai Zaken for the immense fieldwork he conducted, for the methodology that he chose, and for his scholarly achievement.

The book of Mordechai Zaken is a unique history book for three main reasons. First, the book is based practically (besides archival and other written sources) on hundreds of oral-history interviews conducted by the author, with elderly Kurdish Jews. He interviewed, between 1985 and 2002, more than 60 Jewish informants who lived previously in Kurdistan. In other words, Mordechai Zaken not only wrote the history of the Jews of Kurdistan, but in fact, he saved the history and sculpted or formed it from the oral memoires of Jewish Kurdish informants. Thanks to his research, it is available for the public, for the present and future generations. As Professor Moshe Sharon of the Hebrew University put it, Mordechai Zaken diligently and competently collected oral testimonies of Kurdish Jews and examined them carefully. By doing so, "he rendered a great service to the study of the history of the minorities in the Middle East in general as well as to the history of the Jews." Dr. Zaken saved the memoires of the Jews of Kurdistan from being lost forever. His book presents one of the best works of oral history and its importance is highly accentuated bearing in mind that there are very little written material and sources on the Jews of Kurdistan.

Moshe Sharon concluded, "This is an original, comprehensive study on the Jewish community in Kurdistan during its last stages of its existence. I have no doubt that in his unique research the author has shown originality, independence and made major contribution to the study of the minorities in the Middle East, as well as to the social history of the Jews in modern times."

 

Prof. Joyce Blau argues that Dr. Zaken's work well complements the Impressive work of the pioneer ethnologist Erich Brauer [(The Jews of Kurdistan, 1st ed., 1940 (Heb.); rev. ed., 1993 (Eng.).

 

According to Prof. Blau, the result of his quest for oral documentation was significant. This huge amount of information has not only been well classified, but the author succeeded in making it a smooth and agreeable read. This detailed study has made a major contribution to the study of the recent history of the region of Iraqi Bahdinan.

In sum, Mr. Zaken's thesis is highly original in both subject and method. The project he undertook is a significant one, in an academic area where there is still a dearth of knowledge, and his work complements the previous research, which does exist. He made excellent methodological choices both in doing an impressive number of first hand interviews, a in the careful and detailed way he treated the material he obtained; his data is highly valuable. His work is an important contribution to the study of the Jewish diaspora, to the study of the specificities of the Kurdish Jews, to the study Jewish relations with Moslems and Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan, and to the study of (Iraqi) Kurdistan.

 

This book is also noted for its enthralling and readable style. The book is dotted with hundreds of new and vivid tales, the fruits of this tremendous study. Each time a fact or a certain topic is introduced, the author provides one, two, or three animated and telling stories from the personal experience of the Jewish Kurdish informants. These stories substantiate the subject discussed.

The elderly Jewish informants shared with the author remarkable and gaudy personal accounts. Some of the informants had been previously Jewish subjects and protégés within the tribal Kurdish society, who had encyclopedic memory, as they had been the product of oral culture, in which the memory, the verbal skills and the active knowledge of languages were important tools in their survival. The author brings fascinating stories that demonstrate variety of subjects regarding the social and economic relationships between Kurdish aghas and their Jewish subjects.

Finally yet importantly, this book has become an excellent source for the tribal Kurdish society, its rules of conduct and practices. It brings to life accounts about tribal figures that most Kurds have long forgotten them. These tribal figures, or aghas, embodied the special relations conducted with their Jewish subjects and protégés. Some of the most renowned aghas that have been discussed in the book are the following aghas: Shaikh Ahmad and Mulla Mustafa Barzani, Mahmud and Qadir Agha Zibari, Sa'id Agha and Dewali Doski, Shaikh Abdallah Barifkani, Hajji Malo, Shaikh Nuri, Hajji Abd al-Latif and Hajji Sha'ban (Amadia); Shaikh Mahmud Berzenji, Shaikh Muhammad Rabatke, Shaikh Tawfik of Sisnawa (Baijil), Hajji Sadiq Biro (Gulli), Jamil Agha and Salih Agha Sindi and Abd al-Karim Agha (Zakho).

Of great significance are the chapters in the research dedicated to the methods adopted by Jews in order to survive in conditions of complete inferiority, submissiveness and dependence, and with no measures of self-defense or safety outside the tribal framework. Similar to ether Jewish communities in exile, the Jews learned to take advantage of every possible opportunity to overcome periods of distress, and the study reviews the various methods of survival used in such cases.

A significant part of the research was dedicated to the economic life of the Jews. It describes the skills of innovation, inventiveness, enterprise and initiative, which characterized the economic activity of the Jews. Particularly interesting are the parts in the study describing the Jewish peddler who roamed around, frequently in hostile territory, having to protect himself not only against thieves and robbers but also against “partners,” imposed on him. The richer Jews, mainly in the large urban centers had to search for every way to defend their property and to use their wealth to survive and to contribute to the survival of the community.

Using new reports and vivid oral tales, Zaken examines the question of patronage of the aghas and the financial support and services given in return by the Jews. Also discussed are the status, the safety and security of the Jews of Kurdistan, the slavery of rural Jews and the dominance of the aghas over their daily life.

Examining the experience of Kurdish Jews in six urban centers, the author suggests three patterns of relations with the Kurds. In the first, the Jews enjoyed patronage of a powerful tribal agha(s). In the second pattern, a family of wealthy and generous Jewish leader(s) mobilized the safeguard for the Jewish community, thanks to its wealth and shrewdness. In the third pattern, the Jews had to mobilize their best ability and pay-off money to endure the caprices, the greed of urban aghas. In order to survive in the tribal society, most Jews sought patronage of local or tribal chiefs, paying fees and providing the agha with gifts and various services. Tribal Chieftains valued their rural Jews as asset both because of their important occupations and because of their submissive approach. Although the image of Jews was low, their reputation as loyal further fixed their status as asset. Indeed some greedy chieftains exploited wealthy Jews and abused their patronage, but many aghas acted justly. Rural Jews described several aghas as honest and righteous. The available records suggest that in spite of occasional exploitation, abuse and murders of Jewish merchants and peddlers, many aghas attempted to safeguard their Jews. Although most Kurdish Jews were urban dwellers, a significant number of KJ resided in hundreds of villages in rural Kurdistan with relative convenience and security and were able to provide livelihood for their families and maintain elementary spiritual needs. Several reports referred to rural Jews as slaves. Upon analysis and examination, most of these so-called Jewish slaves were non-tribal subjects and protégés under the complete dominance of their aghas.

One part of the book deals with the economic position and professions of Kurdish Jews, notably of merchants, peddlers and weavers. The exploitation of Kurdish Jews by Kurds in a tribal setting was possible because the tribesmen had social, political and military dominance over non-tribal Jews.

Living among Muslim Kurds for generations, Kurdish Jews experienced conversion to Islam. Mordechai Zaken engraved from the Jewish experience in Kurdistan 3 defense mechanisms that the Jewish communities and leaderships used in an attempt to annul conversion of Jewish women. These mechanisms are well described and befitted into the Muslim and tribal context.

I reproduced this review, written by Lora Galichco, an independent scholar and a descendent of Kurdish Jews, as appeared in Amazon review of books. Mihmed Berzenji. 

 

 

יום שבת, 8 ביוני 2013

Iraqi Kurds Cool Ties to Israel, the Forward, April 27, 2012


Iraqi Kurds Cool Ties to Israel

Iran Stand-Off Sparks Friction in Hush-Hush Alliance

Hush-Hush Alliance: Iraqi Kurdish leader Marsoud Barzani has long been one of Israel’s only allies in the Middle East. Ties have been strained by Israel’s campaign to counter the growing nuclear threat posed by Iran.
getty images
Hush-Hush Alliance: Iraqi Kurdish leader Marsoud Barzani has long been one of Israel’s only allies in the Middle East. Ties have been strained by Israel’s campaign to counter the growing nuclear threat posed by Iran.

By Nathan Guttman

Published April 18, 2012, issue of April 27, 2012        
A decades-long relationship between Israel and Iraq’s Kurds, maintained mainly in the shadows, faces new challenges as the two sides are split over the growing nuclear threat posed by Iran.
Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish Region Government, visited Washington recently. Notably, he did not meet with Jewish officials, nor did he touch on issues relating to Israel. Ties between the Iraqi Kurds and Israel have cooled as Israel pushes for support in its fight against Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
Iraqi Kurds, on the other hand, hope to reduce tension with a powerful neighbor and want to avoid giving Tehran ammunition to use against them.
“I don’t think [the Kurds] want to irritate Iran too much,” said Robert Olson, a University of Kentucky professor who specializes in Kurdish affairs. “After all, they live next door.”
Judith Yaphe, senior fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for Strategic Studies, said Israel and the Unites States should not count on help from the Kurds in case of a showdown with Iran. “There’s not much they can do,” she said.The close relationship between Israel and the Kurds dates back to the 1950s, fueled mostly by their shared position facing several powerful enemies in the region.
The Kurds are an ancient Middle Eastern people numbering more than 25 million. They are scattered across the territory of several modern-day states, but have no independent state of their own. Iraqi Kurdistan has maintained de facto autonomy from Baghdad since the first Gulf War, when Western allies prevented Saddam Hussein from intervening in the region.
Due to its strategic location, Iraqi Kurdistan reportedly hosts undercover operations not only of Israel, but also of Iran.
David Pollock, visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said that during a recent visit to the Kurdish region, he spoke to a prominent political figure who told him he estimates Iran has more than 700 safe houses in Sulaymaniyah province in the Kurdish region. “I asked him what they are used for, and he said, ‘If I knew, they wouldn’t be safe houses any longer,’” Pollock recounted.
The Iranians’ long-term interest is to keep Kurds in check, particularly since Tehran has its own Kurdish minority to worry about, Marvin Zonis, a professor of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
“Iran’s interest, as is Turkey’s, always was to prevent any demonstration that something positive can come out of Kurdish autonomy,” Zonis said.
During his recent visit, Barzani pointedly sought to steer clear of any appearance of taking sides in the dispute between the West and Iran. As a venue for the only public appearance during his visit, Barzani chose the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a well-regarded Washington think tank known for its pro-Israel approach. In carefully crafted remarks, Barzani said his government would like to have normal relations with Iran, although it is committed to United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on the country.
The Kurdish leader added, however, that “no outside entity should be allowed to make decisions on [our] behalf,” a reference to Iranian attempts to meddle with internal Iraqi politics and make gains from the dispute between the Kurds and the central government.
Despite stating in the past that “it is not a crime to have relations with Israel,” Barzani refrained from meeting with Israeli or Jewish officials during his visit to Washington. The Kurdish Regional Government still maintains ongoing relations with pro-Israel groups mainly through its Washington office, headed by Qubad Talabani.
By all accounts, Iran’s nuclear program is not high on Kurdistan’s list of concerns. The Kurdish leader was more worried about the future of his own region in face of what he views as an attempted power grab by the central government in Baghdad, which had promised to allow more autonomy to the Kurds.
In his April 5 speech, Barzani demonstrated the frustration of Iraqi Kurds with the United States, which it accuses of leaving Iraq in the hands of a leader who has a growing appetite for centralization. With thinly veiled threats of separation, the Kurdish leader has sharpened his criticism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who heads Iraq’s national unity government. Tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Erbil are fed by disputes over oil development in the Kurdish region and by the decision of Maliki to increase his influence by taking charge of Iraq’s military and of the interior ministry.
“The Kurds do not believe that the U.S. military withdrawal means the end of a positive American role in Iraq,” Barzani said in his speech. The Kurdish leader met with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, both of whom carefully supported his call for ensuring limits on the power of Baghdad’s central government.
The long-term relationship between Israel and the Kurds is one based on mutual interests and often unspoken understandings.
For Israel, Kurdistan was an island of non-Arab friendship and a possible bridgehead to the Gulf. For the Kurds, Israel offered an alliance and a path to the West while struggling for self-determination in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Former Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani, Masoud Barzani’s father, was considered a friend to Israeli military and defense officials.
Pro-Israel Jewish activists viewed support for the Kurds, a small nation struggling for self-determination in a hostile Arab neighborhood, as helping Israel reach out to a natural ally.
“The Kurds were never against Israel,”” recalled Morris Amitay, a veteran pro-Israel American lobbyist who has maintained contacts with Kurdish officials for more than three decades. “Our Israeli friends always appreciated our friendship with the Kurds.”
Iraqi Kurds, on the other hand, have looked to American Jews as allies who can help open doors in Washington and gain international support.
“The Kurds learned a lot from watching the Israeli model,” Yaphe said. “They learned what to do to win the hearts and minds of the West, mainly the U.S., to build strong alliances.”
Relations between American pro-Israel activists and Iraqi Kurds followed, complementing unofficial ties between Jerusalem and Erbil, now the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.
“They have a fairly strong, positive approach to Israel, because they identify with Israel’s historical and political themes,” Olson said.
Years of close cooperation between Israelis and Kurds have led to endless tales of secret cooperation and covert actions, all aimed at hampering Tehran’s ambitions for regional dominance.
Reports earlier this year attributed an attack on an Iranian nuclear facility to Israeli and Kurdish fighters. Both sides denied any involvement in the attack. Other reports spoke of Mossad agents roaming free in Iraqi Kurdistan and of Israeli efforts to train and equip Kurdish forces as a counterweight to Iran’s growing influence.
Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com              
 
comments:
 
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 Kurds deserve to have their own state much more than Palestinians: they have their own language, their unique history and national aspirations. But "human rights activistists" don't care about Kurds and their rights. Maybe because they don't consider Kurds to be humans? Or any other reason?
 
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to all people everywhere. Everyone deserves to be treated decently - it's not a competition in which some are more deserving than others.
It was wrong when Saddam Hussein's goverment launched an Arabization campaign to move Arab settlers into the oil-rich Kurdish region around Kirkuk, just as it is wrong for the Israeli government to sponsor Jewish settlement of Palestinian land and subject the indigenous Palestinians to military occupation.
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I am not talking about declaration. I am saying that the treament of Kurds and Palestinians by the "human rights organizations" is DIFFERENT. And I asked: why is it different if they should be treated according to the SAME "universal" declaration? In other words: why "human rights organizations" don't treat Kurds the same way they treat Palestinians and don't fight for their rights? (Not only in Iraq. Kurds in Turkey are openly discriminated and oppressed. As well as in Iran).
I don't see anything in the story that supports the title. The Kurds are treading lightly for their own reasons. Not because their turning against Israel.
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Iran's leaders are willing to accept being wiped off the map in exchange for destroying Israel. They are totally selfless.

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According to MEMRI Special Dispatch Series No. 325, “Former President Ali Akhbar Rafsanjani, in the annual Al-Quds (Jerusalem) sermon given on December 14, 2001, said that if one day the world of Islam comes to possess nuclear weapons, Israel could be destroyed. Rafsanjani said that the use of a nuclear bomb against Israel would leave nothing standing, but that retaliation, no matter how severe, would merely do damage to the world of Islam.”

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Rafsanjani was calling for genocide. He said he was willing to suffer severe retaliation, as any good terrorist would.
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Rafsanjani is now out of power. Ahmadinejad has provided much more than one quote.
And so has North Korea, which unlike Iran, has actually fought against Israel.
 
 
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The free Syria rebels are actually paid military force of the USA/Israel/turkey. The kurds understand that once the rebels finish their mission to destroy Syria for the benefit of Israel the rebels will be available to attack other groups at the pleasure of USA/Israel/Turkey. Many of the rebels of Syria were active in Libya in the stealing of the wealth of Libya. The kurds now have a large oil field in northern Iraq which is ready for plucking. I think the kurds understand the USA/Israel/Turkey have a desire on their oil.
 
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Palestinians are invented people. As recently again it was said by Hamas leader that "Half of Palestinians are Egyptians, another half are Saudis". Arabs of Palestine who came from different Muslims countries neighboring modern state of Israel kGB awarded by name "Palestinians" in 1968 after Israel victory in 1967.
It is part of ideological war against Israel and Jews by Leftists all the world including our American liberal Jews. if G-d want to punish He takes people's mentality, ability to think.
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It is absolutely legitimate question why 25 MLS Kurds have no support from Liberals, why Liberals take care only about invented people "Palestinians". Probably it is much more beneficial for them. Muslims world use cynical hypocrites Liberals as "useful idiots" because per Koran jihad is main obligation of Muslims against all non Muslims. First and most hated enemy among other non-Muslims for them (per Koran) are Jews.
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The Kurdish people have good reason to be wary of both the U.S. and Israel. After all, the U.S. assisted Saddam Hussein in developing chemical weapons (supposedly to use against Iran) which he then also used against the Kurds. As for Israel, they supplied Iran with military hardware (most notably as part of the Iran-Contra affair) during the Iran–Iraq War (which Iraq, an American 'client state', had initiated by attacking Iran).

*******************************
FROM WIKIPEDIA [Halabja poison gas attack]: (excerpts). . . The Halabja poison gas attack, also known as Halabja massacre or Bloody Friday,[1] was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War, when chemical weapons were used by the Iraqi government forces in the Kurdish town of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. The attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people. . .
. . . The provision of chemical precursors from United States companies to Iraq was enabled by a Ronald Reagan administration policy that removed Iraq from the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Leaked portions of Iraq's "Full, Final and Complete" disclosure of the sources for its weapons programs shows that thiodiglycol, a substance needed to manufacture mustard gas, was among the chemical precursors provided to Iraq from US companies such as Alcolac International and Phillips. . .
P.S. ALSO FROM WIKIPEDIA [Iran–Contra affair]: (excerpts) . . .Michael Ledeen, a consultant of National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, requested assistance from Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for help in the sale of arms to Iran.[21][22] At the time, Iran was in the midst of the Iran–Iraq War and could find few Western nations willing to supply it with weapons.[23] The idea behind the plan was for Israel to ship weapons through an intermediary (identified as Manucher Ghorbanifar)[2] to a supposedly moderate, politically influential Iranian group opposed to the Ayatollah Khomeni;[24] after the transaction, the U.S. would reimburse Israel with the same weapons, while receiving monetary benefits. . .
. . . Following the Israeli-U.S. meeting, Israel requested permission from the U.S. to sell a small number of TOW antitank missiles . . .
. . . Reagan initially rejected the plan, until Israel sent information to the U.S. showing that the "moderate" Iranians were opposed to terrorism and had fought against it.[28] Now having a reason to trust the "moderates", Reagan approved the transaction, which was meant to be between Israel and the "moderates" in Iran, with the U.S. reimbursing Israel.[25] . . .
. . . On August 20, 1985, Israel sent 96 American-made BGM-71 TOW antitank missiles to Iran through an arms dealer named Manucher Ghorbanifar, a friend of Iran's Prime Minister, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. . .

Kurdish students in Iraq push for relations with Israel

Kurdish students in Iraq push for relations with Israel


In University of Kurdistan, students debate whether to forge diplomatic ties with Israel. Debate judge tells Ynet 'arguments focused on historical connection between Jews, Kurds, says believes can have 'fruitful ties'
Roi Kais
Published: 05.27.13, 01:00 / Israel News



"Should Iraqi Kurdistan have open diplomatic relations with Israel?" Students in the University of Kurdistan think the answer is yes, at least that is the position that won during an unusual debate held in the university in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.  

 
More than 200 students from all of the university's faculties showed up to take part. In the event, two teams numbering three people each faced off in front of a judges' panel.

 
Related stories:
 
Susan Mandelvey, head of the university's public relations and one of the members of the judges' panel spoke to Ynet and said: "We see ourselves as an institution in which people can openly express their opinions."  

רוב הסטודנטים בעד. ה"דיבייט" באוניברסיטת כורדיסטן
The Debate
 
At the end of the debate, the judges' panel decided that the team arguing for relations with Israel was victorious, and afterwards the audience echoed their decision vehemently voting in favor for relations with the Jewish state.


דיון נדיר. סטודנטית ב"דיבייט" באוניברסיטת כורדיסטן
Students debate Israel
 
Another judge in the Erbil debate said: "The arguments of the winning team focused on the historic relations between Jews and Kurds. I also believe that we can have good and fruitful relations with Israel."

 
Nonetheless, she diplomatically evaded giving further details on the character of those relations when pressed for an answer, saying "because I judged the debate I am barred from fully stating my own opinion. I need to remain neutral."  

"מה הבעיה שגם לנו יהיו יחסים עם ישראל?" ה"דיבייט" באוניברסיטת כורדיסטן
Students in favor of relations with Israel
 
Iraqi Kurdistan was formed in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. Its formation was further spurred by the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
 
Iraqi Kurds, who number around five million, enjoy the highest level of autonomy of the entire 30 million strong Kurdish population spread world wide, located mostly in Iran, Syria and Turkey.

 
In wake of Kurdish aspirations and independent identity, tension between the central regime in Baghdad and Masoud Barzani, Iraqi Kurdistan's regional government president since 2005, have become common.
 

Two persecuted people

Head of the university's student union, Uda Sarhang, a student of international relations, recalled the debate and said: "The central argument for those calling for open ties with Israel was that a majority of Mideast countries have ties with Israel; ties conducted peacefully despite their dislike of Israel. So, why can't we have the same ties?"
 
Sarhang, who admitted to also supporting the idea of ties with Israel, claimed that an additional argument made during the debate was the current relations conducted by Jewish Kurds and Kurdistan.

 
Despite the victory registered by those in favor, there were of course those who vehemently opposed the forging of any such type of relations.

 
"A number of the arguments that were made against the relations were religious claims, as well as additional arguments regarding Israel's treatment of Palestinians," Sarhang said.

 
Prof. Ofra Bengio from Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center, who conducts extensive research on the topic of Kurds in the Mideast, spoke to Ynet and said that the debate was indeed a very unusual occurrence.

 
"This is not a common thing, not in Kurdistan and not anywhere," Prof. Bengio said, adding that "from what I gathered from meeting Kurds from different regions of Kurdistan, there is some kind of sense of a shared fate between us and Kurds, at least in the sense that we are both minorities in a region not interested in our self-determination."

 
Regarding the question of whether Kurdistan should have diplomatic ties with Israel, Prof. Bengio said: "Both sides are hesitant. The Kurdish side has strong interests dictating that it should not pursue ties with Israel, first and foremost because Kurds still don’t have a state, and hence cannot really forge diplomatic ties with Israel."

 
Nonetheless, it is worth noting that in 2008 history was made when Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, shook the hand of then Defense Minister Ehud Barak during an international summit in Greece.

 
Afterwards, in wake of the handshake, Iraqi parliament members called on Talabani to apologize and resign.

(published in YNET)

Israel, Turkey and the Kurds- an interview with Dr.Mordechai Zaken (in Turkish)

http://www.iyigunler.net/yazar/rafael-sadi-kurt-dosyasi-ve-israil---4-oku-1094.html#.UbMB75Vjl6U.blogger

An interview with Dr. Mordechai Zaken,

May 8, 2013

Rafael SADİ

Kürt Dosyası ve İsrail - 4



Sayın Dr. Moti Zaken Sizinle  telefonda görüşmekten memnuniyet duydum. Size İsrail'in Kürtler ile olan ilişkileri konusunda bazı sorular sormak ve mümkünde cevaplarını yazılı olarak almak istiyorum veya siz nasıl arzu ederseniz.
Uzun süredir Türk basınında İsrail'in PKK Kürt örgütü ile ilişlisi olduğu suçlamaları yer almaktadır. Bunun ışığında da :

 Rafal Sadi -İsrail'in bu örgüt ile herhangi bir ilişkisi mevcut mudur? İsrail bu örgüt'ü bir terör grubu olarak mı yoksa bir direniş örgütü olarak mı görüyor?

Moti Zaken:
Bildiğim kadarı ile İsrail yetkilileri ile PKK temsilcileri arasında herhangi bir temas mevcut değildir.
RS-Gayet iyi  bilinmektedir ki İsrail geçmişte , 70'li yıllarda Kürt Lideri Molla Mustafa Barzani'ye  destek vermiş hatta cephane yardımında da bulunmuştu.Günümüzde  durum nedir?

MZ-İsrail geçmişte Molla Mustafa  Barzani'yi ve Irak'taki Kürtleri Irak'taki Aran rejimine ve Saddam Hüseyin'e karşı savaşlarında destekledi .Bu yanı zamanda  basında da yayınlanmıştı.

Irak İsrail ve Kürtlerin müşterek düşmanı idi. Buna karşılık Türkiye asla İsrail'in düşmanı değildi.  Son yıllarda ise Türkiye Başbakanı Sayın Erdoğan'ın  İsrail Karşıtı ve Antisemitik söylemleri sayesinde ise bir çok İsrailli bu türden bir liderliği küçümseyerek karşı tarafa geçmişler ve İsrail'i  alenen küçümseyerek ve onurunu kırarak, İslam  ve Arap Dünyasının lideri olmayı deneyen Erdoğan'ın karşısında olmuşlardır ve bunu sadece Sayın Erdoğan'a borçluyuz.



İsrailliler  asla Türklerin düşmanı olmamıştır , bunun bilinmesine rağmen Türk otoriteleri   düşmanca bir yaklaşımca  kin ve nefret gemisinin  Akdeniz de seyrederek İsrail'e yakınlaşmasına  ve İsrail'e karşı provokasyonda bulunmasına müsaade ettiler?

Birileri uzun yıllar PKK'nın Suriye rejiminin patronluğu altında olduğunu hatırlaması lazımdır. Hatta eğitim kamplarının Lübnan'daki Bekaa vadisinde bulunduğunu da unutmamaları gerekir.PKK 1980'lerde İsrail'e karşı organize edilen bir çok askeri operasyonda da yer almışlardır.

İsrailli yetkililer PKK'ya karşı  ABD'nin  Amerikan Tutumunu adapte etmişlerdir.

Samimiyetle söylemek gerekirse  İsrail'de bir çok kişi dünyadaki ve özellikle Türkiye'deki  Kürtlere karşı sempati beslemektedirler .Bu sempatinin PKK'ya olması gerekmiyor. Sayın  Erdoğan'nın son yıllardaki  Filistinlileri bahane ederek , İsrail karşıtı eleştiri sel duruşu ile İsrailliler Erdoğanın haksız duruşunu ve anlamsızlığını tespit ederek özellikle Türkiye'deki Kürtlerin avukatlığını yapmaya ve onların haklarını internetteki sohbetlerde ve web sitelerinde  savunmaya başladılar .

Bu davranış biçiminin ana sebebi ise Erdoğan'ın düşmanca İsrail karşıtı eleştirileri ve resmi bildirileridir, özellikle İsrail Filistin ilişkileri ile ilgili olanları. Sayın Erdoğan İsrail Kamuoyu'nun  daha fazla Kürt taraftarı olmasındaki en büyük pay'ın sahibidir.

Türkiye'nin PKK lideri Abdullah Öcalan'ı 1998'de Kenya'da yakalamasını uluslararası medyada duyurdu ve bundan ne kadar sevinçli olduğunu bütün Dünyaya ilan etti, Türkiye bundan gurur duyuyordu.

Peki Türklerin ikinci adımı ne oldu? Vakit kaybetmeksizin basına İsrail'in Öcalan'ın yakalanmasında İsrail'in yardımı olduğunu sızdırdılar. Onlar bunu İsrail'in Kürtler ile ilişkilerinin bozulması için yaptıklarını biliyoruz.Kürtler ile İsrailliler arasında bir gerilim yaratmaktı esas amaç. Türkiye bunu aynen Osmanlı İmparatorluğunun tarihte yaptığı gibi yaptı ve  kavimler ve azınlıklar arasındaki kandile  yağ ilave ederek  nefret  ateşini alevlendirerek konumlarını güçlendirmeyi tercih ettiler.

Bu oyuna gelen Kürtler ise Avrupa'daki İsrail Elçiliklerinin önünde protesto gösterileri yaptılar . Berlin'de korkunç bir felaket olması önlenmiş ve iki Kürt gösterici öldürülmüştü.(Berlin elçiliğine girmek isteyen silahlı iki gösterici veya terörist İsrailli korumalarca etkisiz hale getirilmişti). Türklerin amacı Kürtler ile İsrailliler arasına nifak sokmaktı.

KRG  Kürt Bölgesel Hükümeti İrak'a  neredeyse bağımsız  bir yönetim adeta fiili bir ülkedir. Henüz kanunen ülke değilse de  fiilen öyledir.

KRG'nin İsrail ile  resmi ilişkileri yoktur. Ancak Türk yetkililer  KRG ile ilişkileri idame ettirmektedirler , tabii ki Türk menfaatlerini güven altına almak maksadı ile.Teorik olarak birileri kalkıp sorabilir Neden İsrail KRG ile ilişkide olmasın neden engellensin ki ?Türkiye ye serbest olan neden İsrail'e yasak olsun ki?

Her  Kürt bilir ki İsrail ile Kürtler arasında  sevgi, sempati ve müşterek bir tarih  mevcuttur. Bu Kürtler  ile İsrail arasında hatta Kürdistan ile İsrail arasında  da mevcuttur. Toplum bunu biliyor ve bunu  hissediyor da. Bu aynen İsrail ile ABD arasındaki gerçek dostluk gibidir.Menfaatler gözetilmeksizin ve gerçek dostluğun göstergesidir  İsrail ile ABD arasındaki ilişki. İsrail ile Kürtler arasındaki ilişkide bu türden bir ilişkidir.

Türkler bunu sevmeyebilirler. Türkler İsrailliler ile Kürtlerin müştereken kendilerini değişik şekillerde suçlayabileceklerinden kuşkulanabilirler. Ancak onlar  gerçekleri değiştiremezler.

Türkler KRG ile menfaatleri nedeni ile ilişkilerini sıcak tutuyorlar , müşterek sınırları vardır ve Türkler menfaatlerini korumak istemektedirler. Bir asır kadar Türkler Kürtleri bir çok haklarından mahrum bıraktılar.  Onları taciz ederek doğal kaynaklarını aldılar , binlerce köyü yok ettiler , güney doğu Anadoluda Kürt nüfusunun azalmasına sebebiyet verdiler ve  sonuç olarak Kürtlerin büyüyerek bağımsız bir devlet olabilecek , bir özerk yönetimleri olmasına mani oldular.Türkler Kürtlerin  kendi ana lisanları Kürtçe'yi  konuşmalarına mani oldular. Türkler  akademik  olarak Kürtlerin varlığını inkar ederek etnik bir halk oldukları gerçeğini silmeye çalıştılar  ve Kürtler  yoktur  '' DAĞ TÜRKLERİ'' vardır dedirttiler  akademisyenlere.

Ve şimdi aniden KRG ve Suriye-Türkiye ilişkilerindeki değişiklikler siyasi menfaatler nedeni ile , doğrusu bu olduğu için değil hatta haklı ve  moral açıdan etik olduğu için de değil sadece ve sadece Türkiyenin bölgesel menfaatlerine hizmet edeceği için .

RS-Bildiğimiz kadarı ile değişik Kürt grupları mevcuttur , Türkiye , Kuzey Irak , Suriye , İran ve hatta Ürdün 'de  , Kürtlerin toplam nüfusu ne kadardır? Hatta her ülkede ayrı ayrı biliyorsanız?

MZ- Türkiye , Kuzey Irak , Suriye  ve Iran'da hatta  bir miktar da Ürdün'de  Kürt cemaatleri mevcuttur. Akademik çevreler toplam Kürt nüfusunun yaklaşık 30 milyon olduğunu ifade ediyorlar , bu diasporadaki 2 milyon  Kürt dahil rakamdır.

Sorunlar Türkiye , İran ve Suriye'dedir.Özellikle Suriye asla  resmi bir rakam belirtmemiştir Kürt nüfus ile ilgili olarak.

RS-Günün birinde Kürtlerin de Filistinlilerin talep ettiği gibi bir devletleri olacak mı?İsrail'in böylesi bir Kürt oluşumu Devlet,   Otonomi  veya adı her ne olacaksa,   tutumu , yaklaşımı ne olacaktır?Sizce İsrail böylesi bir oluşumu destekleyecek mi?Veya İsrail ile Türkiyenin ilişkileri o denli hassastır ki İsrail Kürdistan devleti veya  oluşum nasıl olacaksa desteklemekten  geri kalacak mıdır?


MZ-Kürtler, halen kendi devletleri olmayan Dünyadaki en büyük azınlık gruptur Onlar da kendi devletleri olmasını istemektedirler. Kendi devletlerinden muhtariyetlerinden , hatta yaşadıkları ülkelerde bir çok temel haklardan da mahrumdurlar. Sadece İsrail değil Uluslararası camia da resmi bir statüleri olmalarını desteklemelidirler.

RS-İsrail'de Kürt Yahudi nüfusu ne kadardır?

Siz Kendinizi Kürt sayıyor musunuz ve günün birinde ihtiyaçları olursa İsrail'i Bırakıp Kürdistan için çarpışmaya gider misiniz? Veya Kaç tane Kürt Yahudisi Kürdistan için savaşmaya gider İsrail'den? Böylesi bir  Kürt Yahudi cemaati mevcutmudur İsrail'de?

MZ- 150-200 bin arası, ancak bu 2. nesil ve karma evlilikler dahil rakamdır. Bu soru anlamsızdır , İsrail'deki Kürt Yahudileri Kürdistan'daki Kürtlere karşı  sempati beslemektedirler. Ancak onların bir devleti var  kendi devletleri de İSRAİL Devletidir. Onlar Kürtleri moral olarak desteklemeyi isterler, bunu da açıkça ve bütün Dünyaya da ilan ederek yapmak isterler. Kürtleri severler ve Kürtlerin bir devletleri olması gerektiğini savunurlar ve isterler. Nasıl ki Türkler Filistinlilerin bir devleti olmasını isterlerse bizler de Kürtlerin bir devletleri olmasını isteriz ve bunu destekleriz.

RS-Sizin için Abdullah Öcalan ve Mesut Barzani arasında fark var mıdır?Sizce hangisi Kürtlerin gerçek lideridir?

MZ-İki değişik liderden ve iki değişik ülkede Milli Kürt hareketi için 25-30 senedir değişik savaşlar veren iki farklı kişilikten söz ediyoruz. Kıyaslamak kolay değil.

RS-Türkiye bugünlerde  Türkiye Kürtleri ile bir çeşit BARIŞ SÜRECİ geliştirmektedir  özellikle PKK ve Öcalan ile. Bir Kürt Yahudisi  ve İsrailli olarak bunu tasvip ediyor musunuz veya Türkiye'nin  teröristler ile iş birliği yapmasını yanlış mı buluyorsunuz?

MZ- Umarım bu netice verir ve olumlu sonuç alınabilir.