What ever happened to Kurdistan?

Unlike “Palestinians,” Kurds are a specific ethnic group with a long history.

For the record, the term “Palestinian” is a fictitious contrivance currently used to define the Arabs from various nations who migrated into Palestine in relatively recent times.  “Palestinian” was once used to describe the Jewish Zionists who settled in what was then the Ottoman territory known as Palestine.

Also, unlike Palestine, the establishment of a nation of Kurdistan was included in the aftermath of the Versailles Treaty.  As Lenin used to say, “promises are like pie crust...made to be broken.”

What is currently called Kurdistan is the border region where Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey converge.  Kurdish separatist tendencies are a perennial problem for the various regimes.  Kurds are also not universally Muslim.  Some are Zoroastrian or Christian.  Others are even Jewish.  Biblical Archaeology Review, in 2018, ran an article on Aramaic, the language of Jesus, which is still spoken by some Kurdish Jews.  Jewish mourners’ kaddish is also in Aramaic.

The point is that, with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, the Middle East was fractured, as were many of the lives of the people living there.  Yet now all of the attention is focused on the “Palestinians” — drifters from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, who came to the pre-existing Zionist enclave seeking economic opportunity.

Could it be that the rancor for Israelis being demonstrated outside the Middle East is an expression of latent antisemitism — particularly by the adherents of the political left?  Could well be so.

I grew up thinking antisemitism was an obsolete concept.  The awfulness of Hitler’s atrocities finally made racism, of any kind, unacceptable throughout the modern world.  Before that, polite conversation often portrayed “those people” as being inferior, whoever they were.  The serious quest for universal civil rights began with Hitler’s demise.

I guess I was wrong.  Antisemitism continues to exist.  Perhaps the general revulsion to the acts of Hamas and its supporters in our own midst will further vaccinate our world from such evil.  Perhaps not.  However, unlike the Kurds, who still inhabit their ancient homeland, Jews experienced a diaspora that scattered them throughout the world.

Once, while walking around Dublin, Ireland, I saw a bunch of folks coming out of a building.  They just didn’t seem to look like the typical Irish folks I was used to seeing.  They were much more formally dressed.  The men had full beards and wore large hats.  Then, on the side of the building, I saw the star of David.  Later in Galway, I was talking to two fellows in a pub, Kevin and Rory.  They asked me if I was visiting relatives.  When I said “no,” they asked if I was Irish.  I told them that I am Jewish, and Rory exclaimed that he had never seen one of them before.  Kevin, who had lived in America for a while, told Rory that it was really quite common over there.

What particularly brings Jews into the crosshairs of antipathy for those of European descent is that they tend to resemble just about anybody else, unlike Asians and Africans.  This encourages suspicion.  Perceived inordinate prosperity only further encourages this antipathy — sometimes taking the form of jealousy.  Of course, enlightened progressives are painfully embarrassed by this revelation...or are in complete denial of its existence.

It is entirely possible that we are at a turning point — where biased fallacies about the Israel-Palestine conflict will finally be debunked.  The “woke” left’s knee-jerk support for “victims of colonial occupation” will no longer come as close to ringing true.  The shark may have at last been jumped.

Again, I bring up the plight of the Kurds as a real-world comparison to the manufactured cause célèbre of the “Palestinians.”  There are other ethnic minorities that also find themselves sandwiched between dominant forces, such as the Basques, who dwell along the mountainous border between France and Spain.  The woke progressives, however, are rending their garments over the damage being inflicted on Hamas and its human shields — because Israelis are Jews who have been gathered together after being brought home from their diaspora.  Again, the shark has been jumped.

Image: scottgunn via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

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