More than 100 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Tuesday to protest Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, calling on the international community to stop the “genocide of the Kurdish people.”Organized by political activist Maj. (res.) Yair Fink, the demonstration began in front of the Turkish Embassy on Hayarkon Street and continued south to the US Embassy branch office.“It’s our moral obligation as Jews to help them,” Fink told The Jerusalem Post during the rally, adding that Israel should help the Kurds in northern Syria by providing ammunition and clothing, and “convincing the world to be on their side and not ignore them.”Fink penned a letter last week signed by more than 150 IDF reservists calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi to provide military and humanitarian support to the Kurds.“We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by when we see another nation abandoned by its allies and is left defenseless,” read the online petition. “We remember very well the blood of our people, what happens when the nations of the world abandon the fate of a people.”While neither Netanyahu nor Kochavi have responded to the petition, Fink said that 100 people showing up to demonstrate was a success.
“In the middle of the [Sukkot] holiday for hundreds of Israeli coming out to protest is a success that we hope will help the Kurdish people,” he said.Attended by both Israeli Jews and Druze, the protest was one of many that have taken place across the country since the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria began last week.“America – don’t let Trump enable genocide on your behalf,” read one placard.“Israel stands with the Kurdish people,” read another.“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything,” read a third sign with the face of Hevrin Khalaf.The Kurdish political leader, her driver and seven others were killed on Sunday by fighters allied with Ankara on a highway outside Tel Abyad in northern Syria, after they were pulled from their cars. The murders were captured on camera phone.Ari and Natan, two Kurds who took part in the demonstration, told the Post that Israel and the international community should support the Kurdish people against the Turkish offensive.“We are here to support our country,” Ari said. “It’s amazing that Israel is supporting us. Israel is a small country but it can support more people and could potentially bring more Kurds here. They can die where they are right now. Israel has the power to save lives, and they could! The Kurds aren’t terrorists. If it wasn’t for the Kurds, ISIS would still be around. They would be carrying out more bombings, more attacks around the world. The Kurds stopped a worldwide disaster. Israel could and should do more.”Last Monday, US President Donald Trump announced that the US military would withdraw troops from northern Syria, effectively green-lighting a Turkish invasion into Kurdish areas that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening for months.While the invasion by Turkey, a member of NATO, has drawn condemnation across the globe, little has been done to safeguard Kurdish civilians, some 160,000 of whom have fled from the onslaught, including 70,000 children.The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the withdrawal of American troops was a betrayal by Washington, and that the move would turn the clock back on the six years of achievements against Islamic State (ISIS).The SDF was instrumental in defeating ISIS, and was the US-led coalition’s main partner on the ground. The Turkish offensive aims to push the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a major backbone of the SDF, from some 440 kilometers along the border running from Kobane to Hasakeh.In the week since the offensive began, hundreds of Kurds have been killed and 160,000 people including 70,000 children have been displaced from their homes.
Hundreds rally in support of the Kurds in Tel Aviv