Time for the West to follow Israel's example

Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East, a country that defends Western Christian-Jewish culture, democracy, human dignity and humanism, but is criticized nevertheless.

March 20, 2018 21:19
2 minute read.
Time for the West to follow Israel's example

Kurds celebrate to show their support for the independence referendum in Duhok, Iraq, September 26, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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About half a year ago I visited Israel for the first time. I was stopped at passport control, where I had to wait for a security assistant. I was brought to a room and questioned. It was all natural; on my Norwegian passport is the name of my birthplace in Iran. I am a Kurd.

I told a polite and friendly security assistant that I came to Norway with my parents as a young boy. They fled from Iran after my father’s brother was tortured and killed in an Iranian prison, without trial or judgment, suspected of supporting a Kurdish movement.

When I got permission to entering Israel, I got some good words for the road: good luck with a Kurdish state, said the security guard.

A few days before a referendum on Kurdish independence had been held in the Kurdish areas of Iraq. It has been six months now since the world’s largest ethnic group without its own nation state held this referendum. Ninety-three percent of the respondents said “yes” to a sovereign and independent state under the name of Kurdistan.

This led to an aggressive policy among the Middle Eastern dictatorships against the Kurds. Since the referendum, the Kurdish population of northern Iraq has been living under major economic and political sanctions, for example the airspace has been closed by the government in Baghdad.

This has had great negative effects.

There is a lack of medicine, a lack of food, several hundred thousand public employees have not received their wages. The government in Baghdad has now implemented a heavy and extensive blockade of Kurdish areas for six months.

The reactions from the West have been minimal, although the Kurds have been in the mood for the struggle against Islamic State, and in most cases have almost been human shields against terrorist groups, primarily ISIS. The only support came from Israel, and was expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In Norway, the Kurdish environment has always been strong in support of Israel. We know what the Jews have been through, we know that the Jewish people need their own state to defend themselves, and we know that the Jewish people are one of the proudest people in the world.

Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East, a country that defends Western Christian-Jewish culture, democracy, human dignity and humanism, but is criticized nevertheless.

We Kurds look up to Israel. We are Western-oriented and want a Kurdish democratic state. We thank Israel for the support of our cause. It is time that other Western countries also wake up and support a group fighting for democracy and contributing to the fight against terrorism.

For Western countries to support a Palestinian state, but show total disinterest in establishing a state for us Kurds, demonstrates a double standard. In addition, we have also noticed that the Palestinian Authority has failed to support us.

The author is leader of the Democrats in Norway.

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