Kurds and Israelis in Israel show their support for Kurdistan and Peshmerga in 2014. Photo: Ivan Sindy
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Kurdish Jewish Community (KJC) says Jews locally, in diaspora and in Israel welcome the decision to hold a Kurdish referendum on independence citing stateless domination and atrocities faced by nations in the region.
“On behalf of the all Kurdish Jews in Kurdistan and diaspora, we call upon all the free and genuine nations in Mesopotamia, we call upon the significant and distinguished people, we call all the political parties and social groups to put an end for suppression, mass atrocities, displacement, occupation, destroying civilization, history, and our existence, and for the sake of our future generations to serve humanity and live in a peaceful society, let altogether vote and say (YES) for independence of Kurdistan,” reads the statement.
Over the past 100 years, Iraq has been governed through British mandate, monarchy, military rule, the Baathist regime and now a representative republic. In that time span, Kurds and other minority groups have endured killings, forced displacement, and disputes over resources, budget and land.
“After a century of domination and suppression by the regimes and states that Kurdistan had been divided over, which caused death of thousands of people, except the prolonged ethnic cleansings that had been carried out against the Kurdish nation and other ethnic groups in Kurdistan,” the statement outlined.
Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other religious, ethnic, and sectarial live in the Kurdistan Region, which is majority Sunni Muslim.
Between 1948 and 1951, over 121,000 Jews left Iraq and Kurdistan for the Holy Land in the so- called Operation Ezra and Nehemiah as Israel airlifted tens of thousands of Jews following Iraqi government’s intensified persecution of Jews, after the creation of Israel.
“The Kurdish Jews in Kurdistan, diaspora, and Israel iterate our support for Kurdish independence referendum; Kurdistan is the land of Medians, our prophets Nahum and Daniel,” the statement details.
Some 1,000 Jews still live in the Kurdistan region according to the Kurdish ministry of religious affairs, which in October 2014 designated two people to represent their fellow Jewish citizens in the ministry.
“In order to raise our hand to sky with our own will for independence, we must be united to take the ownership of our soil, water, revenues, and sky within an independent Kurdistan with tolerance, and coexistence,” the statement added.