JERUSALEM — The UN Goodwill Ambassador from Shingal visited the Israeli parliament to raise awareness of the shared atrocities faced by the Jewish and Yezidi peoples, as one outspoken parlimentarian is supporting recognition by her nation.
“My visit here today is to ask you to recognize the genocide being committed against my people, in light of our peoples’ common history of genocide,” The Times of Israel quoted Nadia Murad as saying on Tuesday, urging the Knesset to recognize the atrocities committed against the Yezidis of the Kurdistan Region at the hands of ISIS extremists.
Murad, now 24, was taken captive along with her two sisters in 2014. Six of her nine brothers were killed in her hometown of Kocho. Her mother was also killed by the extremist group.
“The Jews and the Yazidis share a common history of genocide that has shaped the identity of our peoples, but we must transform our pain into action. I respect how you rebuilt a global Jewish community in the wake of genocide. This is a journey that lies ahead of my community,” Murad explained.
Murad has been raising awareness of the Yezidi cause across Israel over the past week, taking meetings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
MK Ksenia Svetlova said during a Knesset session last week that she would bring her bill to recognize the Yazidi genocide to a vote.
“Three years have passed, and we have yet to hear a single official statement from the government of Israel. I think this is a disgrace, and from here I certainly call on our government to open their eyes,” Svetlova said.
The parliament reconvenes in November.
“The bill calls on Israel to recognize the massacres as a genocide and mark the event annually on August 3, and recommends the education minister adopt curricula on the atrocities and the prime minister convene an official memorial,” The Times of Israel reported.
“As of now, there is only one coalition MK signed on to the bill, Likud MK Yehudah Glick, alongside eight opposition members,” it added.
Svetlova spoke to Rudaw after meeting with Murad.
"We Jews, as the nation who survived the Holocaust, we know and understand the value of remembering ... the effort to keep in mind the element of humanity, the atrocities that happened. We cannot let them ignore the suffering that was going on and it still continues,” she said.
The lawmaker explained that Israel has an obligation to recognize what happened in Shingal.
"The State of Israel is morally obliged to recognize the genocide of the Yezidi people, and also the Kurdish people in light of the horrific suffering during the persecution of the genocide of ISIS,” she added.
Moving forward, Svetlova acknowledged more needs to be done to support the displaced Yezidi community.
"For the survivors,” she said, “to help them deal with the trauma, to gather the humanitarian aid that is necessary for the refugee camps in Iraq and other places where there are Yezidis.
"The most important message is that we are all human beings. Whoever wants to de-humanize us on the basis of nationality or religion — it doesn't have a place in the family of humanity. This is the most important message from Israel."
Murad was appointed the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking last year, being the first survivor of atrocity named to the post.
Last week, Murad announced her niece, kidnapped at age 16, had been killed in Mosul after nearly three years under ISIS captivity.
Around 3,000 Yezidis — women, men and children — are still believed to be held by ISIS, according to statistics from the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The totality of the atrocities committed against Yezidis by ISIS is not yet completely quantifiable. Many mass graves in and near Shingal are yet to be exhumed; however, Kurdish authorities in Duhok have used satellite imagery to identify many believed sites.
Recently-liberated areas of Shingal are now divided, patrolled by Kurdish forces and Shiite-led Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary units.
Last month, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council announced it would open “special judicial body to investigate the terrorist crimes committed against Yezidis.”
Kurdish Yezidi lawmaker Vian Dakhil and others have objected to the location of the proposed court in Hashd-controlled Baaj.
“A Yezidi individual cannot go from here in the displaced camps from Shingal to Baaj to file their complaint against an ISIS member,” she told Rudaw.
Because of the inactions of the Iraqi authorities, many Yezidi activists believe their path to justice can be achieved internationally.
An investigation into mass graves conducted by The Associated Press and announced in August 2016, concluded that between 5,200 and 15,000 people are buried in 72 mass graves in territory the militants formerly controlled.
According to official government reports, nearly 6,000 Yezidi men, women and children were abducted in the first days of ISIS’ attack on Shingal in August 2014, when around 50,000 were trapped on Mount Shingal.
Around 200,000 or about half of the Yezidi population in Iraq fled into the Kurdistan Region or Syria in 2014. Many still remain in camps in the Duhok province.
Up to 6 million Jews died in the 1940s in Europe and the Soviet Union, according staticstics from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.