Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In Mosul, Turks target 'Jewish Kurds'‎ - Uzay Bulut

by Uzay Bulut

In the 24 hours following the launch of the Mosul operation, many Turkish Twitter ‎users posted anti-Semitic messages ‎targeting Kurds and Masoud Barzani, president of the ‎KRG, for having hidden agendas because of ‎their "Jewish" origins. ‎

On October 17, the Iraqi army, the Kurdish peshmerga of the Kurdistan Regional ‎Government (KRG) and some local militias started a major military offensive to ‎retake the Iraqi city of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and the self-proclaimed ‎capital of the Islamic State group. ISIS has held Mosul since 2014.‎

In the 24 hours following the launch of the Mosul operation, many Turkish Twitter ‎users posted anti-Semitic messages ‎targeting Kurds and Masoud Barzani, president of the ‎KRG, for having hidden agendas because of ‎their "Jewish" origins. ‎

According to the Turkish news site Avlaremoz, which covers Jewish affairs, some ‎of these messages include:‎
  • ‎"This is the Shia army swearing to take revenge for the Hadrat Hussein. ‎Those are more dangerous for the Islamic world than the Jews. Remember ‎that."‎
  • ‎"The first trick against Turkey during the Mosul operation is being played ‎by Barzani, who is of Jewish descent. We have not yet been able to learn ‎that the Turk has no friends other than the Turk. One must dominate!"‎
  • ‎"Mosul has been invaded. The gangs fed by Rafida Shia Iran have attacked. ‎Iran is behind every kind of filth. The enemy of the ummah [Islamic ‎nation] is Jewish Iran."‎
  • ‎"[Plan] A has failed. So has B. Now it is time for C. Gentlemen, Allah is ‎protecting this nation. Mosul will not belong to the children of Jews. It will ‎belong to the real children of Anatolia."‎
  • ‎"The USA will give Mosul, which will be cleansed of ISIS, to Barzani, the peshmerga commander of Jewish descent."‎
  • ‎"Everyone -- young and old -- has armed himself. And they are waiting for the ‎Crusaders/Jews and the donkey Shias in the streets."‎
  • "The Italian brigade deployed at the Mosul dam will blow up the dam. Mosul ‎will be completely clean and Jewish Barzani will take hold of it."‎
  • "'What is that name 'Nineveh Protection Units Mosul'? The term "Nineveh" is evocative of Judaism. What does the capital of Assyria have to do with Islam?"‎
The U.S. military intervention of Iraq in 2003 also fueled anti-Semitism in ‎Turkey.‎

‎"With this war," writes the scholar Dilek Guven, "an endless number of conspiracy ‎theories started circulating within the Turkish media and among intellectuals. The ‎main actors were the Mossad and the Zionist State of Israel, both terms having an ‎extremely negative connotation when used in Turkish.‎ Among the most popular theories were those that claimed that Israel was ‎supporting the new government of the Kurdish region, and that Barzani was a Jew."‎

For example, the major Turkish newspaper Hurriyet ran a story in 2003 titled "It ‎has been discovered that Barzani's family is Jewish." "It has also been learned ‎that the Barzani family, who does not want Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq in a ‎possible war, is Kurdish Jews, and that the family has produced many rabbis," ‎said Hurriyet in another article.‎

The Barzanis are commonly accused by Turkish and other Muslim anti-Semites ‎of having Jewish roots. In fact, some members of the large Barzani lineage ‎do have Jewish origins. Asenath Barzani, for example, who lived in Mosul from ‎‎1590 to 1670, was the daughter of Rabbi Samuel Barzani of Kurdistan and is ‎considered by some scholars to be the first female rabbi.‎

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:‎ ‎"Rifat Bali, a Jewish historian in Istanbul, said the Barzani story is part of a larger ‎theory circulating for the past few years that has particularly strong popular ‎support among Turkey's conservative nationalist and Islamist circles. ‎

"'Islamists here always say that Israel has a Kurdish card it wants to play -- that it ‎has good relations with the Kurds, and it wants to create a Jewish state from the ‎Nile to the Euphrates, and that includes the Kurdish area,' Bali said. 'It's fueled, ‎first of all, by the obsession that Jews are behind everything, and that they use a ‎crypto-Jew as a cover,' Bali said. 'There is also a Turkish fear that the world is ‎looking in from the outside and trying to divide Turkey up.'‎

‎"Indeed, a book titled 'Israel's Kurdish Card,' which describes the possibility of ‎Israel expanding its borders through an alliance with the Kurds, has been sold in ‎Turkey for the last few years."‎

It is actually the Turkish government that wants to expand its current national ‎borders. The new maps of Turkey appearing on Turkish TV are reclaiming the ‎Ottoman Empire, grabbing land in Greece, Iraq and Armenia. Erdogan recently ‎said: "Turkey cannot disregard its kinsmen in Western Thrace, Cyprus, Crimea, ‎and anywhere else."‎

As Lloyd George stated in 1923, "Of all the extreme fanaticism which plays havoc ‎in man's nature, there is not one as irrational as anti-Semitism. ... If the Jews are ‎rich [these fanatical anti-Semites] are victims of theft. If they are poor, they are victims of ‎ridicule. If they take sides in a war, it is because they wish to take advantage from ‎the spilling of non-Jewish blood. If they espouse peace, it is because they are ‎scared by their natures or traitors. If the Jew dwells in a foreign land, he is ‎persecuted and expelled. If he wishes to return to his own land, he is prevented ‎from doing so."‎

However, it is Jews, the indigenous people of Israel, who are accused by anti-‎Semites of "occupying the land" and "exterminating Palestinian Arabs" -- ‎two false accusations. But why are Jews "accused" of supporting ‎the Kurds, a historically oppressed and stateless people? Why should any ‎solidarity between Kurds and Jews be considered an offence?‎

But these fair questions would be meaningless to Turkish anti-Semites. To them, ‎being Jewish is already evil. Being Kurdish is bad, too. And being ‎both Kurdish and Jewish is completely unacceptable. According to their "logic," if ‎combined, those two identities -- Jews and Kurds -- could only cause trouble, ‎mischief and evil. ‎

It is ironic that Turks have chosen Jews and Kurds -- two historically persecuted ‎peoples -- as the main scapegoats for the crises and failures in the Middle East, when it is actually the Turkish state itself that has caused so much suffering of ‎and injustice against these two peoples, as well as many other communities in the ‎region. ‎

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist based in Washington, D.C.‎


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