by Giulio Meotti
The Nobel Peace Prize has never been an institution considered friendly to Israel. Just think of the South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yasser Arafat, former American president Jimmy Carter, Finnish politician Martti Ahtisaari, to name only a few great opponents and critics of the Jewish State.
The Nobel Peace Prize has gone, in the past, to people like Desmond Tutu and Yassir Arafat. This year's choice is a breath of fresh air.
Now the Nobel has gone instead to a supporter and admirer of Israel, the former sex slave of ISIS, the Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad.
"The Jews and the Yazidis share a common history of genocide that has shaped the identity of our peoples," said Nadia a few months ago visiting Israel, where she was welcomed at the Knesset, at the University of Tel Aviv and at Yad Vashem, the national memorial for the Shoah. "The history of the Jewish people is a unique story, yet it echoes in the experiences of my own community. Like the Jews, the Yazidis have a thousand-year-old history. And despite the persecution, both our peoples have survived".
Nadia has been helped by the Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID and the Israeli office of the International Development Society (Sid), which helps the Yazidis see what they have gone through in Iraq recognized as genocide.
It is thanks to Israeli NGO IsraAID, which Nadia called "more effective than many governments", that Nadia was able to tell her story to the Western public. It was through IsraAID's work with the Yazidi refugees in the now-evacuated Petra camp in Greece that director Yotam Polizer understood that Israel could play an important role in the Yazidi cause.
"Unlike the Syrian refugees, who saw our logo with the Star of David and were confused, the Yazidis welcomed us with a huge smile. They said that for them it was a natural connection” said Polizer.
In traditional Jewish sources, there are references to a group known as "Amgoshim”. Some Israeli scholars, like Idan Barir, have speculated that the Amgoshim are the Yazidis and that the term is the origin of the word "magic", because both the Zoroastrians and the Yazidis are considered magicians.
The Yazidis believe that the 1941 anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad, the "Farhud", was the forerunner of what would happen in Iraq to religious minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis.
In Israel, Nadia has held meetings with the Knesset legislators and met with the heads of the Tel Aviv University together with Polizer, in an effort to bring Yazidi students to study in Israel. "I always wanted to come here to Israel, so many victims wanted to come and get help from the government and the people of Israel," Nadia said. And again:
"Before this genocide, I had little information about the Jewish community because we do not have many Jews in Iraq. Then I saw that Jewish communities support us. Like the Jews, the Yazidis showed resilience in the face of oppression.
"Maintaining one's identity is a force of resistance. We refuse to allow the oppressors to be stronger than us”.
This is also the story of Israel's 70 years of existence. And Zionism has been the most powerful resistance to the religious-ethnic cleansing political Islam has spread in the Middle East against its minorities.
Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.
Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter