Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Sunday,
Nov 23rd

Yazidi. Let it not be another genocide.

E-mail Print PDF

The US is doing the right thing in trying to stop the brutal mass murder of the Yazidi by ISIL. The ‘take-home’ message is that ISIL is far from alone.

The past week in ever-bloody Iraq has given us — to use a popular catch-phrase — a number of teachable moments.

On the most basic level, we have learned something of the Yazidi, an obscure population whom, it’s safe to say, very few Westerners knew anything about until very recently.

Descended from the Kurdish people with a religion that draws from Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and even Judaism, tens of thousands of them are, as of press time, stranded on a remote mountaintop in the Kurdistan region, surrounded by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levan, also known as ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) terrorists who consider them heretics. The death-peddlers of ISIL have already murdered a great many Yazidi and would very much like to finish the job.

Which provides another teachable moment, one which we probably don’t really need after the litany of Islamist atrocities in recent years, but which remains vitally important considering the gravity of the big picture.

That Islamists hate and wish to kill everybody but themselves is something they have demonstrated exceedingly well since 9/11, but the level of genocide aspired to by ISIL concerning the Yazidi demonstrates the level of sheer brutality to which they are willing to go.

Equally detested by the Sunni ISIL are Shiite Muslims, Kurds, Christians and — if there are any left in Iraq or Syria — Jews. Sunni ISIL cannot even tolerate their own fellow Sunnis who don’t share their extremist hatred or subscribe to the same Shariah-inspired Islam they do.

ISIL’s solution for their inability to tolerate others is clear and simple: Kill them.

The so-called “take home” message here is that ISIL is far from alone. If anybody wants to know how things would go if the Muslim Brotherhood again ruled Egypt, if Hezbollah gained complete control of Lebanon, if al-Qaida toppled the royal family in Saudi Arabia, if Hamas ever gained the upper hand in Israel, just examine the track record of ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

In other words, just ask the Yazidi. Those who survive their present peril, we believe, will be only too willing to tell their stories.

Yet another valuable lesson — and perhaps a ray of hope — is provided by how the West, particularly the US, is reacting to the mountaintop siege in Iraq.

It might well be correctly and convincingly argued that the Obama administration’s role in the horrific breakdown of Syria has been unfocused and exceedingly hesitant, as many critics (recently including likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton) have charged.

Recent American actions in Kurdistan, however, are hinting that at least some of those lessons have been learned. Food and water drops to the stranded Yazidi, not to mention airstrikes against the besieging ISIL, suggest that the US is beginning to put its money where its mouth is.

We are not suggesting that the US role in Iraq should revert to the titanic levels of a few years ago — nor that the American ground war strategy was the right one — but we do believe that President Obama is right to engage in the current actions against ISIL and that he should be encouraged, we hope, in a bipartisan way.

What is taking place in Iraq at this moment is but one theater in a much larger conflict, one involving many countries, ethnic groups and religions. It will be surely be a long and bloody confrontation, but it’s extremely important that the West, and the US in particular, commit to it with strength and clarity.

The stakes are as high as they can be, reminiscent of the great 20th-century struggles between freedom and totalitarianism. This is nothing less than civilization versus barbarism. Genocide should be an idea strictly of historical interest. On this, the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenan genocide, let not Yazidi join the terrible list.

Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News

 

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Fleeing Europe’s darkness, filmmakers took refuge in California sun

Anthony Weiss A new exhibit in Los Angeles explores the roots and rise of film noir, and the generation of filmmakers who left the Nazi occupation and reinvented Hollywood. ... [Link]

Ashkelon mayor decides against ban on Arab workers

Marcy Oster Itamar Shimoni agreed to allow the Arab workers to complete the work, scheduled to take a week, and relocate the preschool students to the local community center. ... [Link]

Kipah-clad New Zealand boy, 4, smacked on head

Marcy Oster The boy was said to be traumatized by the apparent anti-Semitic incident, which was witnessed by his mother. ... [Link]

Wellesley College drops Hillel director, Jewish chaplain posts

Marcy Oster The decision comes as tensions have mounted on campus between the Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities. ... [Link]

Jordan’s parliament holds moment of silence for synagogue killers

Marcy Oster The gesture was held a day after the Jerusalem attack, which killed five, though the Jordanian government condemned the slayings. ... [Link]

Italian aliyah expected to double in ’14

Marcy Oster Several Italian Jewish leaders said economic distress figured strongly for the move, with Jews feeling that “they can lead a better life in Israel.” ... [Link]

From the Archive: Synagogues under fire

Raffi Wineburg Last week’s deadly attack in Jerusalem was not the first time terrorists targeted a synagogue. ... [Link]

Controversial Jewish nation-state bill passes Israeli Cabinet vote

Marcy Oster The Cabinet’s closed-door discussion on the bill, which moves to the full Knesset, reportedly degenerated into a shouting match. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com