A Half-Century and More of Israeli-Kurdish Friendship

Following the announcement of the U.S. drawdown in Syria, Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the Turkish invasion and declared a willingness to extend nonmilitary aid to the Syrian Kurds. To understand why, writes Kassy Dillon, one must look to the 20th-century history of cooperation between the Jewish state and the Middle East’s largest stateless people:

Ties between Israel and the Kurds first started in the 1960s when the Kurds helped smuggle the remaining Jews out of Iraq after decades of rising anti-Semitism, which included pogroms, public executions, and discriminatory laws. Meanwhile, . . . after hearing of severe poverty the Kurdish people were facing, Golda Meir, then foreign minister, allocated the Kurds $100,000 in 1963.

Soon after, the humanitarian aid expanded into military assistance for training, arms, and ammunition, and eventually anti-aircraft weaponry. In 1980, Prime Minister Menachem Begin admitted that the Israelis assisted the Kurds during their uprising against the Iraqis between 1965 and 1975.

In 2017, Israel was the only country publicly to announce its support for Kurdish independence after the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq announced its intentions to hold a referendum for independence. At Kurdish independence rallies, Israeli flags were waved, leading to unanimous censure from the Iraqi parliament. Israel and the Iraqi Kurds have also enjoyed economic cooperation in recent years. Israel accepted a large Kurdish oil shipment in June of 2014, at the peak of the Kurdish struggle against Islamic State.

Read more at Providence

More about: Golda Meir, Iraq, Israel diplomacy, Kurds, Menachem Begin

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University