ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – In a joint statement on Sunday, Jews in the Kurdistan Region and the Diaspora, along with Israel have expressed support for the Kurdistan Region’s decision to hold a referendum on independence on Sep. 25, 2017.
“After 100 years of being stateless and oppressed, today the people of Kurdistan have gotten the opportunity to have a state of their own. The Kurdish-Jewish community warmly welcomes the referendum for Kurdistan's independence,” read the statement issued by the Kurdish-Jewish community in Kurdistan, the Diaspora, and Israel, and the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Representative for the Jewish community Sherzad Omar Mamsani.
In a meeting on Wednesday, chaired by President Masoud Barzani, the political parties in the Kurdistan Region agreed to hold an independence referendum on Sep. 25.
Kurds state the move is beyond the “point of turning back.”
The statement mentions that the people of the Kurdistan Region in general, and Jews in particular, have throughout history faced many adversities such as genocide, mass executions, and forced displacement. “This inhumane process started with the Kurdish Jews and ended with the Kurdish Ezidi genocide.”
“We as Kurdish-Jews in Kurdistan, the Diaspora, and Israel support the independence referendum… We must have a united voice on the ownership of the land, water, and sky within the framework of an independent and tolerant Kurdistan,” the statement read.
The Kurdish-Jewish community also called on all people, political parties, religious and ethnic groups in the Kurdistan Region to vote “Yes” for an independent Kurdistan.
"Vote 'Yes' to stop the oppression, the ethnic and religious cleansing, the occupation, and the distortion of civilizations, our history, and our existence so that future generations may be able to serve humanity in a more peaceful and stable country.”
The Kurdistan Region used to be home to a large population of Kurdish Jews in the past century, but in the early 1950s, faced threats and expulsion by the Iraqi governments, which pushed a vast majority of them to flee abroad and to Israel.
Kurds have long waited for the dream of establishing an independent state of their own. They are believed to be the largest stateless nation in the world, with almost 40 million people mostly settled in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria as well as a significant population in Europe.
Editing by G.H. Renaud