ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan Region) – A Jewish-Kurdish organization in support of the Kurdistan Region’s independence, which includes several prominent Jews in Europe and North America, was unveiled on Wednesday.
The group’s founder, Joel Rubinfeld, said the Brussels-based organization called the “Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan” was founded by Jews who back Kurdistan’s aspirations for an independent state.
Jewish-American lawyer Alan Dershowitz, former justice minister of Canada Irwin Cotler, Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, two well-known hunters of Nazis from Germany, also joined the group.
The board includes Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Charles Tannock, a British lawmaker at the European Parliament.
Rubinfeld, the former president of the federation of French-speaking Jewish communities of Belgium, unveiled the pro-Kurdish organization while in Israel where he is set to attend a conference on Kurdish independence at Israel’s Knesset.
The event, scheduled for Nov. 29, is titled “Kurdistan and Israel: Together Toward Peace and Stability in the Middle East.”
“It’s natural that such an event should take place in Israel, which is today the best ally of Kurdistan, and perhaps its only one, unfortunately,” Rubinfeld told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“There is widespread understanding of the rightfulness of the Kurdish cause and its strategic importance [in Israel],” he continued.
Leading up to the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence vote on Sep. 25, Israel was among the first countries in the world to voice its support for an independent Kurdish state.
Although nearly 93 percent voted for secession from Iraq, the Federal Government of Iraq responded by imposing several punitive measures against the Region including the closure of international flights and the use of military force to retake disputed territories.
The world, including the United States, stood silent as Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias attacked Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk and other disputed areas.
“The Peshmerga were abandoned by the United States under Donald Trump,” Rubinfeld asserted.
The Iraqi government also banned the flying of the Israeli flag in the country after it was waved at pro-independence rallies across the Kurdistan Region leading up to the referendum.
“There is a kinship between the two peoples, the Jewish one and the Kurdish one, that transcends merely political calculus,” the pro-Kurdish group’s founder said.
“We are two nations of several millions of people who by and large both stand for Western values such as tolerance, progress, equal rights for women, and who, in the Middle East and beyond, stand up to tyranny and fanaticism,” Rubinfeld concluded.
Editing by Sam A.