Leaving Islam



What Not To Do...

by Gerald A. Honigman 

Im ein ani li, mi li?

אם אין אני לי מי לי 

U’kh’she’ani l’atzmi, ma ani?

וכשאני לעצמי מח אני

V’im lo akhshav, eimatay?

ואם לא עכשין אימתי

Pirkei Avot 1:14

     The above quote from Rabbi Hillel, some two thousand years ago, has been translated into English as “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”

     If there is a people whose plight is analogous to that of the Jews prior to the rebirth of Israel , it is the Kurds.

     Unlike Arabs, with almost two dozen states (acquired mostly by the conquest of other native, non-Arab peoples), some thirty million Kurds remain stateless to date, and too often they have been slaughtered and subjugated by their enemies.

     While, unlike the Jews, the Kurds did not find themselves scattered far and wide as a result of their clash with  enemies, their oppression is still all too reminiscent of the Jew in the Diaspora. Mass graves are still being uncovered in Arab Iraq today exposing the remains of Kurdish children and other innocents...scenes right out of the Holocaust. Indeed, the book by the Kurdish nationalist, Ismet Cherif Vanly, The Syrian Mein Kampf Against The Kurds ( Amsterdam , 1968), is telling on this subject as well.

     So, it is essential for Jews, while fighting to secure their own, sole, tiny state amidst all odds and a coalition of wishy-washy friends as well as powerful enemies, to still make room in their hearts for another ancient people whose ancestors, the Hurrians, were contemporaries of their own and who have also been victimized by Arabs.

     While the world's hypocrites clamor for the birth of the Arabs' 22nd state and second, not first, one in " Palestine ," all remain deaf, dumb, and blind regarding a roadmap for Kurdistan . So, as Hillel would instruct us, let's look into this travesty a bit more now...

      Saddam deserved to be overthrown.

     His mass butchery warrants a death sentence as well...preferably by poison gas, as thousands of Kurds died at his hands. He laughs now at the absurd notion that he will actually get a real trial for his barbarism. His victims never got anything near it. So America can praise itself for showing the Saddams of the world that it truly is better than them...in numerous ways. The more he squirms while dying the better. A bullet or the gallows is too quick a dispatch. 

     Having said this, there are and have always been problems with America 's actions in Iraq . The sad news is that Great Britain 's experiences in that country during the first half of the last century should have telegraphed at least some lessons to the geniuses at Foggy Bottom setting policy. If those lessons were sent, they weren't received. 

      Iraq  has always been an artificial nation...no more real than Yugoslavia

     Like the latter, which emerged as a result of the collapse of another imperial power, Iraq was created out of the Mandate for Mesopotamia, which the Brits received with the breakup of the almost five century-old Ottoman Turkish Empire after World War I. The Turks chose the wrong side to be on and saw most of what was left of their already over extended, evaporating, multi-ethnic/national empire disappear as a result. 

     While related actions were occurring in Greece , the Balkans, Egypt and the rest of North Africa, and elsewhere as well from at least the 19th century onwards, we'll focus here on just the two post-war British Mandates, Palestine and Mesopotamia

    Briefly, just for the record, given the massive world attention to the subject, it must be yet again noted that Arab nationalism was awarded some 80% of the Palestinian Mandate in 1922 when Colonial Secretary Churchill lopped off all of 1920's original territory east of the Jordan River to create the Emirate of Transjordan for its Hashemite Arab allies in the war. The latter were in the process of getting their derrieres booted out of the Arabian Peninsula by the rival clan of Ibn Saud...hence Saudi Arabia today. 

     Twenty-five years later, Arab nationalism would be offered about half of the 20% of the Mandate of Palestine that was left after the creation of what would later become  Jordan . The Arabs rejected the '47 partition plan--which would have resulted in their obtaining some 90% of all the territory--demanding the whole shebang instead. In their eyes, kilab yahud--"Jew dogs"--could only be conceived of as a subjugated, subject people (the ruled...not rulers), and they--like scores of millions of other non-Arabs in what Arabs declared to be "purely Arab patrimony"--were entitled to nothing when the Turks' empire collapsed. 

     The fuss over so-called stateless "Palestinians" thus depends upon much of the world's ignorance (or worse) regarding the facts dealing with actual and proposed compromises. Much has been written about this elsewhere (including by this author), so let's move on. 


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