Tuykey and Syria Struggle to Resolve Their Kurdish Question - Syria Comment

Tuykey and Syria Struggle to Resolve Their Kurdish Question

The Kurdish question was the subject of recent talks between President Assad and Prime Minister Erdoghan in Damascus. Both countries are trying to hammer out a common response to difficult problems they face in resolving a century of discrimination and struggle to contain Kurdish nationalism within their borders. They discussed the fate of Syria’s 200,000 Kurds that have been refused citizenship or had it revoked following the 1962 census. There seems to be disagreement among the two leaders about whether Syria’s stateless Kurds should be asked to return to Turkey or be granted Syrian citizenship. Syria has claimed that they are Turkish and not Syrian in the past. Many fled Turkey during the violent suppression of a series of uprisings against the Kemalist order during the first decades after the establishment of modern Turkey. The Turkish-Syrian talks were designed to establish a common policy to granting amnesty to PKK militants and outlaws, but this issue inevitably led to the larger question of Kurdish rights in each country and their painful past of contending with Kurdish civil rights and national identity. (See this article about the Kurdish Question and citizenship laws in Syria from Syria Comment’s archives, June 04, 2004.

Kurdish new year, Qamishli, Syria, 2005 ©Nick Hannes

Syria might grant conditional amnesty to PKK members
Zaman, 13 Oct 2010

Syria might grant conditional amnesty to PKK members – Damascus has once more underlined that it is ready to grant amnesty to Syrian members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but according to experts, Syria can take this step only if Turkey does so simultaneously and if Turkey’s efforts for a solution are based on a general expansion of democratic rights, as opposed to the specific recognition of the rights of Kurds as an ethnic group.
Damascus has once more underlined that it is ready to grant amnesty to Syrian members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but according to experts, Syria can take this step only if Turkey does so simultaneously and if Turkey’s efforts for a solution are based on a general expansion of democratic rights, as opposed to the specific recognition of the rights of Kurds as an ethnic group.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday coordinated the two countries’ ongoing cooperation against PKK activities and also discussed the government-formation crisis in neighboring Iraq.

After meeting with al-Assad, Erdoğan answered a question regarding the possibility of amnesty for the Syrian members of the PKK, saying this subject is not new and has been on the agenda for a while. “We have to open a gate for everybody who committed a mistake. This door should remain open. The doors of amnesty should not be opened only once and closed later but should be kept open all the time, whether in Turkey, in Iraq or in Iran,” he said.

Erdoğan brought up the fact that some PKK members’ families are in Syria and stated that he believes that if this issue is addressed in cooperation with Syria the problem will be at least minimized. Erdoğan did not elaborate further. It is known that many of the Syrian members of the PKK emigrated from Turkey to Syria during the Kurdish uprisings after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Syria has not granted citizenship to most of these individuals, and they are believed to number around 200,000, according to Syrian journalist Husni Mahalli.

Mahalli has stated that most Syrian PKK members come from such immigrant families and that the Syrian government recently prepared a plan to further integrate these families by granting them citizenship and some other rights gradually; however, this plan was not implemented due to unrest a few years ago in Qamishli, a border town mostly populated by Kurds.

“This is a difficult issue to solve. Erdoğan did not elaborate on it but mentioned cooperation. Maybe these people will be told that they might go back to Turkey if they want, maybe they will be granted citizenship,” he said……

In a July interview with Today’s Zaman, Assad said he backed the PKK’s possible decision to lay down its arms so that it could transform itself into a political actor and added that any campaign against terrorism should include political and social measures along with military ones. “If the PKK lays down its arms and becomes a political party, this would be a positive development. As long as there are no weapons and no terrorism, countries in the region, including Turkey, can have dialogue with the PKK. If it lays down its arms, we can also welcome back 1,500 Syrian nationals within the PKK,” Assad had said at the time.

Ahmadinejad’s Lebanon Visit Shows Hezbollah Ascendant as Tensions Escalate
By Massoud A. Derhally

…. “Your visit is important to friends, and became more important thanks to our enemies,” Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told Ahmadinejad on arrival…. Ahmadinejad said that “enemies become more savage when they see friends with each other,”…. “Hezbollah is brandishing its ties with Iran in the face of the U.S. and Israel, not to mention Arab regimes,” said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb…. “We want to tell the whole world that we’re proud of our friendships and ties with resisting countries,” Hezbollah’s deputy leader Naim Qasem said this week.

…The economy has performed “remarkably well”… partly due to the “more stable political environment” provided by the Hariri coalition with Hizbullah, the IMF said…..

Bashar al-Assad is reasserting his country’s influence in the Middle East.

“Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran, that freedom can be the future of every nation.” Those were the words of President George Bush on 6 November 2003.

At the moment, bluntly put, the outcome is not what Bush envisaged. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan emboldened Iran by the simple riddance of its arch enemies: Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Syria, on the other hand, has only recently re-emerged from the cold as a major regional power broker, surviving years of American and international pressure in Lebanon and Iraq, both now weak and divided states, ripe for external influences, proxy wars and bargaining.

While Iran increased its regional influence, Syria remained on the defensive, growing increasingly isolated…..

Damascus stood by – just waiting for the tide to change or, in other words, for the Bush administration to leave the White House. Patience is a formidable weapon for a non-democratic regime; time does not run out as foreign policy is not bound by constitutional term limits.

Syrian patience seems to have paid off well…..  On the Iraqi side, the Syrian harvest took longer…..

The days of pressure and gloom during the Bush administration are long gone…. The Obama administration needs Syria’s help in the Palestinian issue, especially because of its strong leverage with Hamas (whose political leader, Khaled Meshaal, lives in Damascus) and a dozen other opposing Palestinian factions.

IDF Military Exercise Prepares for Syrian Invasion, Chief of Staff Calls for Taking Battle to Enemy
by Richard Silverstein

IDF exercise prepares for Syrian invasion (IDF)

Al-Maliki is to visit Syria to mend ties …

“… Maliki’s mission to Damascus was part of a series of visits “to different Arab capitals in response to invitations which he has received.”
But the visit also comes as Maliki seeks support for his bid to retain the premiership after March 7 elections in which his Shiite bloc finished a narrow second behind the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya group of ex-premier Iyad Allawi.

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose radical movement which controls 40 seats in parliament, has thrown its support behind Maliki, whose party still falls short of the majority in parliament needed to form a government. Maliki also needs the support of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, another Shiite group headed by Ammar al-Hakim, to head a new administration. He hopes that Hakim, who has close ties with Syria, will soften his opposition to his candidacy for prime minister…”

On Sunday, Iraq’s ambassador to Damascus resumed his duties, more than a year after the spat sparked by massive truck bombs which Baghdad said were plotted in Syria, a charge denied by Damascus….

Ms. Levantine interviews Joshua Landis on the Special Lebanon Tribunal

Excerpt of Bibi’s Knesset speech: [Israel’s PM laments that Turkey has joined Iran and suspects that relations with “the Palestinians” will similarly deteriorate. This belief does not augur well for peace.]

We once had peaceful, normal relations, relations which included exchanges of delegations, contact between leaders, trade relations, especially of petroleum, with an important country. That country is called Iran.

We also had wonderful, friendly relations with another country, with military cooperation, with full diplomatic relations, with visits by heads of state, with 400,000 Israeli visitors to that country. That country is called Turkey.

I still hope we can rehabilitate and restore those relations, which have deteriorated against our will. Things have changed in Iran, and unfortunately in other places as well, almost overnight, and no one can promise us that, despite our desire, a similar thing won’t happen after the establishment of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

WEST BANK: Israeli military court sentences Palestinian nonviolence activist to prison [Now that the peace process is over, asserting greater control of the West Bank will require ending peaceful forms of Palestinian resistance as well as violent forms.]

Don’t Worry…the Syrian-Iranian Axis is Alive and Well!

12/10/2010
By Adel Al Toraifi

This was the message of the Syrian-Iranian summit that took place in Tehran last Saturday between President Bashar al-Assad and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and in which the Supreme Leader of Iran Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also participated. President al-Assad’s fifth visit to Iran since Ahmadinejad came to office took place at a time that the Lebanese and Iraqi arenas, as well as the Palestinian, are witnessing a number of complications. It was notable that only 20 days separated this visit and President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Damascus, which itself came less than a week after the meetings that took place between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Syrian counterpart, and the Syrian President’s meeting with the US Mideast Peace Envoy George Mitchell and the Iraqiya bloc leader Iyad Allawi. This shows that Syria remains active in playing the role of mediator between Iran and the outside world, and that it is the Arab country with the most influence on Iran.

President al-Assad described the relations between the two allies as being “close and continuing” adding that Syria and Iran “are in the same trench and have common aims.” The Syrian President did not miss the opportunity to comment on the failure of the US-sponsored negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, saying that this is “nothing new.” As for President Ahmadinejad, he confirmed the success of the “resistance” project, and called for the foreign occupation forces – the US, of course – to leave, welcoming any nation that wants to join the “resistance.”

…Why do some believe that it is possible to separate Syria from Iran?….. Hezbollah started a war with Israel in 2006….. Hamas …. fought a war with Israel at the end of 2008. During this phase, Iran and Syria committed to their alliance and were able to support their allies everywhere; from Lebanon to Iraq to the occupied territories…. The American belief, for example, that it could distance Syria from Iran has been confirmed as being a delusion….Jubin M. Goodarzi clarifies that many people are not aware of the extent of the deep ties that exist between the strategic interests of Syria and Iran, and that both regimes have begun to rely upon one another with regards to guaranteeing their stability……

Therefore it is unlikely that Syria will accept the idea of concluding a peace agreement with Israel and abandoning Iran; this is because the Syrian regime – after the collapse of its alliance with Egypt following the 1973 war – relies upon Tehran for survival in the face of any potential foreign interference, not to mention the fact that Iran benefits from its alliance with Damascus, as Syria represents its primary transit route to the Levant and Lebanon with regards to supporting its allies there….. We are not going to see a Syrian-Iranian divorce so long as the internal situation in both countries remains the same.

F-35 deal threatens region, Syria says
Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:30AM

Syria has voiced concern over Israel’s recent deal to purchase US-made F-35 stealth fighters, saying it threatens security in the Middle East and regional Arab countries. A ministerial panel headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a final decision in September to purchase 20 F-35 fighter jets in a deal to be entirely funded by the US military.

Speaking at the Arab League summit in Libya on Saturday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the recently finalized deal would destabilize the region, the Jerusalem Post reported…..

According to a contract signed by Israel and the United States in New York last week, Israel will receive 20 of the warplanes for more than $3 billion, to be delivered between 2015 and 2017. It has an option for 75 more.

A fifth-generation stealth jet, the F-35 is said to be capable of evading all radars and anti-aircraft missile systems.

“The F-35 will provide Israel with continued air superiority and help retain its qualitative military edge in the region,” Barak said in September, adding that the new warplanes would ensure Israel’s upper hand in future conflicts “near and far away.”

Syria’s Assad implies possible visit to Egypt [See WPR article on state of  Syrian – Egyptian relations]
2010-10-09

SIRTE, Libya, Oct 09, 2010 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — Syrian President Bashar al- Assad said Saturday that he is ready to visit Egypt if he receives an official invitation.
“The invitation is quite valuable, because I would like to visit Egypt,” Assad said, indicating that he wants to pay an official visit to Cairo. “Our relations with Egypt is improving,” Assad said at a summit of Arab nations in Libya. But he denied that he would meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the near future. “The bilateral summit is not on our agenda until now,” he said.

Report: France ‘won’t rule out’ UN creation of Palestinian state
French FM Bernard Kouchner says that France prefers a two-state solution negotiated with Israel but the option of UN Security Council action remains on the table.
By Haaretz

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said that it is impossible to rule out the option of the United Nations Security Council creating a Palestinian state, French news agency AFP on Sunday quoted a Palestinian newspaper as saying.
According to the report, Kouchner told the Al-Ayyam newspaper that France prefers a two-state solution negotiated with Israel but that the Security Council option remains on the table.

“We want to be able to soon welcome the state of Palestine to the United Nations,” Kouchner is quoted as saying. “This is the hope and the desire of the international community, and the sooner that can happen the better. The international community cannot be satisfied with a prolonged deadlock. I therefore believe that one cannot rule out in principle the Security Council option.”

Kouchner and his Spanish counterpart Miguel Moratinos arrived in Israel on Sunday for talks on the peace process. The two are pushing French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s idea of a summit in Paris later this month between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

ALBaath newspaper is mocking Dardari’s prediction of Syria as strongest economy in the region by 2015

Newly released documents: Division and disarray on eve of Yom Kippur War
Documents attest to the existence of an intelligence source who warned of an imminent attack, enabling Israel’s leadership to consider a preemptive strike.
By Jonathan Lis,  October 8, 2010

Maj. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev and minister Yigal Allon report to the prime minister after a tour of both fronts. The Israeli forces’ situation is beginning to improve, while the enemy forces are beginning to suffer serious damage.

“What they achieved today as compared to yesterday is enormous,” Allon said. “The front was breached yesterday. If the Syrians had been more daring, they’d have made significant gains.”

Bar-Lev explained the Egyptian and Syrian successes as being partly due to technological superiority. “Both have the new Soviet tank plus infrared,” he said. “They have an advantage there. On the first night we were surprised; we only knew they had it in theory … Today we know about it and take it into account.”

9:50 A.M.

Elazar asked Meir’s permission to attack four Egyptian targets along the coast. Meir agreed.

“These are good targets,” Elazar said. “Make them worry. We need to press them. After all, they too are only human.”

October 9

Dayan voiced confidence in the Israeli forces’ ability to overcome Syria and asked permission to bomb targets in Damascus. “There’s an order: No retreat on the Golan,” he said. “Fighting to the death and not moving … What I’m suggesting and asking for approval of [is] bombings inside the city.”

Meir asked whether he meant within the city itself, and Dayan confirmed this. He said the IDF can’t muster a column to march on Damascus even as a decoy, but bombing in and around the city could “break the Syrians” – though he conceded, “you can’t say the population wouldn’t be hurt.”

“Why would it necessarily break them?” Meir asked. “Would a bombing here break us?

Elazar replied: “A heavy bombing here, on Reading and Ramat Aviv, would seriously disrupt things.”

Meir suggested leaving on a secret, 24-hour mission to Washington, without informing the cabinet, to personally explain the gravity of the situation to Nixon. “I’d like to suggest a crazy idea: What if me and an appropriate military official go to Washington for 24 hours? … Maybe he’ll say he can offer nothing but sympathy. Maybe his personal pride will be roused by what they [the Russians] are doing to him … I have the feeling that I’m at a point where I need to talk to him, and a feeling that he will understand.”

Israel lets 300 Druze clerics visit Syria for first time

JERUSALEM — Around 300 Israeli Druze are for the first time to be allowed into Syria for a religious visit after they were given permission by the interior ministry, the head of Israel’s Druze community said on Thursday.

The visit will see a large group of Druze religious leaders travelling to Syria for a week-long visit during which they will tour pilgrimage sites and visit relatives there.

Syria and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and until now, the Druze, like all Israeli citizens, have not been permitted to enter an “enemy” country.

“This is a very important decision, it’s a precedent,” Wafaq Tarif told AFP. “It is the first time that the Israeli interior ministry has allowed a group of Druze religious leaders to travel to Syria.”

Interior ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Tarif said the group would leave next week and cross into Syria via Jordan.

Until now, only Druze residents of the occupied Golan Heights, most of whom do not have Israeli citizenship, have been allowed permission to visit Syria either for weddings or for religious reasons.

There are around 120,000 Druze living in Israel, most in the north of the country.

In the Golan Heights, which Israel unilaterally annexed in 1981, there are some 18,000 Syrian residents, most of them Druze, the vast majority of whom have refused to take Israeli citizenship.

LA Times [Reg]: SYRIA: Foreigners’ interest in traditional furnishings counteracts weak local demand
2010-10-08 18:25:33.450 GMT

The rich, dark wood furniture with mother-of-pearl inlay or mosaic decoration is a trademark of Syrian living rooms, luxury boutique hotels and government offices. But now the artisanal furniture from Damascus’ traditional markets is increasingly …

Elliott Abrams says Mitchell must be fired in address to the Council on Foreign Relations

Lebanon’s Economy Grows by 9%
By Massoud A. Derhally

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Lebanon must tighten its budget and avoid “overheating” an economy that has maintained growth through the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said. The government should “consider tax measures, including income-tax reform and broadening of the value-added tax,” the Washington-based lender said in a report published on its website today. It urged Lebanon to “reduce budgetary transfers to the electricity sector” and “manage the buoyant economy cautiously to avoid overheating and to prevent the buildup of new vulnerabilities.” Lebanon’s economy, helped by tourism and bank deposits from Lebanese citizens living abroad, grew 9 percent last year

Syria strives to resettle Iraqi Palestinians
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2010
Iraqi Palestinian refugees Nahya Mahmoud Abdulkader (left) and her disabled son, Omar, in a Damascus refugee camp.
Phil Sands / The National

DAMASCUS // Nahya Mahmoud Abdulkader and her disabled son, Omar, are the victims of two major wars: the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict and the shorter but also devastating fighting in Iraq.

A Palestinian, her family was displaced by the creation of Israel in 1948. Mrs Abdulkader had been a refugee in Baghdad for almost six decades, only to be displaced once again after the US-led invasion of 2003.

She, her son and 5,000 others like them are now enduring a new limbo in Syria. “We’re not sure if there will be a solution for us,” said Mrs Abdulkader, who is 60 years old. “The situation is difficult. Some of us have been given asylum in Europe, including two of my children, but I’m still here with Omar.” The family fled Baghdad after Oday, the second of the family’s six sons, disappeared on his way to work at a flour factory in June 2006. “He had left in the morning as usual and we never saw him alive again,” Mrs Abdulkader said.

Two weeks later, a neighbour told her that he had been killed. She went to Baghdad’s morgue and found his corpse. “He had been shot in the head,” she said, crying at the memory. “I saw his hand, it was burnt; I can’t forget that. His body was swollen like a balloon. We had to pay a US$1,000 [Dh3,670] bribe to get him returned, which shows the deep hatred there was against Palestinians in Baghdad then.”…

MOPED

Continued Funding for MEPI’s Leaders for Democracy Fellowship: This week the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) announced continued funding for its Leaders for Democracy Fellowship program, which provides democracy advocates from the Middle East and North Africa with the “practical skills and networking opportunities needed to build civic engagement and support citizen empowerment in the region.”

Comments (56)


aron said:

“ALBaath newspaper is mocking Dardari’s prediction of Syria as strongest economy in the region by 2015”

The link for this one isn’t working.

October 13th, 2010, 3:21 pm

 

Norman said:

Aron ,

I guess that means you and everybody else who think that there is no freedom of press in Syria are wrong , WOW ,

October 13th, 2010, 8:45 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

At least Israeli-Arabs have citizenship, oh, and the ability to vote…

Norman,

Not only is there no freedom of the press in Syria, there’s no freedom.

From Professor Josh, above:

They discussed the fate of Syria’s 200,000 Kurds that have been refused citizenship or had it revoked following the 1962 census.

October 13th, 2010, 10:19 pm

 

WHY said:

Norman

Baath party are the ones doing the criticizing, do you think anyone can tell them to shut up? It is they that tell everyone else to shut up but no one dares to talk about them or criticize them in anyway.
Shame on any free person to support such an oppressive and chauvinistic party.

October 13th, 2010, 11:13 pm

 

Norman said:

AP ,

These Kurds are illegal immigrants , contrary to the Christians and Muslim Israeli ,these are the real owners ,
The US has about 10 million illegal immigrants Mexicans and others ,Paying Taxes without benefits , you AP , Do you think that the US should grant them citizenship , I DOUBT IT ,

October 14th, 2010, 7:51 am

 

why-discuss said:

AP

At least there is a freedom of movements and Syrians can visit their neighbors, not like the Israel Club Med entrenched in high walls with Disney-like houses, protected by barbed wires and direct flights to USA.

October 14th, 2010, 11:24 am

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

syria, poor, home to the refugee: kurd(200k), palestinian(>400k), iraqi(>2000k), and julanis .

no assistance from those creating the refugees.

syria does receive numerous threats and actions of war from u. s. of a and israel, among top 3 contenders for historys most worthless, pointless entities.

October 14th, 2010, 12:26 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Typical Israeli racist MP?

In a 2008 speech in Pittsburgh, Israeli MP Aryeh Eldad said he “divides the day into two parts. In the first part of the day, I try to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. It is not a full-time job, so in the second part of the day, I try to prevent corruption.”

He apparently forgot the part where he calls for assassinations.
Today, in an interview with Israel Radio, Eldad urged Israeli soldiers along the border to do everything in their power to shoot and kill Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the occasion of his diplomatic visit to neighboring Lebanon.

October 14th, 2010, 12:55 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

Tantrums and Sheeshas
Who will care when Israel self-destructs?

By Yvonne Ridley in Syria

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26572.htm

October 14th, 2010, 12:58 pm

 

Majhool said:

Norman said “These Kurds are illegal immigrants”

This so simplistic of a view. They don’t hold any other citizenship, and they have been living in Syria for very long. This needs to be addressed, this a human tragedy.

October 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

I agree with Majhool and add, anyone younger than 40 years of these 200000 fellow Syrians, was born on Syrian land, and knows no other country, assuming that the entirety of their parents were illegals and not simply those deprived of citizenship to prevent land distribution to them. It is the result an error made by a group whose political and intellectual descendant continue to refuse to acknowledge the original sin of their fathers. Granting them citizenship does not necessarily require that, but it implies it nonetheless.

I am happy that Syria grants refugees a wide range of equality measures with citizens (freedoms and sadly, lack thereof), but to continue denying these equalities to those born and raised on Syrian soil is an undeniable tragedy. It will continue to blemish our national conscious for long time to come unless it is addressed rapidly and fairly. It is a real and true weakening of the national spirit , not the words of an 80 years old human rights lawyer.

October 14th, 2010, 4:27 pm

 

Norman said:

OTW , Majhool,

The problem with Kurds that you want to give Syrian citizen to is that they do not consider themselves as Syrians , they just want to increase their numbers in Syria to do in Syria what they are doing in Iraq , having their own state , they have been pushing Syrians and Iraqis out of their areas for years , so do not be fooled , their intention is not to belong in Syria their intention to separate the northern part of Syria , Their loyalty is to Kurdistan not Syria or Iraq,
so be careful of what you want ,

October 14th, 2010, 8:47 pm

 

Majhool said:

Norman made judge and decided that Kurds are not syrian enough.

You remind me with Bill O’Reilly, Shame on you.

The syrian state was made up less than 100 years ago, the Kurds have lived in this region for a thousand.

As long they live in Syria ( the Geography) the have to get their rights just like everyone else.

Once some break the law then you go after them.

This Nazi logic is just sad. Its not only with Norman its with the Media all over. A hate wave is coming and its going to be ugly.

October 14th, 2010, 10:29 pm

 

Norman said:

Majhool,
You are the last one to speak , you are hopeless for an intelligent and mature conversation , Yes sorry , I forgot who you are and what kind of racist you are it is my mistake , you do not consider the christians and the Shia good enough to be equal citizens , so get out of your skin and show your ugley racist face ,

That is enough for you ,

October 14th, 2010, 10:53 pm

 

Majhool said:

“you do not consider the christians and the Shia good enough to be equal citizens”

You have a vivid imagination, i like that.

October 14th, 2010, 10:59 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

to get syrian citizenship,you have to submit to the syrian laws,and recognize that syria is arabic country,so they have to learn and speak arabic,and have to have permanent residence in Syria, to move from one country to another,one year they live in Syria,next year they live in Iraq,or Turkey,is not acceptable,they have to recognize that Syria is not to be divided,also that the enemy of Syria is their enemy,they should not refuse to serve in the army

October 14th, 2010, 11:09 pm

 

Majhool said:

Majed,

By the way you are no better.

October 14th, 2010, 11:17 pm

 

Aron said:

NORMAN“I guess that means you and everybody else who think that there is no freedom of press in Syria are wrong , WOW ,”

What? All I said is that the Internet link isn’t working. But since you ask: no, there’s not much press freedom in Syria. It’s true that Al-Baath is allowed to publish its opinions, but they’re not exactly cutting-edge opposition samizdat, are they?

NORMAN“The problem with Kurds that you want to give Syrian citizen to is that they do not consider themselves as Syrians , they just want to increase their numbers in Syria to do in Syria what they are doing in Iraq , having their own state”

Fascinating. Switch “Kurd” for “Arab”, and we would be listening to Avigdor Lieberman. Perhaps you feel it’s time to ask Kurdish Syrians for a loyalty oath to the Syrian Arab Republic?

October 14th, 2010, 11:19 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

majhool;
what is it you disagree with,you need to explain yourself.

October 14th, 2010, 11:20 pm

 

Majhool said:

Majd,

Wallah, I don’t feel like it. Arfan

October 14th, 2010, 11:30 pm

 

Norman said:

Aron ,
When i became an American citizen i was required to swear the oath to the United state of America and there is nothing wrong with that , the problem for asking the Israeli citizens to swear the oath to Israel is not to swear the oath to a democratic Israel but to swear the Oath to a Jewish Democratic Israel which means that Israeli non Jewish do not have the equal rights , that would not be appropriate to do for non Christian to swear the oath to a Christian united state , i hope you can see the difference , the Kurds are being asked to assimilate and be like the 49 other ethnic groups that live in Syria , The Kurds are pushing the Christians out of the northeast part of the Syria , their population is in decline because of the harassment of the Kurds ,

Syrian Arab republic is Syrian and Arab because it is part of the Arab Nation and land it is for all people who live with en it’s borders of any ethnic and religious back ground , they are all equal and have the same rights and obligations , or at least should , i see Syria as i see Pennsylvania a state part of the American nation as Syria is a state part of the Arab nation ,

October 14th, 2010, 11:39 pm

 

Syria Comment » Archives » Drought, Water Management, and the Kurdish Question said:

[…] (this relates to the previous post) – “Damascus and the Kurdish cooperation with Ankara…” (Translation thanks to […]

October 15th, 2010, 12:46 am

 

Aron said:

NORMAN — The Kurds are not asked to be “like the other ethnic groups in Syria”, they’re asked to be Arab. They’re asked (or rather told, at gunpoint) to speak only Arabic, and to call themselves Syrian Arabs, and they are refused permission for all Kurdish cultural manifestations, like Newroz, Kurdish music, museums and historical publications, and so on, while Arab culture and history is celebrated to no end in the state media. How is this not oppressive treatment of a ethnic minority?

Let’s put it this way: would you be okay with being asked to “assimilate” in the US, the same way Kurds are told to do so in Syria? If, for example, President Obama decreed that no one will be allowed to speak any other language than English in public? Or that the teaching of Hebrew and Armenian and French is fine in US universities and private schools, but that specifically Arabic will not be allowed? And anyone who tries to publish an Arabic newspaper is thrown in jail? Of course you wouldn’t accept such discrimination in the name of “assimilation” or anything else, and there’s no reason you should, either.

Frankly, to compare the situation of Kurds in Syria to that of yourself in the US is bordering on the absurd. After immigrating you have been given citizenship, can freely talk, broadcast and teach in your language, may manifest your culture whatever way you like, and could even start an Arab political party or NGO without being thrown in jail — and that’s great. But Syrian Kurds get none of these things, despite being born in Syria, and in many cases having roots in the country that go back several generations. They are in fact far more discriminated against than (since we don’t seem to be able to escape the comparison) Palestinians in Israel, and Lord knows they aren’t being well treated.

Finally, on what Joshua Landis just posted, I think the joint Syrian-Turkish track on the Kurdish question seems like the best hope for a way forward. It would be a lot easier, I guess, if the Syrian government stopped treating its own Kurdish subjects like dirt, first, and made good on the president’s old promises for citizenship and so on; and if the Turkish government also stopped its own harrassment of Kurds, silly language restrictions, and the party bans.

But progress is progress, and to me the idea of trying to find a wholesale solution involving both Turkey and Syria, thereby settling the 1962 census issue in conjunction with the PKK exile problem, seems basically sound. If played well, that strategy will allow all sides (Turkey, Syria, PKK) to fudge their own concessions in the framework of a larger agreement — eg. in that Syria receives wanted PKK leaders whether Syrian or Turkish, so Turkey doesn’t have to grapple too publicly with the amnesty question, while Turkey opens its borders to some of the stateless Syrian Kurds (if they want to), and the PKK can in turn save face by telling its followers that it has brought about a larger regional agreement that helps Kurds on all sides of the border. It would be beneficial for both countries, as well as for Syrian-Turkish relations, by normalizing the status of the border populations. And most of all, it would be great news for Kurds in both countries.

I really hope they’re serious about it, but we’ll see…

October 15th, 2010, 2:24 am

 

EHSANI2 said:

“Syrian Arab republic is Syrian and Arab because it is part of the Arab Nation and land it is for all people who live with en it’s borders of any ethnic and religious back ground”

Norman,

I believe that you are a christian. Do you have the same rights in Syria as all other citizens? Can you or one of your offsprings become president one day?

October 15th, 2010, 7:41 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

NORMAN vs. ARON.

So what do you all think about the way the ruling the Israeli democratic nation took in “excluding all non Jews” from being Israeli citizens unless they submitted to voting that Israel is a Jewish state?

The Kurdish issue has a long history. Due to a variety of factors the Kurdish people have been exploited as well as being “exploiters” due to primarely British and at present American/Israeli machinations.

The most rational and fair solution can only be one whereby the Kurds depending on their locations in the region undertake to be “full/loyal” citizens to the nation in which they reside. Unless of course they can convince the UN to create a separate and distinct state as Israel.

October 15th, 2010, 8:43 am

 

norman said:

Ehsani ,
I agree with you , you should pose this question to other fellow Syrians ,

(((Should Christian be able to be presidents and would you support a change in the constitution to reflect that ,))

October 15th, 2010, 9:00 am

 

Why said:

Norman shame on you judging the intention of all Kurds in and saying that they are separatists and what not. I do agree with the others who said your comments do not differ than Lieberman. Kurds are the only minority in Syria where they are not allowed to teach their language. Armenians, Aramians, Assyrians and others are all allowed to teach their language except Kurds. Also all this bs about Syria being in an Arab nation is nonsense. Syrians are not only Arabs. People from Aleppo for example are much more closer culturally to Turkey than Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Syria is Syria full stop, we have our own identity and we should not sacrifice that for anything. Stop the baath propaganda.

By the way, I am not a kurd, but if my co citizen is doubting my loyalty and is willing to discriminate against me because of that, then I would do my utmost to remove that discrimination, including political separation. When you treat others are equal then they will love and protect to death the land and laws that they live under, but if they feel that they are 2nd class citizens, then they have the right to change that.

October 15th, 2010, 11:57 am

 

Aron said:

NORMAN – Most Kurds do NOT want to break away from Syria, or at least they are content with being normal Syrian citizens — it’s just that they aren’t allowed to be that.

Since opinion polls are banned in Syria, this isn’t easy to prove, but the fact the remains that not a single one of the c. 15 Syrian-Kurdish political parties asks for independence. Also, check out the opinion poll taken in this report byt he Syrian Human Rights Association in 2003, where a majority of Kurds say they are against separatism (p. 18):

http://www.yek-dem.com/IMAGES/KURDISH_REPORT.pdf

It s only 300 people and might not be super-scientific, but please note that that poll included a very large overrepresentation of stateless Kurds, i.e. people who really have no reason to be loyal to Syria (since Syria is not treating them as Syrians). Also, it was taken in 2003, at the height of the Iraq crisis, just before the Qamishli riots, when Arab-Kurdish tensions were most inflamed. So if anything this should be considered a measurement of separatist feeling at around its *highest*.

October 15th, 2010, 1:20 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Dear NORMAN:

Should Christian be able to be presidents and would you support a change in the constitution to reflect that

Yes, Yes, and YES, so should a Syrian Kurd, an Syrian Armenian , and a Syrian Assyrian, ….and all of us Syrians (Men and Women)

October 16th, 2010, 9:05 am

 

Norman said:

OTW,

I agree with you but i am not holding my breath , I was in Syria in the seventies when the MB did not just want the president to be Muslim , they wanted the religion of Syria to be Islam and they wanted Sharia laws , these feeling are still there under the surface and ready to show up , I am not very optimistic ,

Aron ,

I hope you are right about the intention of the Kurds in Syria , it is hard to believe that while seeing their intention and deeds in Iraq evacuating people who have been living there so they can claim Kirkuk , If their deeds are justified in Syria because they do not have equal rights , so what is their excuse in democratic Turkey ,

Why ,
Even Though i doubt that you are Syrian , i want to tell where i stand ,
I am not ashamed for defending Syria border integrity , i even proud for doing that and yes all Syrians should have the same rights and obligation , Kurds should be able to teach their languages in addition to Arabic , teaching them only Kurdish and teaching every subject in Kurdish is just a way to isolate them by their leaders to keep control over them like what the Hispanic leaders try to do in the US ,

The reason that i see some of you want to give the Kurds who were born in Syria citizenship even though they are illegal immigrants is just to justify settling the Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon because they were born there , so please come out of your skin and say it honestly ,

October 16th, 2010, 1:36 pm

 

aron said:

NORMAN“If their deeds are justified in Syria because they do not have equal rights , so what is their excuse in democratic Turkey “

Turkey has not been very democratic towards its Kurdish minority. It’s getting better, slowly, under the AKP, but Kurdish political parties are still banned again and again, and there are all sorts of political discrimination. Most bizarrely, it still happens that people are imprisoned for using the letters Q, X and W in writing — those letters exist in the Kurdish alphabet, but not in the Turkish alphabet.

To be clear, I don’t think there’s any excuse for what the PKK is doing nowadays, but I sure understand where they’re coming from. It’s easy to start a conflict, harder to put it out. Either way, peaceful Kurdish citizens of Turkey shouldn’t be made to suffer for the PKK’s actions.

As for your argument that Syrian Kurds can’t be trusted because Syria has problems with Kurdish politicians in Iraq — judging a whole people like that is really not a fair argument. What happens if you apply the same standard to Christians, and, let’s say, Lebanon? Should Syrian Christians be stripped of their rights and property because Assad has a beef with Samir Geagea? I think not.

October 16th, 2010, 4:59 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Aron

As long as the loyalty of the Kurds toward their host country is not well established and the “dream” of a unified Kurdistan still alive, taught and hanging on like a sword on Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq, it is very hard not to be suspicious of the intentions of the Kurds residing in Syria or elsewhere.
Armenians living in host countries, while still inflamed againt Turkey, have learned to live and develop in theit host country of which they have become full citizens and they have renounced to the ‘dream’ of the reconstituted Armenia. When would Kurds be perceived like the armenians?

October 16th, 2010, 5:50 pm

 

Norman said:

Aron,

Syria’s Christians do not support Geagag or any other christian just for being christian , they have no separatist agenda , The problem of the Kurdish parties in Turkey is just simple , because they call themselves as Kurdish parties not Turkish ones who any body can join , can we allow in the US a Mexican political party or a Jewish one and most of all Black political party , these will not be allowed , political party should not be exclusive to an ethnic or a religious group as that is the easy way to divide the country ,

October 16th, 2010, 5:59 pm

 

Aron said:

“political party should not be exclusive to an ethnic or a religious group as that is the easy way to divide the country ,”

Couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly why many Syrian Kurds have trouble identifying with a self-proclaimed Arab Republic which recognizes only the Arab people, has only Arabic media, is run by an Arab-only party and its Arab-only security services, subjects them to constant racist discrimination, and doesn’t even allow them to speak their native language.

Put yourself in their position for a minute and think about how your life would have turned out if you’d been born a an “ajnabi” in Hassakeh Province. Then let’s discuss that loyalty oath…

October 16th, 2010, 9:34 pm

 

Norman said:

Aron ,

Syria is a state in the Arab nation as Pennsylvania is part of the American nation and as there are Amish , Dutch , Blacks , and others in Pennsylvania but they are all Americans so are the minority ethnic and religious groups in Syria , The Christians think of themselves as Arabs so why can’t the Kurds , they consider themselves as American Kurds in the US so why can;t they consider themselves as Arab or Syrian Kurds ,
Yeas they can be treated better and i believe that all Syrians should be treated the same with the same rights and obligations , there are things Syria has to have to integrate all people of Syria , like freedom of movement which she has and registration in the place that people live in not where they come from , we still have to go to Hama for our papers even though we never lived in Hama , but my dad is from Hama , that is a tribal costum and tend to concentrate people where they come from , Syria should have other laws to go with this and that anti discrimination laws in housing , so people can live anywhere they want like in the US to mix people and anti discrimination laws in employment , so people can not be denied employment because of their religion or ethnic background ,

We are the original people of the Hasaka we are the Ara-means , the Kurds so to speak are the foreigners (( Ajaneb )) ,they are pushing the non Kurds out of that area ,

October 16th, 2010, 10:41 pm

 

Majhool said:

“As long as they have renounced to the ‘dream’ of the reconstituted Armenia”

So you pass on a questionnaire to every kurd to check if they renounce the “dream”?!! What does a kurd living in Damascus have to do with a dream in Qamishli?

Dude, if a kurd is syrian then he/she must have all the rights. If one engages in an act intended to separate from the syrian state, then he/she goes to jail.

This collective judgement is fascist period.

Also, when a kurd is denied citizenship then it only make senses for him/her to want to have a dream of a country. So its counter productive to deny them their rights anyways.

Besides syria is not only for arabs, its for all syrians (those who live in Syria)

Otherwise, we should check the genes of everyone of us.

What if the syrian constitution changes to Syrian Islamic State? do we have to question the allegiance of Christians?

The constitution in the syrain context is just a peace of paper, it gets violated 10000 times a day.

October 17th, 2010, 1:28 am

 

Majhool said:

“The Christians think of themselves as Arabs so why can’t the Kurds ”

This is against the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you faciest

“We are the original people of the Hasaka we are the Ara-means , the Kurds so to speak are the foreigners (( Ajaneb )) ,they are pushing the non Kurds out of that area ”

Tell this to Salah Al Dien

This is really fucked up

October 17th, 2010, 1:36 am

 

WHY said:

Norman,

Your analogy of Pennsylvania to US as Syria to Arab Nation is fallacious one. First of all the US is not ethnicity but is a multi-cultural state. Arab on the other hand is an ethnicity and so are Amazigh and Kurds in the Middle-East. Syria is not part of some greater plan, that is a baath propaganda they used to justify their military takeover. These slogans do not exist in any other arabic speaking country, including indigenous Arabs of the Arabian gulf states, where they have no ambition to seek political unity with Syria or Egypt. Egypt also views itself as independent. It is you and your Baath ideologues who want to undermine Syrian culture and independence by giving that up for Pan Arabism. The baath are the traitors in 1958 for running to foreign country (Egypt) and asking the dictator Abdulnasser annex and enslave the Syrians without the knowledge of the Syrian gov’t at the time. They were able to do so because they controlled the military at the time. You are a blind fascist for demanding from the Kurds to become Arabized and blaming them for not giving them their culture and ethnicity. Yes they are Syrian, but no they are not Arab. Oh and not all the Christian in Syria say they are Arabs. Most of the Christians I know claim they are Syrian and Syrian only. You doubt I am Syrian? Fine, and I think you are some Badawi who has no ties to Syria. If what you claim is right about you being Aramean, then you seem to be confused about your ethnicity because Arameans are not Arabs, but existed thousands of years before, and nor is their original language Arabic. I don’t blame you, because you grew up with the empty slogans of the baath that you had to repeat everyday in school.

October 17th, 2010, 4:45 am

 

Norman said:

All people who live in Syria are Arabs including the Hebrews because they are semitics who came out of Arabia during the drought of their time and you are wrong about the Ara-means , Syrian Orthodox , ask their religious leaders , The Christians in Syria are the one who are raising the Arab banner and interesting enough when foreigners blame Arabs they do not differentiate between Syrian Egyptians , Palestinians , Christians or Muslims , we are all Put together as bad Arabs , so at least we should act as we are ,

October 17th, 2010, 6:54 am

 

why-discuss said:

“Also, when a kurd is denied citizenship then it only make senses for him/her to want to have a dream of a country. So its counter productive to deny them their rights anyways.”

Are kurdish turks or kurdish iranians or kurdish iraqis denied citizenship? So why are many of them supported the PKK? Why are they holding the dream of a \’reconstituted\’ Kurdistan.
I am not talking about a poll to check alleageance, but clear signs that the Kurdish leaders in every of these countries rejects officially and fights actively the PKK who is anyway probably infiltrated by Israelis to create problems to Iarn, Turkey and Iraq.
That may show that Kurds want to be full citizen of the host country and then most cultural rights such as language etc… can be granted without anxiety.

October 17th, 2010, 11:35 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CRITICIZE,

There seems to be a confusion between two issues. The issue of the status of Kurds throughout the region and the issue of stateless Kurds in Syria who are denied citizenship. The former is a much broader issue reflecting general attitude towards civil and political rights of the entire citizenry including equal opportunities and the latter is more of a basic human rights issue.

The above distinction may seem artificial since political and civil rights are part and parcel of human rights. But it is more likely than not that the status of Kurds and their rights to their ethnic identity, can only be addressed when the countries they live in manage to embrace their multi-ethnic nature through deep democratic reforms, and as such, their status and rights are coupled, rather strongly, to the political environment they live in and whether it is a truly democratic environment. In that sense, without granting the full spectrum of political rights to the entire population, the Kurdish issue will remain to be problematic. I believe that despite of the strength of Turkish nationalism, Turkey is more likely to resolve the Kurdish issue before anyone else in the region. What is happening in Iraq is not a solution, it merely reflects the current fragmentation of the country and is an aberration due in part to the the oppressiveness of the former regime, and criminality and bad intention of the occupation. I do not begrudge the Kurds in Iraq their current status, but I blame them, like all other ethnic and sectarian groups in the country for the practice of ethnic and sectarian cleansing through intimidation and outright murder. It has the hallmarks of Israeli operation and no one can deny the fact that Israel has been penetrating the region through Lebanon, and now Kurdistan Iraq. But that still is not a reason to issue a blank condemnation and resort to preemptive collective and racist punishment. To the contrary, it is a call to embrace the Kurds as part of the fabric of the region and to highlight that their future is tightly coupled to the future of the country they live in and on their willingness to accept the multi-ethnic composition of the region they occupy along with many other minorities such as Assyrians and Chaldeans, and Turk-mans.

The issue of stateless Kurds is a completely different issue. It is a basic human rights issue. It places unique and excessive restrictions on their movement, on their ability to earn livelihood, own land, and enjoy a comparable level of opportunities to the rest of the population. For all practical reasons. It is much more than the chauvinistic denial of ethnic identity as it transcends that into the inhumane denial of identity. It just defies logic for the rulers of any country to insist on continuing to have such a sore and festering wound while the solution is very simple requiring some administrative procedures that are not beyond the capacity of the entrenched bureaucracies.

October 17th, 2010, 2:01 pm

 

Majhool said:

OTW,

As usual, its a pleasure to read what you have to say. naturally I agree with you 100% but i would like to ask you, When we (syrians) engage in denying an ethnic group its cultural rights and cast doubt on the intentions of an entire community, would not this discredit any moral argument we make to defend the Palestinians? How can can we move away from the faciest brand of arabisim, to a more inclusive cultural arabism?

October 17th, 2010, 2:34 pm

 
 

OFF THE WALL said:

Majhool

Off course Ethnic exclusivity undermines the moral argument we make for the Palestinian causes. As did our silence on Darfur, our silence when thugs roam the streets of Cairo or Alexandria questioning the loyalty of the Copts in Egypt. If we keep silent, we will only see our countries being chopped into ever smaller entities as is happening in Sudan. Had the Arabs interfered with strong rebuke of the Jangaweed and their backers years ago, Sudan would remain one country for long time. Unfortunately, it is too late now.

By the way, I loved it when you wrote
Besides syria is not only for arabs, its for all syrians (those who live in Syria)

October 17th, 2010, 4:52 pm

 

why-discuss said:

OTW

The ‘without identity’ is not an exclusivity of Kurds
Look at the 100,000 “bidoon” in Kuwait

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidoon_of_Kuwait

October 17th, 2010, 7:45 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Kurds and Jews share a similar history and a common enemy
http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/47651/another-israel/

Iraqi Kurdistan sympathy and openness to Israel’s investments is another major factor of suspicion. Now that Iraq is possibly moving towards Iran, I would expect that the new central iraqi government will not tolerate such intimacy and finally the Kurds may pay the price.

October 18th, 2010, 3:04 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

WHY-DISCUSS
Thank you for bringing up the Bidoon. Same story. This is why i distinguished between the political and humanitarian issues.

October 18th, 2010, 3:55 pm

 

WHY said:

NORMAN,

It’s funny how you think that everyone in Syria is an Arab, including Syrian jews because they all came from Arabia. You seem to be truly brainwashed with Baath propaganda. Wake up and read an objective history book. First of all, not everyone in Syria came from Arabia. People who live in Syria came from everywhere and settled over time. If they all came from Arabia, then how come they have fairer skin and many are blonde with blue eyes while the Khaleejis are darker with black hair and eyes? 2nd of all, there were civilizations in Syria going back to more than 3500 BC.. There was no such thing as Arabs back then or Arab culture. There were nomads in Arabia, but they didn’t even speak Arabic and were considered desert dwelers and had nothing to do with the Civilizations in Mesopotamia. The earliest record mentioning Arabs doesn’t go back to more than 1000 BC. How the hell can you claim the Assyrians for example are Arabs? Wake up.

October 19th, 2010, 4:12 am

 

Norman said:

All semitic people came from Arabia isn’t Abraham the Father of Arabs and Jews , the Assyrians are semitic , read a book about the ancient semitic civilization , you will learn something ,
Sorry , i doubt that you can ,

October 19th, 2010, 7:51 am

 

Why said:

It’s funny that you have to resort to fictions characters to prove your point. If we assume Abraham did ever exist, he was Chaldean and not Arab. Hence, if we do choose to follow your twisted logic, the Arabs are originally Chaldean and not vice versa. The issue about Semitic refers to language and not people. Even Ethiopians speak Amharic, a semitic language, does that mean they are Arab too? But it seems like now you are changing Arab to Semitic which is quite different from your initial claims, but even the way you use those terms are not accurate because you use family of languages to prove some twisted racial theory. Oh by the way, the Kurdish language is not Semitic but Indo-Aryan..and the Sumerian language wasn’t Semitic either.. You put yourself in the corner dear Baathy norman

October 19th, 2010, 8:39 am

 
 

Ghat Al Bird said:

“Donkeys”, is how the Rabbi considers all non-jews.

(Makes one wonder how likely is peace between “humans” [jews] and donkeys?]

A major Jewish religious figure in Israel has likened non-Jews to donkeys and beasts of burden, saying the main reason for their very existence is to serve Jews.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual mentor of the religious fundamentalist party, Shas, which represents Middle Eastern Jews, reportedly said during a Sabbath homily earlier this week that “the sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews.”

Yosef is considered a major religious leader in Israel who enjoys the allegiance of hundreds of thousands of followers.

Shas is a chief coalition partner in the current Israeli government,

Yosef, also a former Chief Rabbi of Israel, was quoted by the right-wing newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, as saying that the basic function of a goy, a derogatory word for a gentile, was to serve Jews.

“Non-Jews were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world-only to serve the People of Israel,” Yosef said in his weekly Saturday night sermon which was devoted to laws regarding actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on the Sabbath.

Yosef also reportedly said that the lives of non-Jews in Israel are preserved by God in order to prevent losses to Jews.

Yosef, widely considered a prominent Torah sage and authority on the interpretation of Talmud, a basic Jewish scripture, held a comparison between animals of burden and non-Jews.

“In Israel, death has no dominion over them…With gentiles, it will be like any person-They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.

“This is his servant…That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.”

Yosef further elucidated his ideas about the servitude of gentiles to Jews, asking “why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap; and we will sit like an effendi and eat.”

“That is why gentiles were created.”

The concept of gentiles being infra-human beings or quasi-animals is well-established in Orthodox Judaism.

For example, rabbis affiliated with the Chabad movement, a supremacist but influential Jewish sect, teach openly that at the spiritual level, non-Jews have the status of animals.

Abraham Kook, the religious mentor of the settler movement, was quoted as saying that the difference between a Jew and a gentile was greater and deeper than the difference between humans and animals.

“The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews — all of them in all different levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

Some of Kook’s manifestly racist ideas are taught in the Talmudic college, Merkaz H’arav, in Jerusalem. The college is named after Kook.

In his book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, the late Israeli writer and intellectual Israel Shahak argued that whenever Orthodox rabbis use the word “human,” they normally didn’t refer to all humans, but only to Jews, since non-Jews are not considered humans according to Halacha of Jewish law.

A few years ago, a member of the Israeli Knesset, castigated Israeli soldiers for “treating human beings as if they were Arabs.” The Knesset member, Aryeh Eldad, was commenting on the evacuation by the Israeli army of a settler outpost in the West Bank.

Faced with the negative effect of certain Biblical and Talmudic teachings on inter-religious relations, some Christian leaders in Europe have called on the Jewish religious establishment to reform the traditional Halacha perceptions of non-Jews.

However, while the Reform and Conservative sects of Judaism, have related positively to such calls, most Orthodox Jews have totally rejected the calls, arguing that the Bible is God’s word which can’t be altered under any circumstances.

The Bible says that non-Jews living under Jewish rule must serve as “water carriers and wood hewers” for the master race.

October 19th, 2010, 11:42 am

 

WHY said:

Norman:

I never denied the fact that there are/were Arabs of Jewish faith, although most were killed by Muhammed or had to convert. This is a fact. Syrian Jews on the other hand are not Arabs because they don’t come from a particular tribe. The Arabs were tribesmen, the majority of Syrians were not, they were civilized since the bronze age. Today, go to New York, when you meet a Jew from Syria, they will tell you I AM A SYRIAN JEW, not an ARAB JEW..and they distinguish themselves from Yemenite Jews! You never answered the question of the Kurds, who’s language is not a Semitic language, how are they Arab? You seem stuck in the age when people incorrectly deemed ethnicity to be distinct race. Anthropology has way evolved ever since that age, time for you and your baathi comrades to move along and join the 21st century.

October 20th, 2010, 12:50 pm

 

Norman said:

Why,
In Israel they call non Jews , not Israeli Christians , Israeli Muslims or even Israeli Palestinians , They call them Israeli Arabs , and yes they are , Israel knows it , They know it , actually the truth is they all Arabs and the is the only thing that justify the return of the Jews to Palestine so they can join their fellow Palestinians who stayed behind when the Roman destroyed the temple and changed their religion to Christianity and Islam ,

I see the Arab world as i see the united state multi ethnic multi religious people , where everybody is equal with same rights and obligations ,being an Arab is like being and American , could be Mexican , Cuban , Italian German , Christian , Muslim , Jew , but all Americans so are all the religious and the ethnic groups in the Arab world they are Arabs,

You can believe what you want , I really do not care ,

October 20th, 2010, 10:17 pm

 

WHY said:

What you are saying serves the Israeli interest indirectly because they want to convince everyone that all the Palestinians are Arabs who came with Umar ibn al Khattab and Khalid ibn al Walid’s conquest in the 7th century. The truth is the that most Palestinians are the indigenous population who’s ancestors were the Canaanites who lived thousands of years before the Arabs knew there were green lands.

I asked you to find me a source that mentions the Arab people before 1000 BC. I knew you wouldn’t able to find any because that word and culture never existed in this time frame. How can you call the Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Akkadians, Sumerians, who existed before this era, as Arabs? That’s logically impossible!

1. The Arabs existed in a different geographical location (Arabian desert/peninsula)
2. They came in a later date
3. They had a different culture
4. They had a different history
5. They had their own language

USA stands for United States of America, not United States of England! It’s about the geographic factors that determines political assimilation, not race or language..Stop looking at this from an emotional perspective.

October 21st, 2010, 1:26 am

 

norman said:

Islam came with Omar Ibn Khattab , not the Arabs , the people just converted , they were Arabs because they live in the Arab world of Mideast and north Africa , as people are American because they live in the United state of America , notice that not all areas where Islam spread speak Arabic , Spain Iran , Indonesia , these are not Arabs .

October 21st, 2010, 8:22 am

 

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