The assassination of a Kurdish opposition leader in Syria may lead to more violence as protests against the Assad regime escalate. But it should also serve as a reminder of the hypocrisy of much of the world’s attitudes about the Middle East.
While most of the world has been obsessing about the alleged wrongs of the Palestinians, few seem to think it’s worth caring about the fact Kurds remain the object of violent suppression in both Syria and Turkey. Yet as we saw this past week, when Russia and China vetoed United Nations resolutions condemning the crackdown against dissent in Syria, few among the globe’s chattering classes seem willing to condemn any nation in the world other than Israel. Nor do many seem concerned with the plight of any national or ethnic group demanding sovereignty or rights other than those seeking to do so at the expense of the globe’s only Jewish state.
The focus of global attention in recent weeks has been the attempt of the Palestinians to get the United Nations to give them statehood without first having to make peace with Israel. This has resulted in an orgy of rhetoric about the right to self-determination of all peoples. But the plight of the Kurds, who have arguably suffered far more than the Palestinians or any other stateless people, doesn’t move the international community. Indeed, the only reason this latest outrage committed against the Kurds in Syria is getting any attention at all has been because it comes in the context of efforts by the Assad clan and its Alawite allies to hang on to power in Damascus.
Unlike Turkey and Syria, Israel has repeatedly stated its desire to negotiate a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. And unlike the situation of Kurds in most of the Middle East, Arab citizens of Israel also have full civil and legal rights. It should also be stated that, whatever crimes have been committed in the name of Kurdish independence, the goal of Kurdish groups is not the eradication of other nations. The same cannot be said of the Palestinians. But no one should hold their breath waiting for the UN or its misnamed Human Rights Council to give the Kurds’ far more grievous wrongs the same hearing they give the Palestinians.Tobin's just saying it as it is.
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