Why should American Jews care about and support the independence of Kurdistan?
Because Iraqi Kurdistan is one of the very rare areas of the Middle East where Jews and Judaism are viewed positively.
Because on the day that Kurdistan will be independent, the country will foster cordial relations with Israel, or in any case, normal ones.
Because, as shown in a scene of my film Peshmerga, I do not know another Muslim country where the memory and birthplace of a future Israeli Defense Minister are held in such high regard and with pride.
Because there we find a Ministry of Religious Affairs where there is a department especially dedicated to religious freedom for Jews – And when we ask, with wonder and amazement, “why a department just for the Jews when there are no Jews left in Kurdistan?”, the response is “because we await them, we await and will welcome all those Jewish compatriots who wish to return.”
Because I do not know another country with a Muslim majority where Yom HaShoah is celebrated with devotion and respect each year.
And finally, because the Kurdish fighters, at the price of many lives, have been our only real shield against ISIS.
Bernard-Henri Lévy’s documentary, Peshmerga, will screen at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on October 2nd, followed by a discussion with the director.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher, activist, filmmaker, and author of more than 30 books including The Genius of Judaism, American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, and The Empire and the Five Kings. His most recent film, Slava Ukraini, will premiere nationwide on May 5, 2023.