Friday, September 26, 2014

What Happened to Kurds and Kurdish Jews of Syria, Iraq and Turkey?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             

 Kurdish Kingdoms of Corduene-Sophene  in 60 BCE

There is a mountainous region that is now divided between Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. It takes in  the northwest Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.  It was called Kurdistan.  The old spelling was Curdistan and the original name was Corduene.  "The Kingdom of Corduene, which emerged from the declining Seleucid Empire, was located to the south and south-east of Lake Van between Persia and Mesopotamia (Iraq) and ruled northern Mesopotamia   and southeastern Anatolia (peninsula in Turkey) from 189 BC to AD 384 as vassals of the vying Parthian and Roman Empire." 

The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic royal dynasty founded by one of Alexander the Great's generals, Seleucus Nicator.  Antiochus III settled Babylonian Jews in the cities of Phrygia and Lydia.  He conquered Judah in about 200 BCE and granted privileges to the Temple.  When he died in 129 BCE, the Jews revolted and his rule in Judah ended in 128 BCE.  

The Parthian Empire  was the empire of the Iranic people in the 3rd century BCE to 226 CE.  It ruled over the Jewish population in Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Media.  They restored Antigonus Mattathias to the throne of Judah in 40 BCE.  The Jews of the Roman Empire looked on Parthia as their future savior.  There, they enjoyed autonomy under the exilarch.  The famous rabbic schools in Mesopotamia began to flourish under their rule.  

 Jews lived there as early as the time of Ezra who lived in the 5th century BCE.  The Kurdish Jews spoke an Aramaic dialect up to modern times.  It is close to the language of the Babylonian Talmud and the speech of the Nestorian Christians in Kurdistan.

There were about 12,000 to 18,000 Jews scattered in many villages and townlets and living mainly as merchants, peddlers and craftsmen. toward the end of the 19th century.  During the 20th century, their number increased, numbering in Iran alone to 12,000 to 14,000.  After 1948 when Israel was established, many Kurdish Jews from all over emigrated to Israel and settled in or near Jerusalem.
1835 Kurdish Independent Kingdoms and Autonomous Principalities

Kurdistan was pretty much under the Ottoman Empire.  After WWI, it was broken up.  "After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies contrived to create several countries within its former boundaries – according to the never-ratified Treaty of Sèvres,   Kurdistan, along with Armenia, were to be among them. However, the reconquest of these areas by the forces of Kemal Atatürk  of Turkey (and other pressing issues) caused the Allies to accept the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne and the borders of the modern Republic of Turkey – leaving the Kurds without a self-ruled region. Other Kurdish areas were assigned to the new British and French mandated states of Iraq and Syria.

Today the Kurds are also living in northern Syria, and they all are fighting against IS (ISIS).  There was 35 to 40 million Kurds today before the beginnings of ISIS.   The Kurdish people speak Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and Persian, depending on where they live.

Today we find that Jews all over the world, and especially the Sephardic Jews, are more closely related by DNA to the Kurds more than they are to any Arab group.  Most of the Kurds tested came from Moslem Iraq.  "The Kurdish Jews and Sephardic Jews were found to be very close to each other."  "In the article in the November 2001 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, Ariella Oppenheim of the Hebrew University of Israel wrote that this new study revealed that Jews have a closer genetic relationship to populations in the northern Mediterranean (Kurds, Anatolian Turks, and Armenians) than to populations in the southern Mediterranean (Arabs and Bedouins)."  "But the majority of Ashkenazic Jews, who possess Eu 9 and other chromosomes, descend paternally from Judeans who lived in Israel two thousand years ago."  That would take us to the Jews who fled  Judah when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.  It was when so many were taken as prisoners to Rome.  

"A 2010 US report, written before the instability in Syria and Iraq that exists as of 2014, attested that "Kurdistan may exist by 2030"  The weakening of the Iraqi state following the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive by"  ISIS "has also presented an opportunity for independence, augmented by Turkey's move towards acceptance of such a state."  Right now the Kurds are fighting alone on the ground against ISIS.  CNN just showed actually fighting during the daylight going on about 2 miles away from their cameraman.  They are begging for help from the air but so far none has come even though the coalition has been bombing previous to this.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia  DNA information, Kevin Alan Brook
CNN news on Kurds fighting against ISIS, watching fighting
Update:  Israeli-Kurdish relations

No comments:

Post a Comment