Friday, November 17, 2006

The "no alternative" situation: what Jews have to teach nationalists all over the world

A naive and yet logical observer might be surprised reading Turkey's warning to Iraqi Kurds in the matter of independence. His reasoning would roughly follow these lines: in Turkey's eyes Turkey's own Kurds are a problem; the birth of a neighbouring Kurdistan would act as a magnet by spiriting Kurds across the border solving a lot of internal problems. Why oppose it then?

This is indeed a naive view because of course Turkey fears that a neighbouring Kurdistan would prompt Turkey's own Kurds either to strive towards an independent state or towards an annexation of their part of Turkey with the newborn state.

At the birth of Israel Jews were given an oddly shaped state, small, hard to defend and rather barren but this was the chance given to them and they would not waste it by asking for more. They did not try to extend it (ouch! I can hear the anti-Zionists cringe) and they made one of their goals to attract all the world's Jews. (The fact that many Sephardi complained about the way the were treated does not change the fact that they were welcome in Israel.)

In this Kurds are at fault in not making clear, by word or deed, that, first, they would not want to carve anything out of Turkey and second, that they would welcome any Turkish Kurd into Iraqi Kurdistan turning it into some sort of Kurdish Israel. About this second point I am not sure they would. We are talking about Kurdistan but there are other fairly similar situations.

The "no alternative" situation is the one where Jews took what they were offered and toiled for it, knowing that this was all they could get. If you will it, it's not a dream: I guess that many nations across the world prefer to keep dreaming.

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