US Jewish Leaders Express Support, Empathy for Kurds in Wake of Independence Vote

Several American Jewish leaders and organizations have expressed their affinity with Kurdish aspirations following Monday’s independence referendum in the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq, in which 93 percent of ballots were cast in favor of an independent state of Kurdistan.

“Obviously, we have great sympathy for the Kurds,” Malcolm Hoenlein — the executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) — told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

The close ties between Israel and the Kurdish national movement, and the role played by many Kurds in assisting Iraqi Jews escaping from the former Ba’athist regime, were all highlighted in the Jewish responses to this week’s vote.

“Israel, over the years, has helped the Kurds in various ways, and so have Jews from America and Europe,” Hoenlein remarked. “And the Kurds openly proclaim their pro-Israel position. You see Israeli flags at their demonstrations, which is great.”

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