Photo: Reuters
Yazidi refugees.
Photo: Reuters

Yazidis in Israel plea for help against ISIS massacres

Conference hears testimony from ethnic Yazidis who escaped genocide in Iraq; 'there are only meetings and coalitions, but no one is doing anything'.

After narrowly escaping a campaign of what many are calling genocide in Iraq at the hands of Islamic State (ISIS) militants, ethnic Yazidis found a voice in Israel Wednesday, during a special meeting of The Combat Genocide Association to hear testimony from the victims of ISIS' attempted massacre.



Elias Qasim, a Yzidi living in the United States and a member of the Yazidi American Association, addressed the meeting in partnership with the Dror Israel movement and compared the current plight of the Yazidis to that of Europe's Jews during the Holocaust.


Yazidi refugees in Iraq. (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Yazidi refugees in Iraq. (Photo: Reuters)


"Have we forgotten the Holocaust?" He asked. "I hope not. You experienced genocide and at the moment we're experiencing genocide. Let's remember what happened in the 30s and the 40s when the world shut its eyes."


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Qasim also had words of criticism for the US and Western nations in general saying, "Meanwhile there are only meetings and coalitions, but no one is doing anything. Shame on Obama."


Photo: Reuters (Photo: Reuters)
Photo: Reuters


"We have to act immediately and it has to begin here," said Qasim. "If it doesn't begin here, I know where it will begin. Is it okay for us to be killed because we have no oil? Maybe it's because we don't have anything to offer to the powerful nations? I'm asking from every one of you to help me. I ask you to awaken the conscience of the Israeli government to help us."


The conference was organized by several Israeli aid groups including The Combat Genocide Association, Blue and White Human Rights, the Jerusalem Center for the Prevention of Genocide, Israel for the Yazidis, and Dror Israel.


Photo: AP (Photo: AP)
Photo: AP


In a pamphlet that was handed out at the conference, it was written, "During the month of August, there were attempts to exterminate the Yazidi people by the Islamic State organization in Iraq. We see it as our first and essential duty as Jews, as Israelis, and as human beings to hear, see, and recognize the crime that was committed against an ancient people."


A study of the history of the Yazidi faith was presented at the opening of the conference. The Yazidi faith is said to pre-date Islam and draws many principles from the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian faiths. The people are considered one of the oldest religious communities in the world and have suffered oppression throughout their history and many Muslims see them as infidels.


Yazidi children fleeing from ISIS near Sinjar. (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Yazidi children fleeing from ISIS near Sinjar. (Photo: Reuters)


Since facing the threat from ISIS, hundreds of Yazidis have been killed, hundreds of their women taken captive, and some 50,000 managed to escape the clutches of Islamic extremism. In total, Some 200,000 Yazidis live as refugees in Iraq and the antonymous Kurdish region of the north.


One option discussed for helping the Yazidis is to move the population to neighboring Armenia where thousand of Yazidis live in relative safety. Another surprising option is to bring them to Israel due to the two people's historical background of shared fate.


During the conference a film with shown of Yazidis who successfully escaped the threat of the ISIS massacre. Yazidi children spoke through tears from the antonymous Kurdish region in the film. "We left everything and fled to the mountain. We found trees and lay down. We didn't have clothing or anything until we arrived here. I saw people fall on the ground because of their thirst. They begged us for water, but there was none to give."


פרסום ראשון: 09.11.14, 11:31
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