Dec. 18, 2015
What the Palestinians Can Learn from the Kurds – Bob Feferman and Dan Feferman
Northern Syria’s 4.5 million Kurds have banded together in an enclave about the size of Connecticut called Rojava. Northern Iraq’s 6 million Kurds have turned an area the size of Switzerland into the safest, most tolerant and stable part of the region. Upscale homes, malls, fancy cars and all manners of normal life cover the now-booming capital in Erbil. The Economist reports that the area has become a proto-democracy where “regular elections, a boisterous parliament, an array of political parties and a raucous media,” secular government and even women’s rights have become mainstays.
The key take-away is that the Kurds realized that the trappings of statehood meant little if the basis for a functioning society underneath was absent. Rather than apply for meaningless membership to myriad international organizations, in clear contrast to the Palestinians, the Kurds sought economic prosperity and good governance. If the Palestinians’ end-game is an independent state alongside Israel, then the millions of (donor) dollars spent on supporting 106 diplomatic missions would be far better spent building a civil society from the ground up.
Rather than focusing on building a state in name but not in function to join other failed states, the Palestinians should look to Rojava and Erbil, where the Kurds have created functioning democracies that should serve as a source of inspiration for us all. Dan Feferman is a major (res.) in the IDF. Bob Feferman is community relations director for the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley in South Bend, Indiana.(Jerusalem Post)