Dozens of Israelis joined thousands of others across Europe Saturday protesting against the Turkish assault on Kurds in northern Syria.
Holding signs reading “never again,” and warning against a genocide of the Kurdish people, some 100 people gathered at Jerusalem’s Paris Square outside the Prime Minister’s Residence to demonstrate against the Turkish offensive and show solidarity with the Kurds.
“As a Jew, I cannot watch what is happening and remain silent,” organizer Roni Lesser said, according to the Ynet news website. “My daughter just returned from a trip to Poland and we are speaking about ‘never again’.”
The Turkish offensive began on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump ordered American troops to pull back from the border.Turkish-backed Syrian fighters watch as smoke billows from the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad on October 12, 2019. (Bakr ALKASEM / AFP)
Trump has faced a storm of criticism for abandoning a loyal ally in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.
While Israeli leaders have mostly shied from criticizing Trump, they have been vocal in support of the Kurds. On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned what he described as a Turkish campaign of “ethnic cleansing,” and said Israel would offer the Kurds aid.Israelis demonstrating in support of Kurds in Jerusalem on October 12, 2019. (screen capture: Facebook)
Speakers in Jerusalem called on the government to take more forceful action, including sending back Turkey’s ambassador, cutting off arms sales to Ankara and using the Israeli air force to create a no-fly zone.
“I’m a third generation Holocaust survivor and we ask all the time why the world was silent. Now we are a part of the world, and the least we can do is to not be silent and to show solidarity,” protester Tehilla Friedman told Ynet.
Tens of thousands more people took to the streets in Paris and other European cities, some accusing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being a terrorist.