President Trump’s decision to abandon our U.S. allies, the Kurds, is a grave error. There are two problems with it.
First, we are on the wrong side. It’s a matter of right and wrong.
The Kurds are – or are least have been – U.S. allies who fought for many years against Saddam Hussein and then ISIS. The Kurdish militia has actually fought beside United States troops.
The Kurds’ region of the world, Kurdistan, is not a country but a swath of land the runs across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They don’t have their own nation, much like the Jewish people before 1948.
Did you know that Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has reportedly consolidated his authoritarian power while inciting antisemitism? Yet Turkey is a U.S. ally and now the Kurds, apparently, are the enemy.
On Oct. 6, 2019, Trump had a phone conversation with Erdoğan; the White House soon announced the president was endorsing a Turkish military operation against the Kurds. Turkish forces then started attacks against Kurdish-held territory. Some feared that Turkey was pursuing an ethnic cleansing of the Kurds.
This makes no sense and the president needs to consider the basic morality of his choice. The president represents us all, and he must walk with decency.
This is also a political error.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement that’s dead on: “We are deeply concerned about the plight of the Kurdish population in Syria who have proven to be loyal allies in the fight against ISIS. We are also concerned about the perception that the US and the West do not stand by allies and will allow Turkish aggression. We are sending the wrong message at the wrong time when Turkey and Iran and their cohorts are pursuing their hegemonic goals.”
America’s strength and consistency keeps the peace in the Middle East. If the enemies of Israel conclude that America is wishy-washy, or that it can be flipped too easily, America is weakened. A weaker America is a weaker supporter for Israel.
For Israel, America and the world, we must do better.
Rob Golub is editor of the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.