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The fight against anti-Semitism must become stronger

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev chat before a press conference on December 13, 2016 announcing agreements in taxation, agriculture and energy. (Photo: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Service)

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Since its establishment, Azerbaijan has been a strategic partner of the State of Israel. Azerbaijan supplies the State of Israel with 40% of its oil supply. Furthermore, Azerbaijan exports more to the State of Israel than any other country, with the sole exception of Italy and Turkey, the OEC reported.  

Yet, as Azerbaijani MP Shahin Seyidzade, who heads the Azerbaijani-Israeli Interparliamentary Group, noted, the relationship between both peoples is more than just strategic: “Our cooperation is on the people-to-people level, on the cultural level, etc.  Our cooperation with Israel is at the highest levels.”

Israel’sDiaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich concurred, noting that Azerbaijan is a strategic partner for the State of Israel and she regretted the recent fighting in the country: “We know from our history what it means to bomb the civilian population. We are always with you and our prayers are with you during this difficult time. I wish you peace and security.”

In view of the vast cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan, it is only natural that the Azerbaijani and Jewish Diasporas will cooperate with each other even more than they are presently doing. After all, people-to-people connections are the most important aspect of both Azerbaijani-Israeli relations and the relationship between the Jewish and Azerbaijani diasporas.

Vugar Mammadov, the director of International Relations and Protocol at Azerbaijan’s State Committee on Working with the Diaspora, noted that the recent meeting between the chairman of the Committee on Working with the Diaspora and the Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs is proof of the intention to take relations to the next level among the two nations diasporas.  

Avi Shefatja, the Chairman of the Community of Mountain Jews in Germany, stressed: “There are many thousands of Jews originally from Azerbaijan and an Azerbaijani community thrives in Israel.  In Azerbaijan, Jews have never been persecuted.  Everything has been done for Jewish life in Azerbaijan.  There are synagogues of Ashkenazi Jews, Georgian Jews and even Mountain Jews.  We have always lived in peace like brothers, side by side.”  

Fuad Muradov, the chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Committee on Working with the Diaspora, added: “Living with the representatives of different nations and religions in peace and friendship in our country is one of the priorities of Azerbaijan’s state policy.” 

Considering these facts, Shefatia emphasized that the American Jewish Committee and a number of other Jewish organizations abroad are working with the Azerbaijani Diaspora: “The importance of the relationship is a good example for the world that Jews and Muslims can live in peace and prosperity together without any problems. I think that this relationship with Azerbaijan is also an example demonstrating if we want peace, it can happen. It will be good for both sides.”

In an age when anti-Semitism is on the ascent, Shefataria stressed that Azerbaijan is a model of tolerance that Western countries can learn from: “During the victory celebrations, a Jewish boy with a guitar and an Israeli flag joined the celebrations in the streets of Baku. Even in Germany, I cannot walk around like that. I think it shows a lot of things about how Azerbaijanis think and what is their relationship with the Jewish people.”        

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Anti-Semitism is not only rising in Europe. According to the FBI, 60.2% of religiously based hate crimes in the United States target Jews. The FBI reported that 953 hate crimes were committed against Jews in 2019, which represents a 14 percent increase from the previous year. Furthermore, the number of murders that were motivated based upon bigotry has doubled in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League claims that considering this, 50% of American Jews are afraid to wear anything Jewish when walking down the streets. 

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt noted, “When one individual is targeted by a hate crime, it hurts the whole community.” The Azerbaijani Diaspora sympathizes with the plight of the Jewish Diaspora.  In recent months, a group of Armenians attacked Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles, injuring seven members of the Azerbaijani Diaspora. The Los Angeles District Police classified this incident as a hate crime. This came after earlier this year, a group of Armenians attacked the Azerbaijani Embassy in Belgium, injuring six members of the Azerbaijani diaspora and one journalist.   

“In Europe, when you hear about Azerbaijan, people already have a negative impression for they are Christian,” Shefatia stated. “For this reason, Azerbaijanis have been discriminated against in the West.”  

Considering all these facts, the Jewish Diaspora and the Azerbaijani Diaspora should cooperate more.  It is important to stress that one of the reasons why the radical left is so successful in the United States is because they operate based upon the principle of intersectionality, where different causes unite in order to fight one common enemy. Thus, one will find Arab Americans fighting alongside Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, anarchists, Marxists, and others against the Jewish Diaspora.  

The time has come for the Jewish Diaspora to learn from their enemies how best to defend themselves and to unite with Azerbaijanis alongside any other group that would support their struggle against anti-Semitism. In this manner, those fighting against anti-Semitism will become stronger when facing their opponents for the Jewish Diaspora will gain power and prominence when we increase the number of people supporting our cause.

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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