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‘No Antisemitism In Azerbaijan’, Says Director Of Israel Academia Monitor

“They solved the antisemitism and xenophobia problem via multiculturalism”

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Annually a ceremony honoring Jewish-Azerbaijani war hero Albert Agarunov is held at his grave on the Martyr’s Lane, before proceeding to his statue at the National Hero’s monument in Baku. Albert went to fight as a volunteer on the front line of the First Karabakh War and died heroically defending the city of Shusha on May 8, 1992. (Photo: minval.az)

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A recent survey conducted in the United States found that four in ten Jews in America feel that their status today is less secure than it was a year ago, the American Jewish Committee reported. This comes about a year after a group of Jews were held hostage inside of a Texas synagogue and antisemitic slurs by celebrities has made headlines in the United States. 

Many Jews think that this is what it is like to live in the Diaspora in every country, but that is not true. Azerbaijan is different.   

This week, Israel Academia Monitor hosted an event titled “Azerbaijan not what you think” in Even Yehuda, Israel.  About 50 Israelis attended the event and were exposed to Azerbaijan for the first time, while seeing touristic pictures highlighting Azerbaijani multi-culturalism and eating Azerbaijani delicacies produced by Netanya’s “Taste of Azerbaijan,” the only Azerbaijani bakery in the area.  

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Saadat Sukurova Israelov, the head of Kanal 24, opened up her talk by describing what it was like to grow up Jewish in Azerbaijan. She stressed that she never experienced antisemitism in Azerbaijan.

“I would like to point out that among Muslim countries, Azerbaijan is the only country where Jews live comfortably and can walk freely in the street. Every community in Azerbaijan feels free and independent. In Azerbaijan, the locals are kind, hospitable, humane and everyone is able to express themselves.  When the minorities are protected, they are able to preserve their language, culture and religion.”

Sukurova stressed that Jews in Azerbaijan that there are some that have fought and died for the country, like Jewish war hero Albert Agarunov, who was killed in the battle for Shusha in the First Karabakh War:

“A journalist asked him why as a Jew he fought in battles. He replied that it was his right to defend the country that he was born and raised in. After his death, he was considered a national hero of Azerbaijan. His legacy is quite great. There is a statue built in his honor and streets are named after him.”

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Dr. Dana Barnett, the director of Israel Academia Monitor, argued that she did comprehensive research on the status of Jews across the world and found that there was no antisemitism in Azerbaijan:

“The Jews enjoy peace and brotherhood there.  For that, we should be grateful and say that it is not obvious. In Azerbaijan, they solved the antisemitism and xenophobia problem via multiculturalism.  This method is used at every life of light. Azerbaijan is 95% Muslim, but embraced multiculturalism and adopted a secular government. No religion in Azerbaijan has superiority over another religion.”

Dr. Barnett explained that the Azerbaijani model dates back to 1918, when the first Azerbaijani republic was established, the first democracy of its kind in the Muslim world: “From the beginning, this republic was devoted to secularism and advocated an inclusive view of the nation. This is called Azerbaijanism.  However, the republic was absorbed into the Soviet Union.”

Nevertheless, despite the brutal dark years of Soviet repression, she noted that the Azerbaijani people managed to return to their roots after obtaining independence in the 1990’s.

“Under the presidency of Ilham Aliyev, the government renewed its emphasis on this and introduced the term multi-culturalism into the Azerbaijani model.”  Dr. Barnett for some time has been advocating that this model of multi-culturalism is the antidote for the antisemitism experienced by Jewish people across the globe, suggesting that other countries should adopt Azerbaijan’s style of government.   

Lea Suissa is a freelance writer based in Israel.   

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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.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

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

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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