Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad (AP/Ronald Zak) (AP/Ronald Zak)
Nadia Murad

”I know that like the Jewish people, we have always survived. These experiences inspire us to hold onto our culture and identity,” Yazidi refugee Nadia Murad said at the Knesset.

Israel’s Knesset on Monday held a memorial session in remembrance of the genocide conducted by the Islamic State (ISIS) against the Yazidis in Iraq in recent years.

Member of Knesset Ksenia Svetlova, who chairs the Knesset Lobby for Strengthening Relations between the State of Israel and the Kurdish people, initiated the event in cooperation with IsraAID, a non-profit organization committed to providing life-saving disaster relief and long term support.

Svetlova is promoting legislation calling on Israel to officially recognize the genocide and commemorate it annually on August 3, the day it is marked by the United Nations (UN). The legislation suggests that the day will include various educational activities and a main remembrance rally.

Svetlova said the state of Israel has a ”moral obligation to recognize this horrible crime, due to our history and due to the commitment of the fathers of our nation to stand by every other nation in the world during difficult times.”

MK Stav Shafir, who attended the event, said that ”the horrible massacre and the murder of the Yazidi People is a shocking story which we, as Jews, cannot ignore.”

Crimes Against Yazidis Must Not Go Unpunished

The conference`s main guest speaker was Nadia Murad, who, in August 2014, was captured by ISIS in her village of Kocho, Iraq and sold into sex slavery. ISIS murdered six of her brothers and held her captive for months. Murad managed to escape, found her way to a refugee camp and now is one of more than a thousand Yazidis accepted into a refugee asylum program in Germany.

Murad was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by the UN last year as an advocate for her people. She is explaining to the world that the crimes waged against them must not go unpunished.

”This is not the first time people have used their power to destroy a group of innocent human beings, simply because of who they are. This is something you know all too well, and your families have had their own tragic and difficult journeys,” she told the conference, relating to the Holocaust.

”We Yazidis are a peaceful people. Never in our 5,000 year history have we fought and killed others. But our peacefulness has not served us well,” Murad stated. ”We have faced 74 massacres, often motivated by extreme interpretations of Islam. And I’m afraid this genocide, the one that continues today, will be complete, if we are not able to return to our homeland. Yazidis strive for, but are given no say, in deciding the future of our homeland.”

”I know that like the Jewish people, we have always survived. These experiences inspire us to hold onto our culture and identity. And importantly, our experiences drive us to stand up for others who are being persecuted, as you have chosen to do today. This is why I use my voice to speak on behalf of those who are silenced, like the 3,000 women and girls still in the hands of Daesh [ISIS] terrorists. My visit here today is to ask you to recognize the genocide being committed against my people, in light of our peoples’ common history of genocide,” she said.

By: United with Israel Staff

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