May 25, 2014 at 8:15 am 5 comments

They’ve been getting a raw

deal for a very long time


A while ago I met a man from east Jerusalem who said his family hailed from Syria. Always keen to meet my adversaries and chat with them about our differences, I relished the opportunity to spar with a representative of one of the most hostile of Israel’s many implacable enemies. But when I referred to the conflict between Israel and Syria, the man reacted petulantly and blurted out: “My family might be from Syria, but we are not F***** Syrians. We are ASSYRIANS!” And then George (his name gives away his Christian affiliation) told me how his family had had to flee the massacres of the Assyrians during the First World War.

A few days ago, I found myself repeatedly sharing a thread on Facebook with a man called Chico Nooij – a very ardent supporter of Israel. He also posted a comment about the Assyrians. I am adding it at the end of this mail and I highly recommend you read it.

But first, I ask you to indulge me a few words about the Assyrians, which I have based on drastically condensed material from Wikipedia and from Ninevah On Line. (The name evokes a very ancient connection.)

The Assyrians (about four million) are the indigenous Aramaic-speaking descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6750 years. Assyrians are neither Arab or Kurdish, their religion is not Islam. The Assyrians are Christian, with their own unique language, culture and heritage. Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous presence of the Assyrian people till the present time.

Assyria, situated in what was Northern Mesopotamia and the surrounding regions was partitioned after World War I by the victorious Allies, and is currently under occupation by Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Iranians.

Assyrians are a stateless nation and continue to be religiously and ethnically persecuted in the Middle East due to Islamic fundamentalism, Arabization and Kurdification policies, leading to land expropriations and forced emigration to the West.

So that’s a very brief background. Here is a section (slightly modified) of what Chico had posted on Facebook. As an ordinary human being and an Israeli, I was deeply moved by Chico’s words. This is what he wrote:

“Few people know that while the great, ancient Assyrian empire is gone, the nation is still alive. They have maintained themselves on the ruins of their ancient fatherland, and live in scattered communities throughout the northern part of the Middle East. But surviving wasn’t easy. And it’s becoming more and more difficult.
At the beginning of the 20th century, two-thirds of the Assyrian nation was massacred by the Ottoman Empire, but they recovered and rebuilt their nationhood. During the second half of last century, genocides and attempts at forced assimilation had forced about a million Assyrians to go into exile in North America and Europe. Here, Assyrians are slowly integrating and losing their own identity.
Those of their brethren that decided to remain in Assyria are losing their few remaining villages (due to Kurdish land appropriations) as well as their identity (as a result of Arabic forced assimilation). And many of them are being slaughtered by the rebel factions during the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The Assyrians need a homeland where they will be able to gain citizenship without any procedures, so that they can finally freely practice Christianity and speak their ancient tongue. Only an Assyrian state in northern Iraq can save Assyrian civilization from extinction. It must happen soon, though.
If we can strengthen the friendship between Jews and Assyrians, we can create a strong Assyrian lobby in Israel, so that Israel will support their restoration to the subcontinent. Similarly, a strong pro-Israel lobby would emerge in the Assyrian State. This would ensure a mutual commitment to each other’s national security.
Such an alliance would greatly weaken the Arab world’s fighting capability. The Sunni bloc would be forced to fight a two front war if it wishes to invade either of the two states. And Iran will have yet another powerful opponent to its west.

Assyria will be hated by the whole Muslim world. They will have to stand by the one country that faces the same problems. For the first time in its history, Israel would have a true partner. And so nearby, too!”

In this post Chico is calling Israel and the Jews of the world to support Assyrian independence. I don’t think matters whether people are Jewish or not, there should be universal support in order to fix a wrong wrought by self-serving colonial power struggles after the First World War. There are other nations yearning for independence such as the Kurds, constantly contending with vicious Turkish, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian actions and the world ignores their plight as well, while the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in the midst of generations of trying to weaken and snuff out Israel’s existence, continue to gain massive world support. Things should be seen in perspective. Chico is trying to get the world to focus on his nation’s long-lasting predicament and the horrible injustices inflicted against it. There are a lot of websites on the subject. For starters you can click on Assyria-Israel Alliance in Facebook.


Entry filed under: Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .


5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nino-S  |  May 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Interestering! The possibility of an Assyro-Israeli friendship is not new to the Assyrians, myself included. I am however aware that – as you rightly implied – many Assyrians have been subject to arab propaganda and Arabification, thus identifying themselves with i.e. the Syrian or Iraqi nation. Even in free countries, in Europe and in the US, they proudly bow down to the Syrian or Iraqi flag in their homes etc. This is due to a huge oppressive, and from an Arab view successful, policy from Arab regimes. But the Assyrians that indeed are aware of their heritage and their history, myself included, are in general willing to strengthen the friendship between Jews and Assyrians. These peoples have one thing in common; they are hated by the Muslim world – that is why Muslim fundamentalists are trying to get rid of the Assyrians from the Middle East once and for all. In Turkey, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. The Jews and the Assyrians should apply the “My enemies’ enemy is my friend”-principle. Although; I couldn’t find the Assyria-Israel Alliance on Facebook?

    Best regards,
    Ninos (Assyrian from Sweden)

  • 2. Ishtar  |  November 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Shalom (Shlomo in Assyrian)
    Thank you for your support. God bless you

  • 3. D. L.  |  October 6, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Hi there,

    I would like to know if you would ever do a documentary on The current existence of Assyrians? I know a lot of people think they do not exist anymore and deny their existence.
    This would be a good opportunity to educate the misguided minds.
    I cannot understand why people think they don’t exist anymore when there about less than four million left.

  • 4. SARGON  |  April 8, 2018 at 5:46 am

    I am an Assyrian Australian.
    Thank you for posting this, and as you mentioned this is very brief and only begins to scratch the surface of the Assyrian issue.
    I have the highest respect and sympathy for the Israeli people and israeli state as they are the closest living example of the unfortunate and inhumane treatment of the Assyrian nation by the world and specifically by the occupying Arabs who forcefully invaded Mesepotamia and the Levant and now mistakenly believe it all to be their Arab/Muslim land.
    Thank God justice has prevailed and the Jewish people have got a state of their own now and may israel be blessed with peace and prosperity.
    Unfortunately for the Assyrians, not only is our land under Arab ( iraqi/syrian) and Turk occupation, but you also have occupying Kurds who have pushed us out of the way and are now next in the que should the western powers ever decide to declare a new country in our land.
    Even more disgusting is the fact that Arabs have Arabized our Assyrian people living under their occupation (Iraq and Syria) to the point that they endlessly argue with Assyrian nationalists like myself about our demands for an independent Assyrian state.
    They argue that Assyrians are a part of the Syrian and Iraqi states and these states should never be broken up, and whomever asks for such things is a traitor and a Zionost..
    Add to this, they blame us not having a country and all our misery, grief and Geonicides on Jews. (Yes, REALLY!!! try make sense of that!)
    Ironically, the word ‘Geonicide’ was coined by a Jewish lawyer to describe the autrocity that the Arabs had inflicted on the innocent Assyrian men, women and children of Simele when the Iraqi army butchered any Assyrian in sight in 1933, simply because the Assyrians demanded their own state from the United nations.
    Unfortunately this story is still all too familiar in this day and age and as arabs and muslims continue the same treatment of our people today, they simply rebrand themselves as ISIS, al Quida, Muslim brotherhood etc. Back then they were the Iraqi army, ottoman empire and Kurdish tribesmen.
    ANYWAY, God bless Israel and Assyria and God willing, one day our nations can stand up side by side to this Arab, Islamic occupation. May our own brothers who have been Arabized by the occupiers also wake up and stand with us or go back to Mecca with their Arab masters.

    • 5. truthandsurvival  |  April 8, 2018 at 6:06 am

      Very few people around the world know anything of the discrimination and mass slaughter that the Assyrians have suffered over the centuries. It is a subject that every person of Assyrian extraction who is able to, should promote. And every other person of conscience who hears about the dreadful injustice meted out to the Assyrians, should help publicize. While any semblance of independence at least for the forseeable future seems highly unlikely, this too should be something stridently called for.


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