BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug.15
Nearly 600 Azerbaijani Jews marched in the Old City of Jaffa and gathered outside of the Armenian Cultural Center and the Armenian Church in Israel’s Tel Aviv-Jaffa on August 10, Rachel Avraham, Israeli correspondent and political analyst wrote in her article headlined “Hundreds of Azerbaijani Jews Demonstrate Against Armenia’s Aggression” and published on the authoritative Jewish Press News Agency’s website, Trend reports.
The article reads that the demonstrators were angry with the fact that in a recent border skirmish, Armenian mortar fire killed a 76-year-old Azerbaijani civilian and 12 Azerbaijani servicemen, following by intense hostilities for several days in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan.
As Avraham wrote, Rabbi Shmuel Siman Tov, who addressed the demonstration, declared that Armenia killed his bother and son-in-law. Speaking about the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan by Armenia in violation of four UN Security Council resolutions, he accused Armenia of the illegal occupation.
“We demand that the Armenian armed forces withdraw from the historic Azerbaijani lands of Nagorno Karabakh and seven adjacent Azerbaijani districts. Azerbaijan and Israel stand together,” Tov said.
Israeli political analyst Arye Gut, one of the demonstration organizers, reiterated that Nagorno Karabakh is occupied by Armenians.
“On behalf of the Azerbaijani-Jewish diaspora of Israel, I declare that our demonstration in support of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani soldiers is absolutely peaceful. We, as Israelis and immigrants from Azerbaijan, have the right, within the framework of Israeli legislation, to hold demonstrations where we think it is necessary,” Gut said. “We have no intentions to commit any provocations either against the Armenian cultural center, or against the Armenian church. We are immigrants from Azerbaijan, citizens of Israel – tolerant of all peoples and religions.”
“We only demand that Armenia complies with the UN Security Council resolutions and withdraws from Nagorno Karabakh and seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan, which are the historical and internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, and that one million Azerbaijani refugees return to their ancestral land,” he stated.
In his words, Armenia is striving to damage relations between Israel and Azerbaijan by all means possible.
“They can’t do it. Azerbaijan is a real strategic partner of Israel in the world. Azerbaijan is an example of multiculturalism and tolerance. Today, there is a Jewish community of 25,000 Jews in Azerbaijan, while in contrast, Armenia almost has no Jews. There are about 50 ethnic Jews in Armenia,” he noted.
Gut went on to ask: “Four years ago a monument to commemorate Garagen Nzhdeh, an anti-Semite and Nazi accomplice, was erected in Yerevan. How can we, Israelis, react to this?!”
“The honoring of Nazi accomplices’ memory is a reprehensible insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. My own grandfather lost all members of his family during the Nazi atrocities in Ukraine. For me this is unbearable pain,” he said. “It’s no longer a secret that the ideology of fascism, the glorification of Armenian fascists who worked closely with Nazi Germany, are being promoted at the state level in Armenia.”
“What is outrageous is that the fascist ideology called Nzhdehism is included in Armenia’s educational institutions’ curriculum and young generations are brought up on these values. The Jewish people will never forget the acts of cruelty committed by 20,000 Armenian legionnaires led by Nzhdeh during World War II,” Gut stressed.
“Historic documents confirm that the purpose of the Armenian Legion led by Nzhdeh was to raid the homes of Jews not fitting for the Germany Army and destroy them. It was the result of the Armenian Legion’s actions that the cities of Simferopol, Yevpatoria, Alushta, Kerch and Feodosia, as well as other areas of Western Crimea, were completedly ‘cleaned-up’ of Jews,” the Israeli political analyst reminded.
“Garagen Nzhdeh is declared a national hero and has a memorial in the center of Yerevan. He was a fascist but because he was Armenian, he is a national hero,” he added.
The head of the Azerbaijani House in Israel Shirin Nehamia Michaeli thanked the compatriots who supported the march.
“On the ancient land of Azerbaijan, Judaism, Islam and Christianity have always coexisted. This land continues to show religious tolerance today. For centuries, Azerbaijanis and Jews have lived together in brotherhood. They are linked by a common destiny and common history,” she said.
“We declare with full responsibility to the whole world and, most importantly, to the Armenian occupiers that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is both our tragedy and pain, since justice is on Azerbaijan’s side,” Michaeli stated.
“In this terrible war against the occupiers, Jews and Azerbaijanis have always fought together. They fought together just like they have lived and rejoiced together. We, Azerbaijani-born Jews, are proud of the fact that in this war against the Armenian invaders, one of the first national heroes of an independent Azerbaijan was our brother Albert Agarunov, who became a symbol of courage and brotherhood for the Azerbaijani and Jewish peoples,” she emphasized.
Firidun, one of the demonstration participants, announced that he joined this protest march because Armenia is illegally occupying Azerbaijani land.
“We want our land back so that the refugees can return home. As a result of the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh and seven surrounding districts, on average, every seventh Azerbaijani citizen is a refugee or internally displaced person. This leaves many people without a home. But what is even worse is that Armenians want to seize more land. They want to seize all lands from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea,” he said.
“On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces committed an act of genocide against the residents of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly,” Mari Rjanorosky, another demonstrator, said. “During this bloody event, 613 people were killed, 487 people were crippled, and 1,275 women, children and the elderly were captured and subjected to torture and humiliation. The Khojaly civilians were massacred only because they were Azerbaijanis. This barbaric cruelty towards innocent children, women and the elderly can not be expressed.”
“This is not only the tragedy of the late 20th century’s generation, but also one of the worst crimes in the history of mankind. Yet sadly, as recent events demonstrated, the issue still exists; and 20 percent of Azerbaijan remains under occupation. We want the international community to do something and to do justice for Azerbaijan,” added Rjanorosky.
As Rachel Avraham, the article author, reported, throughout the demonstration, the protesters chanted: “Stop the Armenian aggression against Karabakh!”, “Stop the Armenian occupation!”, “Karabakh is a historical part of Azerbaijan,” “Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” “Karabakh is ours!” and “Israel respects territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
The demonstrators also held posters that proclaimed, “Nazi anti-Semitic General Garagin Nzhdeh is an embarrassment that desecrates the memory of Holocaust victims,” “Stop Armenian aggression: remember the children of Khojaly,” “Stop Armenian terrorism against Azerbaijan” and others.
In an exclusive interview, the analyst Arye Gut noted that military clashes that occurred recently along the Azerbaijani-Armenian border took place about 300 kilometers away from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and adjacent seven districts of Azerbaijan which are occupied by Armenia.
“While the previous Armenian regimes tried to refrain from provocations at the countries’ mutual border, Armenia’s current regime went in a completely different direction. Why did official Yerevan decide to launch a military adventure on the state border, rather than in occupied Nagorno Karabakh region?” he questioned.
“There are several factors that can explain the transfer of the theater of operations from the contact lines in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh to the state border. First, a year ago, the government of Azerbaijan decided to transfer the supervision of the state border with Armenia from the Defense Ministry to the State Border Services. This decision caused hysterical panic in Armenia, as they would like the border to remain in the status of a war zone, which would enable the Armenian armed forces to quietly advance positions into Azerbaijani territories,” Gut pointed out.
“Second, Armenia pursued the objective of drawing the military-political organizations, to which it is a party, into the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, in order to evade the responsibility of the occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan,” he said. “Armenia’s provocation, perpetrated along the border with Azerbaijan, is yet another evidence that official Yerevan is disinterested in settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict via negotiations.”
According to him, by acting so, Armenia’s leadership aims to escalate the situation against the backdrop of the socio-economic problems deteriorated by the widespread of COVID-19 in Armenia.
“Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, Armenia has many domestic economic problems such as power cuts, deep economic crisis, a 30-percent unemployment rate and a 50-percent poverty rate,” the analyst said. “In other words, by provoking military hostilities on the border with Azerbaijan, the current Armenian prime minister tried to preserve his power, diverting the attention of his people away from internal problems, some of which were much intensified by the coronavirus pandemic.”
Gut stated that Azerbaijani Jewish community in Israel decided to hold the protest rally in Tel Aviv, despite the dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We, Jews from Azerbaijan, protest against the Armenian provocations and show our support of Azerbaijan. This demonstration is different from those ones in the US and around the globe. If there were no police, Armenians would have attacked us, as they did in Los Angeles and other places. I invited the police so that they could not make provocations,” he added.