By Harut Sassounian,
Publisher, The California Courier
Last month, I wrote about two groups of ‘Righteous Jews’ who urged the government of Israel to intervene with Azerbaijan to open the Lachin Corridor.
The first group of 17 Israelis, including Rabbis, journalists and scholars, sent a letter to the Foreign Minister of Israel on January 15, 2023. The second group of 35 Israelis, including Rabbis, scholars, journalists, a former Cabinet Minister and Knesset Member, architects and scientists, sent a letter to the President of Israel.
Contrast the righteous actions of the above two Israeli groups to the immoral behavior of 500 European Rabbis who are planning to hold a conference in Azerbaijan in November at the invitation of Pres. Ilham Aliyev, the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported. The visit is organized by the Orthodox rabbinical alliance in Europe that unites more than 700 religious leaders from communities across Europe.
“Azerbaijan is a place with a special memory for the Jewish people, and is home to one of the most unique Jewish communities in the world,” said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis who met with Aliyev earlier this year.
Rabbi Goldschmidt’s words were followed by the ridiculous statement of Elchin Amirbayov, the representative of Pres. Aliyev: “The fact that this European rabbinical conference will be held here in Baku is recognition of people feeling safe here; it is just the right place.” Equally ridiculous was the statement of Rabbi Zamir Isayev of Baku, who told JNS that Azerbaijan “is much safer than any country in Europe.” These Rabbis must have forgotten that just two months ago a terrorist group plotted to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Baku.
JNS reported that “the planned trip comes amid burgeoning relations between Israel and Azerbaijan that developed from a centuries-long affinity between the two nations into an unprecedented strategic partnership.” How could relations between Israel and Azerbaijan have a “centuries-long affinity” since Azerbaijan became a state only in 1918 and Israel in 1948?
In fact, relations between the two countries are not based on ‘affinity’ at all, but on Azerbaijan supplying almost half of Israel’s energy needs, while Israel sells to Azerbaijan over $5 billion of arms — 70% of its sophisticated weapons, including illegal cluster bombs — which Baku used during the 2020 War to kill and injure thousands of Armenian soldiers.
Rushing to gloat over the pending arrival of European Rabbis in Baku, Aze.Media published an article under the title: “A rabbinical conference in Muslim Azerbaijan,” reporting that “the Azerbaijani nation prides itself on having a rich multi-culturalism policy, which gives equal respect to all faiths and religions living in Azerbaijan.” This is a complete lie as all minorities in Azerbaijan suffer from discrimination and massive violation of human rights. Native Azeris themselves are victims of prosecution by Azerbaijan’s government in case they say anything critical about Pres. Aliyev.
Azerbaijan’s love affair for Israel and Jews has a much more sinister agenda than the simple exchange of oil for weapons. It is prompted by Azerbaijan’s anti-Semitism under the false belief that “Jews control everything in America,” and if Azerbaijan is nice to Jews, then they will influence the United States to have a pro-Azerbaijani stance. This is Baku’s obvious plan to counter the Armenian ‘lobby’ in the United States.
While Turkey and Azerbaijan woo American Jews and Israel hoping to benefit from their lobbying in the United States, it is unwise of Israel and Jews to go along and reinforce the anti-Semitic attitude of Azeri officials. The group of immoral European Rabbis is under the mistaken impression that Azeris welcome them with open arms because of their love for Jews. These Rabbis do not realize that they are simply allowing themselves to be exploited by Azerbaijan for its perceived political gains.
Even though Israel opened its Embassy in Baku in 1993, Azerbaijan established its Embassy in Tel Aviv in 2023, only after announcing the opening of its representative office in Ramallah, West Bank, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, to counter the backlash from many Muslims within Azerbaijan and around the world.
French historian Marc Knobel wrote an indignant article in Le Point French newspaper on August 8, harshly criticizing the European Rabbis’ planned trip to Baku. Knobel wrote: “Gentlemen Rabbis, I am ashamed and I am Jewish.” Importantly, he reported that Haim Korsia, the Chief Rabbi of France, will not accompany the other Rabbis to Azerbaijan “to flatter the dictator of Baku and will not allow himself to be bribed by such a regime.”
The 500 immoral European Rabbis, instead of siding with the starving 120,000 Artsakh Armenians, are selling their souls to the devil in Baku.