Jews, Israel and the Kurds: unravelling the myth

Ofra Bengio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the triangular relationship between Jews, Israel and Kurds with a view to unravelling the myths that revolved around them. It argues that the millenarian relationship between Kurdistan’s Jews and their non-Jewish neighbours notwithstanding, the myriad of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ myths surrounding present-day Jewish-Israeli-Kurdish relations have flourished against the backdrop of a dearth of documented history of both Jewish and non-Jewish communities of pre-modern Kurdistan; the asymmetry of relations between a state actor–Israel, and a non-state ethno-national group–the Kurds; and the fact that both groups represent minorities within the larger Muslim milieu whose neighbours have delegitimized their right to national self-determination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-851
Number of pages25
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Israel
  • Jews
  • Kurdistan
  • Kurds
  • clandestine relations
  • myth
  • referendum for independence
  • ‘second Israel’; diaspora


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