The second largest Jewish newspaper of the U.S. dedicates its cover story to Azerbaijan
The Jewish Journal, which is the second largest Jewish newspaper in the U.S., serving a community of 600,000 Jews in Los Angeles, dedicated its cover story, published on Dec. 19, to Azerbaijan. Titled “The Jews of Azerbaijan: Why they thrive in a Shiite Muslim country”, the article was authored by Rob Eshman, the Journal’s editor-in-chief, who visited Azerbaijan in early November to attend the Baku International Humanitarian Forum.
Eshman writes that the invitation to the Forum “offered a chance to see for myself a country that, from what I’d heard over the years, has never quite fit the standard American perception of Muslim = Fanatic and Shiite = Really Fanatic”. Noting that Azerbaijan is in the midst of a fast transition, the author points out: “Now that its tremendous oil and gas wealth isn’t being siphoned off to feed the Soviet empire, the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) has soared.” He also mentions that Azerbaijan is Israel’s largest supplier of oil.
Highlighting various periods of Azerbaijan’s history, Eshman notes that since the collapse of the USSR, under both late and current presidents - Heydar Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev –, Azerbaijan has undergone an amazing transformation and has seen its traditions of multiculturalism, secularism and tolerance become even stronger. Speaking of ethnic and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan and the special attention paid to it by President Aliyev, the author stresses that “Azerbaijan’s tolerance is not a Western import. It’s homegrown, even ancient.”
Reflecting on his trip to the Quba region and his meetings with members of the region’s Mountainous Jewish community, who live in “Red Village - the largest all-Jewish settlement outside the State of Israel,” Eshman also mentions his visit to the recently opened “Quba Genocide Memorial Complex.” He writes: “Near Quba, we pulled into a brand-new memorial complex of angular concrete and polished granite. Just beside it lay mounds of human skulls, recently excavated at the site of a massacre in 1918 of Muslim and Jewish residents by Bolshevik, Armenian and Christian forces. About 600 people were slaughtered by what our guide referred to as “Armenian gangsters.” The exhibit looked as if it had been airlifted directly from Yad Vashem.”
Eshman notes that Armenia continues to occupy 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory in contravention of United Nations resolutions.
The article can be viewed here