People in Iraq and Syria continue to die by the thousands, and US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) are simply insufficient to curb the carnage, said Jewish and Christian leaders in Jerusalem on Monday.
While Israelis and thousands of Christian visitors are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, some 12,000 Kurds are under siege in the Syrian border town of Kobani.
Kurdish forces have managed to halt the ISIS advance, for now, but it is widely feared that if substantial military assistance is not provide soon, the town will fall, and the Kurds living there will be slaughtered en masse.
Philanthropist, diplomat and current president of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder, said those fears are very much justified.
“The US airstrikes can only do so much. They can hold back the threat, but, frankly, air strikes are not enough,” Lauder told a press conference at Jerusalem’s new Pais Arena. “Unfortunately, if something isn’t done in the next 24–48 hours, this massacre will take place.”
Lauder concluded by lamenting that the current situation is “a testimony to the unwillingness of others to stand up” for those under threat.
Dr. Jürgen Bühler, director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), agreed that much more needed to be done to protect not only the Kurds, but millions of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities from the spreading Islamic scourge.
“As a German, I want to say that when Germany was under the oppression of the Nazi regime, it was the very sacrificial military intervention of mainly the United States that saved Europe from becoming a very different place than it is today,” Bühler noted. “The world needs to similarly respond to the situation in the Middle East.”
Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad,” who has been an eye-witness to many of the ISIS atrocities, was even more blunt in his assessment.
The US-trained Iraqi army that was left to defend the country is “useless,” according to White, who was adamant that the situation has reached a point that only overwhelming international military force will suffice to return peace and stability to the region.
“It has to be the international community. And it has to be the US. And just dropping bombs from the sky is not enough. We need troops on the ground,” said White.
Lauder and White are in Jerusalem as speakers at ICEJ-hosted Feast of Tabernacles celebration. Israel Today will in our upcoming magazine be reporting further on the efforts by these Jewish and Christian leaders to draw greater attention to and stem the tide of Islamic persecution in the Middle East.
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