Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Central Asia

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Central Asia

Article excerpt

Zionists Seek Pashtun Relations

According to the May 10 Jewish Forward, a group of mainly right-wing American Zionists believe that Afghanistan's ethnic Pashtun may be one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, who according to legend were exiled by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. It is the goal of these Zionists, especially Jewish Post of New York editor and former Hagana terrorist Moshe Barr-Nea, to encourage the Muslim Pashtuns to convert to Judaism and move into Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "We don't need millions," says Barr-Nea, "we need half a million Pashtuns to get back the land of Israel, to claim what belongs to them."

While Barr-Nea's colonial ambitions seem rather far-fetched, some Pashtuns are open to the idea of Pashtun-Jewish cooperation. Among these is the first and only Miss Afghanistan (1972), whose husband plans to team up with an American Jew to build low-cost housing in Kabul. Barr-Nea has a partner, too: part-Indian Pashtun, part-- American Robert Khan, who runs a foundation to raise funds for and educate Pashtuns. Khan puts it bluntly: "No one will be able to get Pashtuns to step into the Middle East conflict." But, he added, "if American Jewry wants to help the Pashtun community, why not? …

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