Justice for Kurds (JFK), a New York-based not-for-profit group, is a Franco-American initiative created to defend a loyal friend of the West: the Kurdish people.
An ancient people who constitute a force for stability and exemplify moderate and enlightened Islam, the Kurds today are surrounded by military and religious dictatorships. Despite such tyranny of geography, they have built a free, open and tolerant society in which all faiths co-exist in harmony and where women and men enjoy equal rights. At the same time, the Kurds have proved to be a steadfast rampart against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In both countries, the Kurdish fighters shed their blood against ISIS in defense of our common civilization.
With terrorism at bay the West is now leaving them at the mercy of powerful neighbors who will not forgive their dream of independence. A few months ago, the territorial gains that the Kurds had achieved by fighting ISIS in Iraq were seized under Iranian auspices, in the aftermath of a referendum for independence that was approved by over 90% of the Kurdish people. And at this very moment, Syria’s Kurds are under direct attack by the Turkish military.
Because the abandonment and besieging of the Kurds is simply intolerable, and because it is shameful to reject a people who have repeatedly been deemed expendable once they are no longer needed, JFK has been created to honor our debt to them.
Justice for Kurds seeks to raise awareness of this people—of its history, culture and aspirations—among friends of freedom in the United States, France and throughout the world. This will ensure that the world never forgets the immense contribution made by the Kurdish people to our joint struggle against barbarity and the need for their future participation in building a more just and secure international order.
Board of Directors
Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan is an American investor, environmentalist and advocate for humanist values. He is the chairman and CEO of The Electrum Group LLC, a New York City-based investment, advisory and asset management firm with a focus on the natural resources sector. Dr. Kaplan is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and the International Council at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he created, with General David Petraeus and Professor Graham Allison, the Recanati-Kaplan Intelligence Fellows program.
Dr. Kaplan is an active environmentalist. In 2006, he and wife founded Panthera, now considered the leading NGO devoted to preserving big cats and their critical ecosystems. In the arts, Dr. Kaplan created The Leiden Collection, which is focused on paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and their circles. Dr. Kaplan is Chairman of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH). A joint initiative of the governments of France and the UAE, ALIPH is dedicated to the implementation of preventive, emergency response, and restoration programs for cultural property in danger of destruction, damage or looting. Dr. Kaplan served as president (2009-2012) and chairman of the board of directors (2012-2015) of the 92nd Street Y, New York’s most prominent Jewish community and cultural center.
Dr. Kaplan holds B.A., M.A, and D.Phil degrees from the University of Oxford. He was awarded the Legion of Honor, and the Order of Arts and Letters, for services to France.
Bernard-Henri Lévy Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher, activist, filmmaker and one of the most esteemed writers in Europe. He is the author of over 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography. He has written extensively on the ground from war stricken countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Bangledesh, Libya, Sudan and Lebanon. Some of his most well-known books include Who Killed Daniel Pearl? (2003), Barbarism with a Human Face (1977) and American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville (2006).
Lévy’s public commitment to the Kurds is demonstrated, most recently, in his making two documentary films entitled Peshmerga and The Battle of Mosul in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Peshmerga, (Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2016) was filmed in 2015 and tells the story of those embroiled with ISIS in the Middle East. For this film, Lévy traveled over 650 miles of the frontline separating Iraqi Kurdistan from Islamic State troops to give voice to the Kurdish fight against jihadi fundamentalism. His second film about Kurdistan, The Battle of Mosul, premiered in March 2017 and shows the liberation of the eastern half of Mosul.His other films include Bosna! (1994) on the Bosnian conflict and The Oath of Tobruk (2012) on the fall of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya.
Lévy is the Co-Founder of SOS Racisme, a French NGO which combats racism and anti-Semitism and Co-Founder of the international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger.
Emily Hamilton, Executive Director