According to MEMRI, an article in the latest issue of the Urdu-language jihadi magazine Mujalla Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (“Journal Of The Tehreek-E-Taliban Pakistan”), published by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (the Movement of the Pakistan Taliban, TTP) – blames “the Jews and their puppets” for the coronavirus epidemic and for harassing Muslims during the pandemic. The author of the article writes that COVID-19 has been kept hidden since the 1960s to be used against Muslims.  Around the same period, MEMRI reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called Jews “kikes.”

Such bigoted perceptions of a nation do not come out of anywhere. Rather, they are built up slowly over the course of time due to a distorted and falsified view of a people’s history.  For centuries, anti-Semitism was the norm in Europe.  After two thousand years of suffering massacres, blood libels, rapes, pogroms, systematic religious persecution, expulsion edicts and forced conversions that culminated in the Holocaust, the worst genocide in human history, the Jewish people truly are an underdog.

No nation understands the consequences of such a bigoted portrayal of history better than Azerbaijan.   In a recent article published in La Civilta Cattolica, an author wrote an article titled “Nagorno-Karabakh: One-Hundred Years of Conflict” that reflected Europe’s bigoted perception of Azerbaijan.  It contained numerous historic falsehoods and inciteful lies, which do nothing but encourage hatred against Azerbaijan.

Dr. Anar Valiyev, a dean at Ada University, proclaimed that this author denied Azerbaijan’s claims to Nagorno-Karabakh, whose legal title was underscored in four UN Security Council resolutions, out of pure hatred: “The author made a bunch of unsubstantiated claims.  The concept of nationality began in the 17th century.  It is impossible to make claims based on the 6th century BCE, like he did in the article.  Furthermore, the area was not under Armenian rule.  A Turkic dynasty ruled traditionally.  The Turks were there for a long time, like from the fifth or sixth century AC.  That is when the Turkic tribes arrived in the area.  Therefore, it is dubious to say that the area historically belonged to the Armenians.   Furthermore, the area was mostly inhabited by Azerbaijanis, yet they say Armenians.  They quoted only pro-Armenian sources for numbers and statistics.  They did not use objective sources but rather websites created by Armenian historians.  The Armenian websites do not even go through peer review, like they would have if they were published in an academic journal or a book.”

Fariz Ismailzade, the executive vice rector of Ada University, concurred regarding the factual errors in this article: “Nagorno-Karabakh was never transferred to Azerbaijan by the Soviet government.  The document signed by Stalin says the word ‘retain within Azerbaijan.’  It means that it was already established inside Azerbaijan.  The Karabakh Khanate was established in the mid-18th century by the Azerbaijani ruler Panakh Ali Khan.  It was a Muslim Khanate.  And it was a Muslim ruler who signed the peace agreement with the Russian emperor in 1803 and that incorporated that area into the Russian empire.  Not an Armenian ruler.  For many centuries, Azerbaijan and Karabakh were part of Turkic states, such as Qaragoyunlu, Aggoyunlu, Sefevid, Atabey state, etc.  For thousands of years.  There was no independent Armenian state in this region.  The Armenians migrated to Karabakh and the South Caucasus only after the Russian Empire took control of this region and started moving Armenians there in order to separate Turkic states.”

“Azerbaijan was the first democratic republic in the Orient in 1918,” Ismailzade noted.  “Before that, Azerbaijan existed in the form of various khanates and small kingdoms.  It is true that Albanians were present in the modern territory of Azerbaijan in the 5th century.  It was a Christian state and many churches in Karabakh today are ancient Albanian churches.  In 1988, the Armenians violated the USSR constitution, demanded the separation of Karabakh from Azerbaijan and wanted it to become part of Armenia.  They militarily occupied Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions, ethnically cleansed one million Azerbaijanis from their homes and violated the UN Charter.   Karabakh was never part of an Armenian state.  Never.”

Nevertheless, despite these historic facts, La Civilta Cattolica falsely accused Azerbaijan of waging pogroms against Armenians for the past 100-years, based solely on a falsified view of history that is being promoted merely due to the author’s bias against Azerbaijan.  Sadly, this website purports to represent the Vatican and as a result, sets a bigoted example for other publications to follow.

After La Civilta Cattolica published these historic falsehoods, Modern Diplomacy, published an article accusing Azerbaijan of waging “a genocidal assault” on Armenians.  The article accused Azerbaijan of committing war crimes against Armenians, yet failed to mention how Armenians destroyed homes and cut down trees, merely so that Azerbaijani refugees will not be able to return to their homes.  It also neglects to note how Armenians destroyed cultural heritage sites in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, wantonly targeted Azerbaijani civilians in indiscriminate attacks and utilized cluster munitions and land mines against Azerbaijani civilians.   Nor did the article note how Armenians murdered an Azerbaijani young soldier who posed no military threat or any other atrocities committed by Armenians.  It was pure one-sided propaganda, just to express hatred of “the other,” not unlike what Israel experiences on a daily basis.

Furthermore, the article did not mention the fact that the war was started because Armenia attacked Azerbaijani soldiers.  2,783 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in the Second Karabakh War, Yahoo News reported.  “According to the Azerbaijani prosecutor general’s office, 98 civilians were killed and 414 wounded during the armed conflict, and over 3,000 homes and 100 apartment buildings were destroyed or damaged,” Human Rights Watch reported.   “Azerbaijani government officials told Human Rights Watch that fighting displaced 40,000 people.”  None of these important facts were mentioned in the article.  Nor did it mention the fact that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan under four UN Security Council resolutions.  The aggression that Armenia waged during the Khojaly Genocide and Guba was similarly ignored, including the horrific rapes and other cruel acts of torture committed by the Armenians at that time, even though the article did not refrain from going further back into history in order to speak ill of Azerbaijan.

The article in Modern Diplomacy claimed that Azerbaijan sent Syrian jihadists to fight against Armenians.  However, Valiyev noted: “The story of the Syrian mercenaries originated in BBC Arab World, which is anti-Israel and anti-Turkic.   The Independent and the Guardian reprinted the story, without fact-checking.  The BBC interviewed one person, who claims his cousin went to Azerbaijan to fight.  Just one person.  No one else.  No valid and no reliable data.  This was like how the West reported on the Jenin Massacre during the Second Intifada.  At that time, they compared what happened in Jenin to Stalingrad.  Of course, after the fact, everything was found to be false.  Same story here.”

The time has come for the bigoted portrayal of history to end.   The time has come for people to stop demonstrating bias against both Azerbaijan and Israel.  The time has come for people to stop defending the aggressors in conflicts outside their borders.   The time has come for tolerance and understanding of nations fighting for their rights to reign supreme!

This Op-Ed/Analysis is the author’s personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of JerusalemOnline.com.