Russia’s recognition of the independence of the LPR and DPR caused some confusion in Tel Aviv, where at first nobody was in a hurry to make a statement. Moreover, after intense consultations in Israel’s Foreign Ministry and National Security Council, local officials were forbidden to provide comments by the ruling coalition, leaving the Jewish nation-state in a very uneasy situation. On the one hand, they did not want to spoil relations with Russia and harm the joint projects that had already been launched. On the other, they feared that silence over Donbass would provoke tensions in further communication with Western allies and, above all, with the US, for whom Ukraine has long been not just a bargaining chip but an instrument of confrontation with Russia, that would be used to stir Russophobic sentiments through the remotely-controlled Kiev authorities.
In this regard, at the February 27 politico-military cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asked ministers not to speak publicly about Ukraine, stressing that: “Israel is not a party to this conflict, please remain silent.”
The Israeli position on the escalating tensions between Moscow and Kiev became a little clearer after the start of the Russian Defense Ministry’s special operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine, as Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the attack in a statement, saying that war is not the way to solve conflicts.
In doing so, the current authorities have neglected the fact that for the past eight years Moscow has been urging the international community to use diplomacy for ending the active nazification of Ukraine. It has been taking place all these years at the intense instigation of the US and Western countries, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Donbass civilians at the hands of Right Sector (banned in Russia) Nazis and Bandera militants.
However, Tel Aviv’s stance further underlines the fact that there’s a double standard in its approach, as Israel itself and its leaders have repeatedly expressed their intentions to use armed countermeasures against Iran and have carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian military and political representatives. Moreover, neither Washington, nor its Western allies, nor the UN and the world community in general, have ever officially censured Tel Aviv for these provocative and subversive actions against Iran. As for overt military operations against Iran, Tel Aviv has avoided them only because it fears the devastating consequences of retaliatory military response that Tehran is capable of mounting. Nevertheless, the bogeyman of the Iranian nuclear threat is still actively used by Tel Aviv today, gathering a “pool of supporters” in armed opposition to Iran, in particular through the Washington-initiated “Abraham Accords” – i.e. strengthening Israel’s multidimensional cooperation with several Arab states.
In late February, the Israeli Foreign Ministry rejected a request from the US State Department and did not co-sponsor a resolution condemning the Russian invasion in mild terms, which was put to a UN Security Council vote. However, Washington has since initiated a series of “clarification talks” with the Israeli political establishment on how to behave in today’s situation. Also the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has thrown away his former German identity to become a fierce supporter of White House politics for his own political ambitions, was asked to make a “surprise visit” to Israel to persuade Tel Aviv to vote in favor of a UN resolution condemning the Russian operation in Ukraine.
As a result, on instructions from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the UN General Assembly, Israel decided to support a resolution condemning Russia. However the Tel Aviv statement was not voiced by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, as his deputy Noah Furman took this task in order to reduce “the irritation factor for Russia.” Thus Israel, which had previously tried to deal with the consequences of the actions of fascists and manifestations of neo-Nazism, has now officially stood up for the neo-Nazi authorities in Kiev, officially glorifying such fascist thugs as Bandera and Shukhevich.
And here the current Israeli authorities have blatantly ignored the attitudes of their own population to the rise of Nazism and anti-Semitism in Ukraine in recent years. Moreover, Moscow’s current special operation is precisely aimed at countering this, while this criminal policy of Kiev has been encouraged by the West for eight years now!
In this regard, it would be appropriate to recall at least the recent events of the annual Hasidic pilgrimage to a small Ukrainian town, Uman, Cherkasy region, whose locals, in a fit of neo-Nazi indoctrination by the Ukrainian authorities, opposed the arrival of believers from the Promised Land. Religious Israelis then voiced their harsh accusations to president Vladimir Zelenski. Hasidism is a powerful current in Judaism, according to which everyone can achieve personal holiness. For one of its branches, the Breslov Hasidim, the holy place is Uman in Ukraine, where the founder of their movement, Rabbi Nachmani, is buried, and a pilgrimage to his tomb at least once in a lifetime is considered a God-given deed. However, amid an upsurge of Judeophobia in Ukraine, a rabbi was beaten in the summer of 2020 in the same town of Uman; the police have not found the perpetrators.
Furthermore, it is unlikely that the people of Israel can indifferently watch as monuments are erected in Ukraine to those who exterminated Jews by the tens of thousands, burned, stabbed, shot, and buried them alive in mass graves. The names of these executioners, whose hands are up to their elbows in Jewish blood, are used to name streets and schools in the cities. Due to the policies pursued by the Kiev authorities, these murderers are now heroes for Ukraine. And the fact that the current president of Ukraine is an ethnic Jew means absolutely nothing. After all, this man betrayed not only his own blood but also his own kinship, effectively spitting on the grave of his grandfather who fought against Nazism.
It would seem that Israel should be sounding the alarm, calling on the entire civilized world to pay attention to the crimes that are taking place in Ukraine with the connivance of the Kiev authorities and their US sponsors. And heirs of the executioners are now literally dancing on the graves of murdered Jews there, encouraging anti-Semitism: regular desecration of Jewish graves, monuments, and domestic anti-Semitism. This, in particular, is confirmed by Eduard Dolinsky, Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, who, on his Facebook page, clearly demonstrates that modern Ukraine is a completely anti-Semitic country, where the memory of murderers of the Jewish people is honored and protected and monuments are erected to them, often even on the site of the mass graves of the Jews they murdered.
But current Israeli officials do not hear Eduard Dolinsky and do not want to know the true situation in Ukraine. They prefer to listen to Washington’s fakes and betray the memory of the Jewish people who suffered under fascism, and to stand up for the Nazi authorities in Kiev at the behest of the White House.
Not long ago, former US President Donald Trump said: “America will not be held hostage by nuclear blackmail.” The same position was previously held by Tel Aviv. However, having taken the path of criticizing Russia over its fears of Ukraine getting nuclear weapons, Israel itself will now no longer have the right to resent the possibility of Iran arming itself with a nuclear bomb, since it chose to suit the political whims of the current rulers in Washington!
As for further engagement with Moscow, Israel has needed it more than Russia in recent years, especially in developments in neighboring Syria. However, with Tel Aviv adjusting its attitude to Russia’s objective fears due to NATO’s provocative eastward expansion and the growing neo-Nazi and nuclear threat from Ukraine, Israel can now hardly expect Moscow to understand its concerns about extremist manifestations from Syria and the previous reaction to the Israeli army’s missile and air strikes on Syrian territory.
Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.