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June 13, 2016

A Preoccupied Western Media Fails to Appreciate the Historic Revival of Ties Between Russia and Israel

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The recent meeting in Moscow between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin marks a milestone in the continuing rapproachment between Israel and Russia. The growing engagement between these former bitter adversaries has attracted limited attention in the Western media, obsessed as it is with Israeli-Palestinian issues.

In its prior embodiment as the Soviet Union, the Russian government armed and abetted Israel's enemies and had a central role in the worldwide campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state. Ironically, while Soviet propaganda against Israel remains to this day a staple of the anti-Israel left in the West, the post-Soviet successor state has adopted a more favorable stance toward Israel and the Jewish people.

From a historic perspective, a close bond between Israel and Russia is quite natural. Many of Israel's Jews trace their roots back to Russia and the lands formerly ruled by Czarist Russia and the Soviet Union. In more recent history, nearly a quarter of Israel's Jewish population was part of or descended from the migration that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

An article appearing in TASS, the news agency linked to the Russian government, closed with a powerful reminder of a tragic shared past between Russia and the Jewish people.

The article reports comments by President Putin.

Russia and Israel will pool efforts to counter attempts to revise the history of World War II, Putin said. "We are speaking about a very sensitive subject - the memory of World War II," Putin told journalists. "Our peoples fought together against Nazism and paid a huge price (sp) for the victory," Putin stressed. "That is why we must and will keep the memory of the heroes and victims of that war, we will counter attempts to revise its results, to forget the tragedy of Holocaust."

Putin's words serve as a reminder of the role the Soviet Union played in defeating Nazi Germany and the important role Soviet Jews had in the Soviet war effort. It was Soviet forces that liberated the major death camps containing the surviving remnant of Jews caught in the Nazi web. Despite the personal animosity of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin towards Jews and a ruling Communist party disinterested in the dire circumstances confronting Jews both during and after the war, it was the Russian people, in the guise of the tens of millions serving in the Soviet armed forces, who deserve credit for saving the Jewish people of Eurasia from complete annihilation.

Some 500,000 Jewish men served in the Soviet armed forces and 200,000 lost their lives, evenly divided between combat losses and those murdered on the spot after being plucked out of prisoner lines by hawk-eyed German guards. Jews served at all levels in the Soviet armed forces, including as generals and received countless citations for bravery.

Jewish engineers and scientists also contributed enormously using their ingenuity to provide the Soviet armed forces with desperately needed modern weapons that enabled the reconstituted Soviet forces to recover from early calamitous defeats and overwhelm the German Wehrmacht.

While anti-Jewish sentiment persists in the Russian population and the growing Muslim minority imposes limitations on Russian support for Israel, revived Israeli-Russian relations would go a long way toward righting a historic wrong brought about by a cynical and callous Communist leadership.

Posted by SS at June 13, 2016 12:12 PM

Comments

It would be one thing if this were the first choice Israel made and not a shift in realpolitik created by Obama's foreign policy and his recent reneging on promises to increase Israel's security in light of the "Iranian Deal". Pulling back on Missile defense Obama has made it clear at the end of his epic failure as an American President his promises were not made to be kept. Russia may be the key to restraining the Iranian Ayatollah's and the extremists they succor at this period when it is ever more risky.
There are those analysts who would have us believe the extremists days are numbered, but it seems that is pure fantasy. The Obama hallucination, the Arab Spring was an intellectual movement that was pro-Islam and socialist was a grotesque error and if it wasn't a mistake to see the AS for what it was and developed into the Islamic State and a revival of an Al-Qaeda he declared dead, then shame on the President. What would Stevens say?

Posted by: jeb stuart at June 17, 2016 11:17 AM

As a 'moderated' blog it is stated that comments you deem inaccurate will not be posted. Who determines the inaccurate moniker, and how are facts either contested or in dispute handled and by whom?

Posted by: john o'grady at June 18, 2016 03:27 PM

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