According to Vladimir Putin, the Hitler-Stalin Pact Wasn’t So Bad After All

The Russian president has deviated from his own previous position—as well as that of his Soviet and post-Soviet predecessors—by trying to paint the 1939 Nazi-Soviet alliance in a positive light. Timothy Snyder discusses the significance of this shift, and notes its implications vis-à-vis the history of the Jews:

On August 20, 1939 Hitler asked Stalin for a meeting, and Stalin was more than happy to agree. For five years the Soviet leader had been seeking an occasion to destroy Poland, and now one had arrived. Stalin understood, of course, that he was making an arrangement with the most important anti-Semite in the world to destroy the largest homeland of European Jews. Stalin had made preparations for the alliance with Hitler, kowtowing like so many other leaders to [the latter’s] anti-Semitism. In the hope of attracting Hitler’s attention, he had fired his Jewish commissar for foreign affairs, Maxim Litvinov, and replaced him with the Russian [non-Jew] Vyacheslav Molotov. The dismissal of Litvinov, according to Hitler, was “decisive.” It would be Molotov who would negotiate an agreement with Hitler’s minister of foreign affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop, in Moscow on August 23, 1939. . . .

Stalin famously said that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was an alliance “signed in blood.” Much of the blood shed in the lands concerned by the agreement would be that of Jewish civilians.

Read more at Eurozine

More about: Adolf Hitler, History & Ideas, Joseph Stalin, Nazi-Soviet Pact, Russia, Vladimir Putin, World War II

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas