To Whitewash Soviet Crimes, Moscow Uses the Jews as a Prop in Its Version of European History

In his speech at Yad Vashem during last week’s Holocaust-commemoration activities, Vladimir Putin spoke of the millions of Soviet Jews murdered by Germany and, naturally, of the role of the Red Army in defeating the Third Reich. He then made a point of mentioning the collaboration of Lithuanians, Latvians, and Ukrainians with the Nazis. To Izabella Taborovsky, this was not a good-faith effort to draw attention to historical truths that some have been eager to cover up, but an attempt to use the past as a cudgel against Putin’s enemies. Citing other recent rhetoric from the Kremlin as well, Tabarovksy identifies a message that should be worrisome to Jews:

The truth is that ethnic Russians also collaborated with the Nazis. . . . And millions of ethnic Ukrainians fought the Nazis as part of the Red Army. The countries that Putin likes to cast as collaborators also had people who saved Jews. Meanwhile, the Soviet regime massacred tens of thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals at Katyn as part of its occupation of Poland—a war crime, and an unhealed wound for Poles.

Putin’s divisions into “us”—the Russians who fought the Nazis and were the Nazis’ victims—and “them”—all the others who collaborated—is a crude and self-serving simplification, despite the fact that Lithuania, Ukraine, and other governments have recently engaged in unforgivable glorification of wartime Nazi collaborators and Holocaust distortion, making themselves easy marks for Putin’s propaganda.

Perhaps even worse, while Putin presents himself as a fighter for historical truth, no other country has done more in the postwar period to prevent the world from learning the truth about the Holocaust than the Soviet Union. According to the Israeli Holocaust historian Kiril Feferman, Russia’s KGB archives contain rich amounts of information about the Holocaust that have yet to come to light. But they remain sealed.

There are troubling signs that Russia will continue to use the Holocaust and the rise in anti-Semitism to advance its foreign-policy interests—and to instrumentalize Jews in this effort. At a recent roundtable in Moscow which brought together a group of prominent Russian historians and foreign-policy analysts to discuss how Russia could best use history to improve its image, the speakers zeroed in on the Jews—specifically Israelis, “world Jewry” and the “Jewish lobby in Washington”—as potential allies.

Read more at Forward

More about: Holocaust, Latvia, Lithuania, Soviet Union, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Yad Vashem

 

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation