The Fall of the Soviet Empire Was a Victory for Israel

June 11 2019

On June 4, 1988, Poland held its first free elections since before World War II, and Solidarity, the anti-Communist party, won 99 percent of the vote. To Sever Plocker, the date marks the beginning of the end of Communism and therefore of the cold war in Europe. He takes the recent anniversary of the election to reflect on the implications for the Jewish state:

Israel gained a great deal from the collapse of the Soviet empire. Post-Communist governments initiated full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, followed by economic and strategic ties. The arms race to keep up with Soviet armaments, [which flowed freely into the hands of Israel’s enemies], also ended.

In a casual conversation in 1988, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told the American Jewish oil tycoon Armand Hammer that he would “allow all Jews who want to emigrate to Israel to do so,” and the report [of the conversation] was published as a scoop in [the Israeli paper] Yediot Aḥronot. The more than one million immigrants who have arrived in Israel since then have enabled, among other things, the flourishing of Israeli high-tech, which brought the country at least $450 billion in revenue. Were it not for the sweeping victory of the anti-Communist revolution of 1989, Israel would not be what it is today. It is worth remembering this.

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More about: Israeli history, Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian Jewry, Soviet Union

 

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media