Russia’s Anti-Ukraine Propaganda Has Its Roots in Soviet Anti-Semitism

For much of the past eight years, the Kremlin has sought to portray the Ukrainian government as dominated by neo-Nazis, going so far as to describe its current military engagement as a campaign of “denazification.” Jeffrey Herf investigates the historical precedents of this rhetoric:

Ukraine today is the only state in the world besides Israel that has a president and a foreign minister who are Jewish. Accusing political opponents within, liberal democracies without, and Israelis of being fascists and Nazis is a lie with deep roots in the history of the Soviet Union’s foreign policy after World War II. In the “anti-cosmopolitan” (read: anti-Semitic) purges of 1949 to 1953, the Soviet Union hurled the accusation [of fascism] at Communists who supported the state of Israel, and at political opponents who rejected Communist one-party rule. During the cold war, the Soviet Union repeatedly denounced the United States and West Germany as fascist or Nazi. In 1961, when East Germany built the Berlin Wall—a wall that turned that country into a prison with 17 million inmates—it described it as “the anti-fascist protection wall.”

In 1967, the Soviet ambassador Nikolai Fedorenko at the United Nations described Israel’s military operations as examples of “fascist aggression.” During the Yom Kippur War of 1973, his successor, Jakob Malik, compared Israel’s response to the Arab attack to Nazi aggression during World War II. . . . The Israeli-as-Nazi canard spread to the radical left around the world. On the West German far left, it served to justify terrorist attacks against Israelis as a form of revolutionary anti-fascism. Such falsehoods about Israeli democracy played a role in Islamist and radical leftist attacks on Israel.

This reversal and transformation of the meaning of antifascism . . . was consequential. It lent apparent legitimacy to what were, in fact, anti-Semitic and false conspiracy theories about the policies of Israel. Sadly, the Soviet Union achieved great success with its “Israeli as Nazi” propaganda. Associating attacks on the Jewish state with the language of antifascism comprised a crucial chapter in the reemergence and renewed respectability of anti-Semitism in the international radical left during the cold war. So, it is not at all surprising that Putin, whose roots lie in the Soviet-era KGB intelligence services, denounced Ukraine as a state of Nazis and fascists.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Zionism, Holocaust inversion, Russia, Soviet Union, War in Ukraine

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy