In Russia, Anti-Semitism Makes a Comeback

Although Vladimir Putin has aligned himself with a nationalist and authoritarian Russian political tradition that more often than not has been entangled with anti-Semitism, and has also sought to repair the reputation of Communist anti-Semites like Stalin, he has shown few if any indications of personal animus toward Jews. To the contrary, he has made a point of cultivating good relations with Jewish leaders where possible. But since the war with Ukraine began in 2014, state-sponsored anti-Semitism has begun to reemerge from the margins. Ben Cohen discusses this resurgence with the historian Ksenia Krimer:

Jews are [often] presented [by state-sponsored media] as exercising a sinister, unaccountable power. Krimer quoted [the] instance, . . . from 2016, when Maria Zakharova—now the spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry—declared on a TV chat show that to understand why Donald Trump won the election that year, “you have to talk to the Jews, naturally.” Adopting a faux Brooklyn accent, she added: “They told me: ‘Marochka [a Russian diminutive for Maria], you understand, of course, we’ll donate to [Hillary] Clinton. But we’ll donate twice as much to the Republicans.’ That was it! The matter was settled, for me personally.”

The host of that show, the Kremlin loyalist Vladimir Solovyov, has continued to push anti-Semitic themes in his output, Krimer said. In one episode following the March 2022 massacre of hundreds of civilians by Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, Solovyov—who acknowledges his Jewish origins and has even accused Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” of trying to assassinate him—nevertheless ranted against journalists and pundits with Jewish names, [calling them] agents of “Russophobia” who had failed to show genuine gratitude to the Russian liberators of Nazi concentration camps in the closing stages of World War II.

A soldier’s manual published in October 2022 with the approval of the Russian Ministry of Defense attempted to justify the invasion to those tasked with carrying it out by claiming that “all power [in Ukraine] is concentrated in the hands of citizens of Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. They orchestrated the genocide of the native inhabitants. . . . Today, all of us, Russian Orthodox and Muslims, Buddhists and shamanists, are fighting against Ukrainian nationalism and the global Satanism that supports it.”

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Russian Jewry, Vladimir Putin, War in Ukraine

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security