Russia Is Again Using Anti-Semitism as a Weapon

On March 22, a terrorist attack at a concert venue outside of Moscow left over 140 people dead. Islamic State (IS) swiftly emerged as the most likely culprit, while Vladimir Putin and his supporters immediately tried to blame Ukraine. But that is not the only direction in which the Kremlin and its allies pointed their fingers. Izabella Tabarovsky writes:

Aleksandr Dugin, the influential Russian ultranationalist ideologue, wrote on his Telegram channel that the real culprit was not IS, which had taken responsibility, but “the Zionists.” The attack could have been “Zionists’ revenge” for Russia’s position on Gaza, he wrote, urging his 61,000 followers to look for the fingerprints of the Mossad, whose “close relations with IS” are supposedly well-known.

The myth of the Mossad joining hands with IS has been around for as long as IS—and the notion that Jews were to blame for the Crocus City attack popped up on conspiracy theorist sites worldwide almost immediately. In this sense, Dugin’s remark did not reveal anything original. What it did do was confirm that anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is an inextricable part of Russian public discourse. What’s more, anti-Semitic speech is now an integral part of Russia’s domestic and global messaging.

One way this expresses itself is in incessant defamatory references to the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s Jewish identity, which are not only acceptable, but practically de rigueur among Russian political and media elites.

In this way, writes Tabarovsky, Russia is acting much like its Soviet predecessor, and like its allies Iran and China.

Read more at Wilson Quarterly

More about: Anti-Semitism, Islamic State, Russia


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy