Ukraine War Day #153: Wither [concluded]

Dear Readers:

Today concluding my review of this piece by reporter Gevorg Mirzayan. Where we left off: We were discussing the rather startling number, much bigger than I would have imagined, of Russian Jews emigrating to Israel: Almost 7,000 in 2021; and a whopping 15,000 in 2022, which is only half over. It goes without saying that the Russia-Ukraine war has been a factor in 2022. In the Russian press you keep reading about various celebrities who left in a huff because they opposed the war. I just didn’t realize the numbers were that big.

Yury Kanner

All these years Sokhnut (=The Agency) has been operating on Russian soil and stimulating emigration, they even sponsor youth camps, where they engage in education, teaching Jewish customs and explaining the legal ramifications of emigrating, etc. According to Yury Kanner, who is the President of the Jewish Congress of Russia, there is not a single country in world (which contains Jews) where there is not a branch of Sokhnut. Well, there is one exception: Iran. (Iran has Jews, but no Sokhnut.)

Well, don’t look now, but Russia may be the first country in the world to actually shut down this Agency. Because Russia is really ticked off right now. Moscow’s Chief Rabbi Pinkhas Goldsmit is worried about this: “We are really scared that the Iron Curtain might descend again,” Godsmit frets, “and then it will once again be impossible to leave Russia.” [One is tempted to say: “Well, better get out now, while you can,” but that would be flippant.]

What these Rabbis and others fear is not just the closing of Sokhnut itself, but the precedent it will set, for other countries. Up until now all the other countries were trembling in fear they would be accused of anti-Semitism; but if Russia does it, then they might acquire the courage… The Israelis are certainly worried about this, I mean Russia is their milk cow, worried enough to send the delegation to Moscow to engage in some patter-song with a tap dance. But it is not at all clear whether Israeli Prime Minister Lapid will be able to talk Putin out of taking this step. Fact is: Putin hates Lapid. Hates him so much, he wouldn’t even congratulate him on his electoral victory, and that’s saying a lot about Putin, who is essentially a very polite man, once you get to know him.

Godwin’s Law

What did Lapid do, that was so horrible? Well, he took Ukraine’s side, big time, Came out with very harsh words against Russia, accusing it of committing war crimes and atrocities. Turning up the pathos-meter, he whined about a horrible “big country” attacking an innocent “smaller and weaker country”. Boo hoo, Crimea River.

Further. Invoking Godwin’s Law, Lapid went there, he compared Russia to Nazi Germany (=big bully of a country attacking its smaller neighbor and committing atrocities against innocent civilians). If Russia = Germany, then Putin = Hitler. That same Russia whose citizens suffered the most from Hitler’s army. That same Russia which rescued Jews from the Nazi concentration camps. This is the sort of slap in the face that Russia simply cannot endure, especially from a guy who is basically somebody else’s finger-puppet.

Maybe these guys make better friends than the Cool Kids club?

Given all of this, one should not be surprised if Sokhnut is shut down, eventually. However, it definitely won’t happen overnight. Reminder that the first legal hearing is scheduled for July 28 in the Basmanny Court in Moscow. There is also an appeals process, and this whole legal ordeal might take a very long time. Plus, Israel is counting on the brilliance and persuasiveness of their diplomatic negotiating team. And if honey doesn’t work, they might try some vinegar. According to this piece, by reporter Alyona Zadorozhnaya, Lapid is threatening to send his team to the International Sanctions Olympics. Up until now, resisting political pressure from the U.S., Israel has held back from joining in the American/European economic sanctions against Russia. However, if Sokhnut is shut down, they may well jump into the Games feet first, as tit-for-tat payback. The article doesn’t say what kind of sanctions we are talking about, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that Russia imports a lot of high-tech stuff from Israel. So, that might actually hurt, although Russia has the power to hurt back much more.

For example, by including Israel on its ever-growing list of “Unfriendly Nations”. That would be an ouchie for Israel. The two nations are already on opposite sides of the physical battlefield, not just in the Ukraine, but also in Syria, where Russia’s natural allies are Iran and Hezbollah.

On the other hand, there is a tiny chance that Netanyahu might return to the PM post in the autumn elections. In which case, Russia-Israel relations might warm up again, unless it’s too late for that. But one fact is clear: under Lapid, the Russia-Israel relationship is doomed to fade, to wither, to dry up.

Sokhnut, in other words.

This entry was posted in Friendship of Peoples, Military and War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Ukraine War Day #153: Wither [concluded]

  1. Liborio Guaso says:

    In real life, the changes to come will define the position of each one, there is no room for simulation. And respect for the rights of others must be demonstrated with facts.

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  2. Sacha says:

    Excellent as always!

    Again we see how intricate religion and politics can be. As such its a religious duty to live in the holy land or visit the holy places, tombs of historical figures and it should remain something based on every individual right (like Chechen Muslims performing hajj or umra but remaining loyal citizens).

    The problem with the sokhnut is that it’s connected to the political level in Israel. There is in France different branches of the ministry of immigration of Québec to encourage French citizen to join their cousins across the ocean. As long as it remains non political I have no issue about it, they organize sessions about the legal frame, the job opportunities, housing offers etc

    I suppose the main thing is that the activity of the sokhnut should be strictly limited to practical advice and be independent from the government of Israel. That alone would make it credible.

    But it needs to solve one issue: do russian jews intend to leave because they are already loyal to another state or they just look for opportunities (social benefits, housing etc)? The whole idea of zionism is not to bring all jews inside Israel as a state but to give to any jew the possibility to live in a Jewish state when he wants to. That supposes a collective consciousness that I doubt currently most jews have outside of Israel.

    Hence the push to bring more jews inside -its somehow a failure because if I were Israeli I would consider it more relevant to have people sympathetic to Israel abroad than increase the numbers of jews without being sure of how they stand for the country.

    Of course the experience inside the military creates for the majority a genuine collective bond and a sense of belonging (in a way similar to what Butyat Chechen Kalmyk soldiers among Russian forces feel fighting side by side with their Russian brothers in arm). But apart from a view ideologically motivated jews, I guess the bunch would emigrate in new Zealand if they could immediately with better conditions.

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    • S Brennan says:

      Dunno, if you want to build an empire, a “greater Israel” based on an exaggerated historical fantasy, you’ll need people to fuel such an expansion..no?

      Just one fly in the ointment, Israel, in all of time, has never had a benefactor as generous as the US Taxpayer and…without a strong “intervention” the “leaders” in DC are driving the American Empire off the cliff. And it’s important to remember, to a large degree, Israel drives US foreign and domestic policy…so it’s a Thelma & Louise relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yalensis says:

        Thelma and Louise, what a fantastic analogy! One drives the other. A suicide pact, in short.

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      • Sacha says:

        From the Nile to the Euphrates maybe?

        Actually, there is no such concept in hebrew such as “greater” or even “great” Israel. It’s just “land of israel” (erets israel) which has no specific borders defined but more less corresponds to the current state of israel and some places in southern lebanon or western jordan, but ancient tribes’ locations don’t define modern legal borders…

        Actually there is a sophisticated misunderstanding that is cultivated: America as the savior of the Jews / Israel, America as giving up its foreign policy, sacrifying itself for a bellicist state in the middle east.

        If we go back to the American colony in Jerusalem history, and we track back the constant policy of Washington towards Israel, we have a different history than what mainstream media / scholars like to describe.

        To give you one example, if there was no speech by Gromyko at the UN, there would have been a simple American NO to the partition plan in 1947. I would need more than the space of a comment to detail how America’s foreign policy uses Israel as an instrument and is not really supportive of the Israeli agenda.

        Who forced Israel to recognize the PLO as the “only [unelected, by the way] representative of the palestinian people”? Who forced Israel to give up land to an organization which in 2022 still hasn’t abandonned its officiel goal to destroy the Jewish state (the PLO has never been amended and still aims, not at peace, but at replacing the entire state of Israel no matter its borders)? If America was adjusting its foreign policy to Israel, it would simply act differently than it has been doing for the last 70 years. Even the “magical package” of X billions of weapons, F35… is just a way to make the country dependent and Israel is struggling with a brain drain (and often top notch scientists from the Soviet Union Republics) to America…

        It’s just a cheap easy way for America to pretend supporting Israel (divide and conquer) and forget that it is America and not the Soviet Union which had built its CIA with former Nazis (and sent operative agents to Egypt and Syria by the way). Klaus Barbie was protected by the Americans.. I don’t see that a clear policy led by Jewish / Israeli interests.

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        • lou strong says:

          The sad reality is that back in the nineties Us and Israel played (together) good cop and bad cop with PLO and Arafat, and finally they bought him, so nowadays we have PLO not anymore a player, regardless what’s written in their statutes ,and we have in the West Bank the Palestinian National Authority acting as collaborators of the apartheid regime, because PNA main task is to keep their own masses not too restless.Once again the ” follow the money” point is basic, they are funded by and through Israel, so in this capitalistic world you can lok at this as a successfull ( from the Israel POV ) outsourcing story 🙂

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    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Sacha! So many complicated issues, especially the psychological ones involving identity and loyalty. Re. Canada, there was a time when Canada perceived France as a threat, inciting Quebec Separatism, but I think that has died down; in fact, I don’t think the current French government cares about Quebec at all, except for the cultural ties.

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      • Sacha says:

        “Vive le Québec libre” ! 😀
        There are still economic (Bombardier…) and political ties. But all this oun network in Canada has more influence on Canadian foreign policy than France has in spite of its attempts through Québec politicians.

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  3. Denkar says:

    Remember when Russia took the Zaporichia nuclear plant and there was that fire at the training center? And soon thereafter Russia announced that Ukrainian development work on dirty radiological devices were proceeding with foreign partners? Another writer, Doctorow I think, noted that the prime minister of Israel made an unscheduled trip to the Kremlin the day after that announcement. Perhaps deterioration of Russian Israeli relations has more antecedents than we know.

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    • yalensis says:

      I think you’re right. The Israelis have been up to their elbows in all sorts of “dirty tricks” in the Ukraine. Weren’t they also involved in the biolabs?

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  4. Gareth says:

    It is difficult for me to believe that an organization like Sokhnut would be operating in Russia, or anywhere else for that matter, without the being used by Mossad as a cover. It’s almost certain that they are seeking out particular people with technical and strategic training for emigration, such that those people would compromise Russian national security by working hand in hand with big daddy Uncle Sam. The CIA finds it next to impossible to work in Russia now through it’s banned cut-out NGOs, so the Israelis step in to help out in exchange for the usual big bucks. I’m not surprised that Russia has had it with that organization.

    Can you imagine what would happen to a Russian “civil society” organization working inside the U.S. to recruit emigrants? It would be the Maria Butina case squared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Excellent point!

      Like

    • Sacha says:

      Precisely not ! Any intelligence agency will not operate where they are the most likely to be spotted. If there is a place where Russians would be less focusing on, it would be an “agency” like the Sokhnut. I would rather, if I were Russian, be focusing on tourists, businessman, people who don’t have the profile of an agent and have no connection to official organizations… Well, I’m pretty sure they already do the job.

      Like

      • yalensis says:

        Who knows. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Mossad didn’t have at least a couple of agents working through Sokhnut. Well, maybe in the back office..

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  5. John Jennings says:

    Hahahahahahaha … ahaha … ‘Crimea River’ … why can’t I come up with stuff like that? I learn SO much here, and on top of that, you keep me in stitches.
    ‘Putin … is essentially a very polite man, once you get to know him.’ I didn’t think you had to know him. When I visited Moscow in 2018, there were t-shirts on sale everywhere proclaiming him ‘the most polite of people.’ I understand this is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the military aspect of the Crimean annexation.
    But seriously … I would send somebody tough and reliable – maybe Lavrov himself – to Israel. Or better, summon Lapid to the Kremlin and make it clear that Sokhnut is history if he doesn’t appear.
    He’d be shown the best-documented intelligence available on Kiev’s staged ‘atrocities,’ on the AFU’s practice of using Russian-speaking civilians as human shields (incl specific instances and numbers of the resulting casualties), and details of Ukronazi attacks on Ukrainian Jews.
    He’d hear a brief historical discussion. In this, the Russian side could simply plagiarize the points you made today and elaborate a bit.
    Then he’d get a stern – but polite! – ultimatum:
    ‘Maybe you didn’t know what you said was untrue, but you do now. If you want Sokhnut to operate in Russia,
    [1] No further emigration this year. Starting 2023, emigration must be capped at 3,000 / year.
    (or 2k, 5k or 7k, whatever suits Russia.)
    [2] You must publicly renounce and retract your Nazi comparisons and false atrocity claims.
    [3] You must describe to the public what you now know about human-shield atrocities and Ukronazi attacks on Jews. You must publicly call on Kiev to desist, and punish those involved. They won’t, but this is about you, Sokhnut and Israel. It’s not about Kiev, which will face its reckoning soon enough..
    ‘All these things must be done within 72 hours of your return. You may take notes on the intel we’ve shown you. We will be happy to help you prepare your statements, before your departure, for the sake of accuracy and in order to save time.
    “Finally, you need to remind Israelis serving in Ukraine’s military, whether officially assigned or volunteers, that they are not subject to the laws of war.’
    In short, if Lapid wants to keep his Russian cow, he needs to pay market price for the milk. As we know, food prices are only gonna get higher.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Oh my! I wish you could be the one negotiating with Lapid, that’s exactly what Putin needs to tell him! I wish I could live to see that.

      Like

    • Sacha says:

      Lapid is a grotesque puppet of the Democrats in Israel. I definitely hope Putin gives him a real political punch in his face. If you target this idiot Lapid, you target also the Dem establishment.

      Like

      • yalensis says:

        I saw some photos of him, his face definitely looks punchable!

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        • yalensis says:

          P.S. – never thought I would live to see the day when we would start to miss Nutty-Yahoo!

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          • Sacha says:

            Lol he ended the American economic aid in 1996 and turned Israel into a high tech hub so i think Israelis should make up their mind and get him back. The fact Putin showed respect towards him is also a good hint about his abilities as leader. Look at how Putin treats Macron. I feel ashamed as a French

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  6. John Jennings says:

    Oh, I should mention – I know it looks like I ignored your whole discussion about the legal process and how long it’s likely to take. I didn’t though. My feeling is, if the US government can find ways around the law, I’m sure VVP can too … not that the Biden regime is one whose practices should routinely be emulated.

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