On apologies – Anshel Pfeffer in Haaretz:
‘Putin’s apology Thursday in a phone call to Naftali Bennett for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks that “Hitler also had Jewish blood” should be seen in that light. Putin doesn’t want Israel to abandon its position of near neutrality on the Russia-Ukraine war. Moscow is aware that Israel may be on the verge of taking a clearer stance on Ukraine’s side, including supplying it with “defensive” systems, and he’s eager to prevent that from happening.
It’s a fear that’s partly irrational. Israel isn’t about to supply Ukraine with a game-changing weapon; even if it wanted to, it doesn’t have those capabilities to give.
Putin’s view of what Israel can do for Ukraine is exaggerated (and some Ukrainians seem to have similar expectations). His belief in Israel’s almost mythical powers is an evolution of the antisemitic belief in Jewish power. Putin’s view isn’t so different from that of the Russian authors of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” but unlike those Russian antisemites of old, he believes in trying to make the Jewish state his ally, rather than repressing the Jews.’
‘Another source of concern for Putin that’s probably greatly exaggerated is that Israel is among countries he has courted over the years that haven’t yet committed to either side in the war. He’s worried about a knock-on effect if Israel actually does move toward Ukraine.
But it’s not as if there would be a major diplomatic shift if Israel changed its position. Putin has lost the Western nations anyway. The currently neutral countries including Israel that are non-Western allies of the United States – like India, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – have various reasons for sitting on the fence. If Israel gets off the fence, it won’t change the others’ considerations, though this may have some residual effect.’
‘Close observers of Russian television have noticed an interesting nuance in the last couple of days: Some pundits have spoken of a Nazism that doesn’t have to be antisemitic but can be anti-Slavic or anti-Russian. In other words, the message from the Kremlin is to try to bypass the question of how a Jewish Ukrainian president can be a Nazi by saying that not all types of Nazism are antisemitic.’
‘Saying that Hitler had Jewish blood and that Jews can be the worst antisemites was perfectly in line with Russian propaganda, both going back to the Soviet era and in the current conflict. As long as Russia bases its war effort on claims that a country led by a Jewish president and with many senior officials of Jewish origin is basically a “neo-Nazi junta,” it will remain mired in the kind of antisemitic rhetoric used by Lavrov.’
Read the article here.
Putin appears to believe ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, but unlike many of his predecessors he thinks that it’s better to befriend ‘the Jews.’
In the meantime the war in Ukraine drags on, the Ukrainian appetite for territorial concessions for peace have faded quickly. Some people might think that Ukraine can win the war, well at the beginning of the war in Syria many thought that the days of Assad were over, I was one of them.
I said it before, a low-intensity war seems to fit the appetite of the major players. Till a fatal mistake will force the powers that be to intervene. One way or another.