Journalist Jered Feldschreiber wrote recently of the friendly relationship between Russia and Israel, despite the fact that Putin was selling arms to nations that were hostile toward The Jewish state.
In fact, Israel has maintained neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and was absent for the March 27, UN vote, that called on members not to recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea.
Cautious of the new Ukranian government, that includes members of the anti-Semitic Svoboda Party, Feldschreiber states:
Deep-seated anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine, has marred Jewish history. Neo-Nazi elements have seeped into contemporary Ukrainian politics, a notion largely ignored by Western media. The rise of the Svoboda Party, for instance, founded in 1991 as the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and seen as a populist proponent of nationalism and anti-communism, remains a dangerous presence.Israel had more friends in the government of Viktor Yushchenko, whose Communications Director, Yevgeny Chervonenko, held an Israeli passport and was vice president of the All-Ukraine Jewish Congress. In 2004, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Chervonenko warned of "anti-Semites" in the opposition coalition, and spoke of how he had accosted one of them, Vassily Chervoni, in a washroom in the Parliament building. "I put his head in the sink and told him, 'One more bad word about Israel and I'll really mess you up'".
Besides the fact that there are over one million Russians living in Israel, the mutual friendship goes beyond that.
In late June 2012, President Putin attended a special ceremony of the Victory Monument in the Israeli town of Netanya. The Victory Monument is a commemoration to the more than half a million Jews who fought for the Red Army in World War II. Netanyahu proposed the idea to President Putin, and it soon became a joint initiative between the two countries.Despite his posturing with Russia, and often maniacal support of Israel, Stephen Harper cannot erase their shared history and mutual respect.
Now Putin is hoping to broker a peace settlement between Russia and Palestine. The cease fire proposal, rejected by HAMAS, gave no consideration to justifiable grievances. Will the Russian proposal work to satisfy both sides? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Netanyahu first has to rein in members of his own Party, like Moshe Feiglin, who is calling for nothing short of genocide.
When Canada's Independant Jewish Voices protested Feiglin's visit to Canada, Jason Kenney suggested that it would be an attack on free speech.
"After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its firepower, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations,” ... Following the reconquest, Israel’s army “will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrongdoing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave... "
“Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever,” Feiglin concludes. “Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.”
Canadian citizens should be afforded the same right to free speech, when we suggest that Israel needs to stop the senseless killing and horrific mistreatment of the Palestinians, without being branded as anti-Semites.
And the Canadian government should be seeking a peaceful solution to this conflict, if for no other reason than to not allow Russia the opportunity to challenge Harper's statement that they are a threat to world peace.