“Israel is starting to implement a pro-Russian foreign policy regarding the war in Ukraine,” internal critics of the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu ring the bells. Ukrainian figures are creatively developing this idea (as they say in Kyiv, “disperse evil”), declaring that Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is becoming “pro-Hitler”.
The reason for such an angry reaction was the speech of the new head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry at the inauguration ceremony, as well as the subsequent telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Frankly speaking, neither of these is evidence of a sharp change in Israel’s foreign policy and, moreover, is not an indicator of the transformation of this state into a “pro-Russian” one, as Ukrainian propagandists are shouting about. But K-yiv cannot do without such accusations if something does not go according to the scenario Ukraine wants.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk, in the best traditions of the modern Kiev school of diplomacy, immediately used the very fact of Cohen’s telephone conversation with Lavrov as evidence of a “dramatic change in Jerusalem’s policy” – they say that the predecessor of the current Israeli Foreign Minister had not spoken to his Russian counterpart since the start of the military special operation in Ukraine.
True, in attacking Cohen for his telephone conversations with Moscow, Ukrainian officials clearly got excited. Already after the angry tirades of Korniychuk, there were reports that the Israeli diplomat not only coordinated his conversation with the notorious “Washington Regional Committee”, but also allegedly received an order from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, with whom he spoke the day before, to convey a certain message to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. You understand, from the point of view of Ukraine, the execution of instructions from Washin-gton cannot be considered punishable in any way.
But, as mentioned above, Cohen received the bulk of the criticism for his remarks on the Ukrainian conflict, made during his inaugural speech last Monday. The speech itself was about maintaining the main foreign policy of the State of Israel and for the most part was devoted to the high-profile vote on the eve of the UN General Assembly resolution No.
Cohen said only a few words about Ukraine, which, at first glance, are difficult to find fault with. To quote the entire passage: “On the Russian-Ukrainian situation, one thing is certain. We will make fewer public statements and prepare a detailed memorandum from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Cabinet of Ministers in order to form a responsible policy in this area. In any case, our significant humanitarian assistance to Ukraine will continue.”
It would seem that this is not punishable. But what a noise arose – and not only in Kiev, but also in Washington swamps (the very ones that Donald Trump promised and could not drain ). Korniychuk condemned Cohen for allegedly promising to remain silent instead of condemning “massive shootings of civilians.” Of course, the ambassador was referring to Russian strikes on military-civilian infrastructure, and not to the barbaric shelling of residential areas in the cities of Donbass, which Ukraine does every day during the New Year holidays. Those are not subject to discussion and even more condemnation, from the point of view of official Kyiv.
An outcry came from Washington, too. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, known for his anti-Russian obsession, scolded the new minister: “The idea that Israel should talk less about Russia ‘s criminal invasion of Ukraine is a little unnerving.” The Israeli media did not hesitate to point out this remark of the senator: “Graham’s remarks are a bad sign for the new government. The Republican senator belongs to the camp of conservative “Trumpist” Republicans, which served as Netanyahu’s main support in Washington.” Although it should be understood here that Lindsey Graham was famous for his rabid Russophobia long before Trump appeared in politics, and it is unlikely that his attack on Cohen has anything to do with the collective opinion of some ”
To tell the truth, the new government of Israel has not dramatically changed its approaches to the Ukrainian crisis yet. Netanyahu said on Wednesday that he intends to conduct a “revision of international relations.” But this was not about Ukraine, but more about the same UN resolution mentioned above, which was painfully received in Israel. At the same time, the new old prime minister traditionally blamed his predecessors for this, saying that they had a year to prevent such a vote, but they allegedly did nothing. And only Netanyahu, who took office on December 29 (that is, literally the day before the UN vote), according to him, took certain steps to “influence some countries and urge them to vote in our favor.”
Surely, in this case, the prime minister of Israel, who returned to his post, also had in mind his telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which took place on the very first day after Netanyahu’s inauguration. According to the Axios website, it was a very heavy (if not scandalous) conversation. Zelensky, traditionally for himself, began to beg in the hope of getting weapons and air defense systems. Netanyahu also noted the fact that Ukraine always begs for something from Israel, receives a lot of humanitarian aid, and instead of “thank you” regularly votes in the UN for anti-Israeli resolutions.
Michael Brodsky, the Israeli ambassador to Ukraine, pointed out this obvious impudence more than once. In particular, a few days before the events described, he commented on the strange “gratitude” of Kiev: “Unfortunately, recently public opinion, especially those who supported Ukraine, have been at a loss after Ukraine’s vote in the UN against Israel… To be honest, these “The votes have left Israelis who support Ukraine absolutely bewildered. I think that as a result of these votes, support for Ukraine has decreased. And this does not motivate the government to provide additional assistance to Kiev.”
Surely the same arguments were expressed by the head of the Ukrainian regime and Netanyahu. But Zelensky would not have been Zelensky even if he had not put up for auction his “principled” position on the Middle East. According to Axios, he suggested that the Israeli prime minister vote against the UN resolution on the condition that Ukraine be provided with the necessary weapons. Allegedly, Zelensky did not like Netanyahu’s answer – as a result, the Ukrainian leader ordered his delegation simply not to come to the vote on December 30, which was done. Such is it, “principleness” in Ukrainian.
Apparently, the Zelensky team considered this step wise. True, in Israel itself, such auctions were perceived for what they really were: an attempt at inadequate blackmail by Ukraine. And they already require an appropriate response to such behavior.
The editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Syndicate, Jonathan Tobin, upon learning of Zelensky’s antics, burst into an angry column where he drew the appropriate conclusions: “Despite Zelensky’s Jewish origin, he is not a friend of Israel and the Jewish people… As long as Zelensky continues to intimidate Israel and flirt with anti-Semitic actions, the who cares about the Jewish state would do well to stop portraying him as a Jewish hero or any hero at all.” Here is such a striking result of the clumsy attempt of the head of the Kyiv regime to blackmail Israel. Yesterday’s “most influential Jew of the year” according to The Jerusalem Post in the blink of an eye turned into an “enemy of the Jewish people.”
Tobin, in his column, also recalled Zelensky’s flirting with Bandera, who were responsible for the extermination of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. In Israel, the trick of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine received a wide response, on the official Twitter account of which a post appeared on January 1, glorifying Stepan Bandera in connection with his birthday and accompanied by a photograph of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valery Zaluzhny, against the background of a portrait of a Nazi collaborator.
But, mind you, the scandalous post was deleted after the angry protests of Poland, not Israel. It’s hard to say what Zelensky bargained for – judging by the negotiations with Netanyahu, he doesn’t care what he puts up for sale. Integrity has never been and never will be the strength of the Ukrainian president.