Israelis and Russians Bound Again by Battle Against Nazis (Kommersant, Russia)
Israel President Shimon Peres may be the most effective Western weapon for getting Russia to more-strongly support keeping nukes from Iran. On President Valdimir Putin’s surprisingly warm visit to Israel on Monday, Israelis in the person of Peres gave the world an impressive lesson on the exercise of soft power. According to this news account from Russia’s Kommersant, by dedicating a major monument recalling the Red Army victory over Nazi fascism and the Holocaust, Jewish leaders in Israel not only filled Putin with pride, they sought to focus that pride on a new threat: nuclear bombs in Iranian hands.
From the Israeli seaside town of Netanya: Kommersant’s, Andrei Kolesnikov offers his account of the events surrounding the opening of the Victory Monument in small part:
In his address, Shimon Peres said “I shudder” when I ask myself “what would have become of us (Jews),” and … “What would have happened to all of us? If the Nazi army had conquered Moscow, instead of the Red Army conquering Berlin.”
Indeed, this potential course of events never occurred to anyone else in attendance – but Jews are accustomed to considering every nuance.
Next Shimon Peres said that Israel remembers every one of its heroes. “Half a million Jews fought in the Red Army. Two hundred thousand of them fell on the battlefields. … Jewish soldiers served in the Red Army … in the forces on land, sea, air and as partisans in the forests. They fought bravely. The Red Army acknowledged their bravery, and many of them were appointed to key positions (clearly, a highly significant point – A.K.): Of 110 army commanders – 10 were Jews. Of 200 admirals – 17 were Jews. Of 700 corps commanders – 24 were Jews. More than 150 Jewish fighters were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal.
“Your coming today to Netanya,” the Israeli president said to Russia’s president, “is a rare historic meeting. Full of pain. (clearly, in a good sense of the word. – AK) Full of pride. Bearing hope.” With that, Shimon Perez arrived at the political part of his statement, saying that he was sure that “Russia, which suffered from the blow of fascism, will not allow similar threats. Not the Iranian threat. Not the Syrian bloodshed.”
That was a polite blow to the solar plexus: one cannot object to such a statement.
“Russia,” concluded Israel’s president, “could make a decisive contribution to peace in the Middle East.”
Vladimir Putin said in response that, “here in Israel, where millions of people in their hearts, just like in Russia, keep a special place for dates such as September 1, 1939, June 22, 1941, and May 9, 1945 … It was the Soviet Army that put an end to this madness (he first of all means it wasn’t the Americans – AK) and saved from destruction not just the Jewish people but many other peoples … we will not accept the truth being distorted and replaced by all manner of falsifications and fabrications. To rewrite history in this way would be a crime!”
So although no one was putting Vladimir Putin under attack, he defended himself just in case.
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