World divided by Putin

THE world seems to be divided between those who condemn Russian president Vladimir Putin as a war criminal and those who respect and admire the man.

The latter group includes such strange bedfellows as Israel's right-wing Russian-born Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, controversial White House aspirant Donald Trump, our own UK acting leader Nigel Farage and maybe even Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as well as George Galloway, the ruling party of Greece and Spain's left-wing coalition, Podemos.

Recent moves by Israel to cement a closer relationship with Russia, make one wonder how the Jewish state can suck up to the super-power which backs Israel's enemies, Iran and Hezbollah.

The current political complexion of the world is dangerously complex, especially in Israel's neighbour Syria, where Israel's interests are squeezed between those of its two super-power allies, Russia and America, between whom tension is escalating.

Traditionally America has been Israel's principal backer, but although Israel recently received its biggest-ever defence package from America, relations between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu were pretty cool while Lieberman was cosying up to Putin.

In order to avoid a situation like last year's Turkish shooting down of a Russian jet, Israel needs close communication with Russia while she reserves the right to protect herself from Hezbollah, which is operating within Syria.

And it suits Russia to posture itself as the new Middle East peacemaker, including between Israel and the Palestinians, following Obama's reluctance to get involved.

But, it's a dangerous game and Israel should be wary of putting too much trust in Putin, as should everyone else.

Putin's tentacles stretch everywhere, especially within our own country and America, whose current presidential election process smacks of Russian intervention with allegations flying that the Russians deliberately hacked into Hillary Clinton's emails in order to discredit her in favour of Putin's favourite Trump, who parrots out disinformation about the Democrats the minute it comes out of Russian propaganda outlets.

America has really let itself slip after, along with our own country, three years ago failing to take action over Syria's use of chemical weapons on its own people.

This American failure in world leadership has allowed Putin to not only take over the world, cynically claiming he is eliminating ISIS while in reality bombing innocent civilians and bolstering Assad's assault on all rebels, irrespective of their political complexion.

In our own country, the Stop the War coalition, with which Corbyn has close ties and which did so much to discredit Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq, was founded by a Communist Russian propagandist who will excuse any barbarous misdeeds perpetrated by Russia, but not the slightest infringement by the West, especially the UK, America and, of course, Israel.

Hence the Labour hard left's current reluctance to blame Russia for its part in the Syrian conflict, but to heap the blame on America.

It is indeed ironic that while Putin claims to be a best friend of the Jews and Israel, partly blaming his opposition to Ukraine on that country's antisemitism, his stooges in this country tend to be both anti-Zionist and antisemitic.

As usual, Jews and Israel are caught between a rock and a hard place on the world stage.

Complexities of mixed parentage

IF world attitudes to Jews are becoming increasingly complex, how much more so is Jewish identity in those of mixed parentage?

A case in point was Momentum vice-chairman Jackie Walker, who was forced to resign over antisemitic comments.

In an excellent Channel 4 interview at the time with Cathy Newman, Jackie claimed to be Jewish herself, as well as African.

But Jackie obviously finds great difficulty in reconciling the different racial strands within her own genetic inheritance, leading to her apparent Jewish self-hatred.

Walker is not a Jewish surname, but Newman is, although Cathy is not Jewish.

But that did not stop ignorant antisemites from targeting her with antisemitic abuse.

Also of mixed Jewish descent is ill-fated UKIP would-be leader Mancunian Steven Woolfe, whose father was born to a Jewish mother.

Was that why, during the Ten Days of Penitence between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Woolfe, who was hospitalised after an alleged brawl at the European Parliament, made up with his alleged attacker Mike Hookem, even though Hookem never apologised and denied that he had attacked him?

You can take Jews out of Judaism but you can't take Judaism out of the Jew.


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