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Home Israel recent Russia Ukraine Ukrainian Chutzpah

Ukrainian Chutzpah

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel is not happy. Ambassador Korniychuk has demanded that Israel cut off all business dealings with Russia. Meanwhile Ukraine’s business dealings with Iran rose over 30% and reached nearly $2 billion. Iranian exports to Ukraine increased by 40%.

That means Ukraine is literally financing Islamic terrorism against Israel. And genocide.

Is Ukraine ready to stop all business dealings with Iran in exchange for Israel ending its business dealings with Russia? Don’t be silly. These demands only go one way.

Ukraine's President Zelensky has repeatedly invoked the Holocaust in the influence campaign against the Russian invasion of his country. “What is the point of saying ‘never again’ for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?” he tweeted.

A better question might be why is a country whose people were responsible for much of the killing of Jews at Babi Yar is shamelessly appropriating the Holocaust for its propaganda.

Especially since Ukraine, like Russia, continues to finance the modern genocide of Jews.

During the Holocaust, Ukrainian nationalists participated in large numbers in the massacres of Jews. Including at Babi Yar. Rather than feel any sense of shame for this, Bandera and his thugs, who were responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews, are national heroes and continue to be celebrated in Ukraine. Including by Zelensky.

"Stepan Bandera is a hero for a certain part of Ukrainians, and this is a normal and cool thing. He was one of those who defended the freedom of Ukraine," Zelensky argued a few years ago.

You can wrap your cause in the Holocaust or celebrate Bandera, but you can’t do both.

“Addressing all the Jews of the world: Don’t you see why this is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world do not remain silent right now," Zelensky recently demanded in a speech that was helpfully translated into Hebrew by his office.

What is happening in Ukraine is wrong, but it is not genocide. Unlike Nazi Germany and its Ukranian nationalist allies, the Russians are not marching tens of thousands of Ukrainian men, women, and children, stripping them, shooting them, and throwing them into pits. Nor, like Ukraine’s Iranian trading partners, is Russia plotting to drop nuclear bombs on its cities.

Considering the centuries of actual massacres of Jews by Ukrainian national heroes like Bogdan Chmelnitsky, Simon Petlura, and Stepan Bandera, (who have streets and medals named after them) the willingness of Israel to quickly rush aid and provide political support to Ukraine ought to be appreciated. Especially since it’s another wholly one-sided relationship.

Israel voted in support of Ukraine at the UN despite the fact that Ukraine has repeatedly voted against the Jewish State and in support of the terrorists trying to kill Jews.

'President Zelensky does feel a "special emotion for Israel because his mother is Jewish," but that feeling has to be reciprocal," Ambassador Korniychuk was quoted as saying.

Reciprocal? What exactly have Zelensky and Ukraine done for Israel?

Last year, a Ukrainian emissary suggested that if Israel were to provide his country with its defense demands, then it might agree to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

That’s about it.

President Zelensky and Ambassador Korniychuk complain that Israel hasn’t been vocal enough in its opposition to Russia. When Israel was at war, how vocal was Zelensky?

When Israel was last under attack, Zelensky tweeted, "The sky of #Israel is strewn with missiles. Some cities are on fire. There are victims. Many wounded. Many human tragedies. It is impossible to look at all this without grief and sorrow. It is necessary to stop the escalation immediately for the sake of people's lives." Passive voice. No specific condemnation.

Instead of showing appreciation for the fact that Israel has gone out on a limb to support a country that is not an ally, but has repeatedly opposed Israel at the UN, and has extensive trade ties to Iran, Korniychuk has escalated his demands and tirades against the Jewish State.

Ambassador Korniychuk has repeatedly berated Israel and Israelis for not doing enough. The latest acts of chutzpah include Korniychuk pushing the Israeli High Court to overrule a decision by the Israeli government on accepting Ukrainian migrants without any quotas, and demanding that the Israeli Knesset convene specifically to listen to a Zelensky speech.

President Zelensky is entitled to make the best possible case for his country. Ukraine is suffering from an invasion that threatens its national existence and it’s understandable that its government is frantically trying to push every possible button to avert that catastrophe.

War propaganda is an exchange of lies. And we have witnessed Putin and Ukraine hurl accusations of Nazism at each other when in reality both sides collaborated with the Nazis. Both sides likewise insist that the other is part of a vast conspiracy and their defeat will lead to WWIII.

The cold hard reality is that both sides are spewing as many crazy lies as they can to win a war.

Two ex-Soviet countries with little going for them except energy resources are using their broken ex-Soviet militaries to fight over who gets the profits from those energy resources.

It’s entirely reasonable to sympathize with the Ukrainians who have been invaded.

The Biden administration has chosen to express that sympathy by making it clear that we will not intervene militarily, but will pile on economic sanctions. That’s a move likely to inflict maximum economic pain on Americans with a minimal military impact on Russia. That’s convenient for Biden who can blame Putin for the disastrous economic situation in America without having to risk American casualties and the domestic political fallout from a war.

Israel’s best bet however is to just stay out of a mess that really does not involve it.

Zelensky happens to be of Jewish descent. A number of close allies of Putin also happen to be Jewish. That’s every bit as significant as the fact that both Trump and Clinton’s children have Jewish spouses. Or that China's only non-Chinese general was General ‘Two Gun’ Cohen.

It’s possible to admire Zelensky’s doggedness in the face of a massive invasion without bowing to him as a moral authority. He’s a very effective advocate for his country. And, like many people of Jewish descent who participate in antisemitic movements, he’s managed to reconcile the conflict by putting Ukraine first and mobilizing his Jewish ancestry in its defense.

Much as Jewish leftists do with Muslim terrorism, or Jewish sympathizers who join far-right movements, Zelensky has puts his ‘Jewishness’ at the service of antisemites. And, unlike his willingness to embrace personal risk during the conflict, there’s little admirable about that.

Ukraine has no historical claim on Israel’s sympathy. And only liberal Jews with no sense of history who know their great-grandparents came from Ukraine, but don’t know why they got the hell out would think otherwise. And there’s certainly no reciprocal alliance worth mentioning.

Putin’s Russia and Ukraine are both close trading partners of Iran. In addition, Russia supplies weapons and support for Iran. Both repeatedly vote against Israel at the UN. Both have an ugly history when it comes to Jews. They’re not allies or friends, they are at best friends of enemies.

Prime Minister Bennett’s foolish attempts at acting as if he can mediate between Russia and Ukraine have done nothing to help either end the conflict or improve Israel’s image.

When Ukrainians were surveyed at the end of last year, 71% said that they did not support either side in the conflict between Israel and Iran. And there’s nothing surprising about that. Different countries with no shared borders, values, or interests don’t have to support each other.

The same is true for Israel in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

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Thank you for reading.


  1. I think the second paragraph
    "That means >Iran< is literally financing Islamic terrorism against Israel"
    should be
    "That means >Ukraine< is literally financing Islamic terrorism against Israel"

  2. Anonymous21/3/22

    100%! Thank you, Daniel!

  3. Anonymous21/3/22

    Thank you, Daniel, for showing the history of
    Ukraine and Israel. When Israel needed friends,
    she had few. Now Israel and America have a duty
    to defend Ukraine? Let's see. America has
    responded to invasions, famines, earthquakes,
    storms, piracy with hardly a thank you. Israeli
    science has saved and improved millions of lives.

    I'm fed up being Mr. Nice Guy Sucker. Trump was
    right: "America First". Israel too.


  4. I utterly disagree - not with the validity of some of your statements but with the blasse indifferent tone and moral compass of your posturing. While it is true that all comparisons to the Holocaust (whether by Putin's equating alt right Ukranian nationalists to Nazis or Zelensky equating the present mass murder and occupation to genocide) are absurd, this is simply the fact that words today have lost their meaning and have devolved into rhetorical devices. Words aside, Zelensky is being occupied, hsi nation is being murdered under the pretense of de-Nazification. The Ukranians - whatever their past - are presently the victim. If you want historical comparisons, let's forget WW2 and say the Roman Empire occupation of Judea, the dissolution of the Jewish state under the banner of occupation and subjugation to Rome (Moscow). Is that a worthier parallel to die for? Zelensky is doing the best he can for his country. Israel is supposed to be more than simply a Nation with self-interest. It is founded on being a homeland for people who have been in diaspora for centuries subject to all sorts of horror. It carries the weight not of a country solely but that of a moral imperitive. If Israel were to become "self-interest" driven solely (as Ukraine itself is), it would automatically lose the support of millions of Jews world over who view it as more than simply a Jewish state. Jews, I among them, expect Israel to represent Judaic values - not religious values, not national values but the sum total of a people's aspirations. It is inconceivable that Israel would find a way to jstify indifference. While Putin may not be Hitler, allowing others to indifferently die was a global symptom during the holocaust. All the countries like the UK and US who did not bomb the railways to Auschwitz are rightly culpable for indifference. So too all the countries that did not admit Jewish refugees or continued to buy German products - they were complicit. The world was complicit. Now, you are saying that it is okay for Israel to remain indifferent - i.e. complicit - in war crimes and attrocities.

    1. Ukraine, frankly, is not the only country that's been invaded or is in a state of military conflict... it's just the only one that the media and political class insist we pay attention to

      What's happening to Ukraine is unjust, but it's not the Holocaust nor, for that matter, is it on a level with much of what was happening in WW1 or WW2, nor is it the Roman invasion and genocide in Judea

      "Israel is supposed to be more than simply a Nation with self-interest."

      That can be a matter of debate, but the bottom line is if a nation is not actually keeping itself alive, it can't do anything else.

      As far as Israel goes, it's primarily a homeland for the Jewish people. It has no actual stake in a conflict between two antisemitic countries with a lot of Jewish blood on their hands. Despite that Israel has provided a great deal of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and bent over backward to support it politically as much as possible.

      Predictably that isn't good enough and somehow this war has become Israel's fault.

      This is exactly why Israel should have stayed out of it because you can't please antisemites and those Jews who enable them.

    2. Anonymous3/1/23


  5. Ailsalouise22/3/22

    Very interesting to get a reply that is not full of praise and wonder for Mr G.
    And I think Mr GS reply is a good and even tempered one. So appreciate both the objections and the counters.

    Our dissenting friend brings to mind the difference( as s/he sees it) between " Judaic" values and " religious, national" ones.
    I'm not Jewish, but have seen the Holocaust weaponised by antisemites, so am wary of the rush to Nazism and Holocaust binaries. Especially when used by those who don't recognise the Biblical claim of Israel to its own " safe space" as Balfour etc envisaged.
    Israel is God's creation for now until He intervenes again. The Jews are God's chosen people through who the rest of us find His will, and our salvation( as judged by Moses or Jesus, according to John's Gospel). My reading of that is that it will be related to your faithfulness to Him, via adherence to the Law or your following of The Lord. No evidence for that, which I can only hope is faith and grace.
    Israel has made a botch of Covid, has a bad government and has long deviated from God's will in cosying up to Big Tech to bring in Soros-lite evils.But God, not Corbyn, Omar or Schwab will judge and redirect.
    Maybe dissent regarding the role of Israel and its historical destiny is well overdue. From Entebbe to Klinghoffer within a decade might be the era where the nation went wrong, I don't know.
    But this I know. I equated the wearing of yellow stars with the need to get a jab, and got a hard time in New Zealand from the Jewish community there. I had appropriated an iconic symbol of suffering , comparing it to a health necessity to keep us all safe. Depressing that the PRONCIPLE wasn't seen, just the physical manifestation.

    Sorry to go on, grateful to our dissenting friend in that all I've written wouldn't have been brought to the fore, if the challenge of the comment hadn't been posted.
    That said, am with Daniel here. But glad our friend spoke out.

  6. Anonymous27/3/22

    In the UN, Ukraine is no worse than the rest of Europe - and better than Russia. (Per stats from the UN Watch website.) Also, when we were under Hamas attack, the Ukrainian statements and actions were on our side (even what you quoted here), while Russia explicitly condemned our killing of civilians in Gaza (ironic, eh?).

    The history of Ukraine and antisemitism is no worse or better than 95% of other Europeans (or Muslims for that matter). And better than many for much of its history. It is also immediately irrelevant.

    The Iran-Ukraine connections you mentioned - now THAT's important.

    But the upshot of all this is far from obvious, as you and your commenters both note.

    Yasher koach.


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