With an acting government in power in Ukraine, Channel 4 News last night reported from Kiev on some of the latest developments. This included an interview with Right Sector leader Dmyiro Yarosh.
Right Sector is an armed fascist – some say neo-Nazi – gang that has been at the forefront of the street fighting during the recent uprising in Ukraine.
Matt Frei's line of questioning was pretty weak, but even he could not avoid the obvious: what do you say to those, like the Russian government, who accuse you of being neo-Nazis and anti-Semites?
Yarosh replied: "No, absolutely not. In the last days, I have met the Israeli ambassador and we started a friendly relationship."
Yarosh reportedly now sits on the current government's security council as Deputy Secretary of National Security. His allies in Svoboda, a fascist political party, now control the defence ministry, and several other government seats – all the way up to deputy prime minister.
With such a massive share of power in the emerging "new" Ukraine, it is no surprise, therefore, that the Israelis should want to meet with an odious fascist like Yarosh.
There was also one report that an Israeli army veteran (a Ukrainian Jew who lived there for a few years) was leading one of the street gangs that overthrew the Ukrainian president. Although he defended them, this man claimed not to be part of Svoboda, but he admitted, "I take orders from their team". One such Ukrainian veteran of the Israeli army admitted on TV last year (as reported by Palestinian writer and activist Abir Kopty, using a translation I have verified independently with a Russian speaker – Ukrainian and Russian are partly mutually intelligible) admitted to shooting Palestinian children, claiming that their mothers send them to be killed and for Arabs "it's normal" to die like that. This racist then claimed, as a Ukrainian citizen, to still be active in the Israeli special forces.
Make no mistake: despite Yarosh's half-hearted denials to Channel 4 News, both Right Sector and Svoboda are virulently racist, fascist movements, with a long history of anti-Semitism, stretching back to Nazi-era collaborators.
The Israeli ambassador's apparent eagerness to meet with the Right Sector fascist gang, and with the leader of Svoboda has a precedent too.
As I've covered before, the current wave of European fascist movements has broken away from the historical neo-Nazi position on Israel, and has awoken to the commonalities between their odious ideology and Zionism, Israel's founding ideology.
Neo-Nazis and other fascists tend to hate and scape-goat Jews and want them out of "their" countries (they also tend to want to get rid of Muslims, black people, queers and leftists). Zionism also want the Jews to leave their native countries: to become settlers in occupied Palestine. The apartheid state needs all the manpower it can get.
The English Defence League is notorious for waving Israeli flags on its demonstrations. British National Party leader Nick Griffin flirted with Zionism for a while, proclaiming during his infamous 2009 BBC Question Time appearance that the BNP was "the only political party which, in the clashes between Israel and Gaza, stood full square behind Israel's right to deal with Hamas terrorists."
There is some nuance here, however. The powerful Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is no friend of Israel, and the Hungarian fascists of Jobbik seem to use some anti-Israel rhetoric as a pretty thin veneer to mask their anti-Semitism. Nick Griffin, as part of his rivalry with the EDL, more recently seems to be recanting his Zionism, and appealing to the more marginal white supremacist fringe.
But a certain pattern is clear: from France's National Front, to the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, and now to Ukraine's neo-Nazis, a sort of marriage of convenience between European fascists and Zionists is in the air. And its odour is extremely smelly.
An associate editor with The Electronic Intifada, Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.