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Why did Moscow shut down the Jewish Agency office?

August 9, 2022 at 9:09 am

This picture taken on December 20, 2021 shows a view of an Israeli flag flying near the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene atop the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Russian Ministry of Justice applied to a court recently to shut down the Moscow office of the Jewish Agency for Immigration at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned that doing so would be a dangerous measure that would affect relations between the two countries. The agency was established in 1929 and began its activities in Russia in 1989 helping Jews to migrate to occupied Palestine. On 15 July, the ministry filed a complaint against the agency before a court in Moscow.

The reason for Russia shutting down the Jewish Agency’s branch in Moscow may be the fact that when he was foreign minister Lapid condemned the Russian war in Ukraine and Israel sided with the US; he also accused Russia of committing war crimes. Russia then discovered that several hundred volunteers holding Israeli citizenship were fighting for Ukraine against Russian troops.

Commenting on the closure of the agency’s office in Moscow, Lapid said: “The Jewish community in Russia is deeply connected with Israel. Its importance arises in every diplomatic discussion with the Russian leadership.” It is important from Israel’s point of view to keep the flow of Russian Jews going to the occupation state, which needs more Jews to migrate to benefit Israel in terms of the demographic conflict with the Palestinian people on one hand, while also benefiting from their scientific and academic expertise on the other.

The former Soviet Union was one of the first countries to recognise the Israeli occupation state and establish diplomatic relations with it in May 1948. Relations between Moscow and Israel were severed in 1953, 1956 and again in June 1967 following Israel’s refusal to agree to a ceasefire in the Six Day War with its Arab neighbours. Contact at the consular level resumed in 1987, but 1991 witnessed the restoration of diplomatic relations between Israel and the former Soviet Union. With the dissolution of the USSR the Russian Federation maintained such relations with the occupation state, and the doors for migration to occupied Palestine were opened wide for Russian Jews.

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Illegal Jewish settlers in occupied Palestine come from all over the world, sponsored by the Zionist project and Western countries that support it. Such migration is essential for the renewal of the human energy necessary for Israel to continue to function in its role serving the interests of the Western powers that established it. It remains a racist, apartheid state at the expense of the Palestinian people, whose daily suffering has been ongoing for 74 years.

Strategists consider that the reservoir of Jewish migrants existed until the beginning of the 1990s in the countries of the former Soviet Union, in particular, the Russian Federation. The collective migration of Jews from the USSR began in the late 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev’s government opened the borders that were on the verge of collapse and allowed Jews to leave for occupied Palestine. After 1989, about 1.6 million Soviet Jews were available to migrate, along with their non-Jewish wives, husbands and relatives, as permitted under the racist Israeli Law of Return.

Just under one million opted to go to occupied Palestine, while 325,000 preferred to migrate to the US, and 219,000 went to Germany. However, many of the Soviet Jews who went to the US soon decided to migrate to the occupation state.

It is worth noting that from the very beginning the Zionist movement used deception, incentives and pressure to prompt Jews to go to occupied Palestine. It promoted the lie of eternal anti-Semitism and fought against efforts for Jews to integrate into the societies in which they were living. Civil and political movements involved in oppressing Jews actually served the interests of the Zionists, including openly anti-Semites on the far right of the political spectrum. Jewish migration is thus a fundamental requirement for Israel to exist as an apartheid colonial state.

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The mass migration of Soviet Jews that occupied Palestine witnessed in 1989-90 was an important stage in the development of the Israeli occupation state. This migration was not unique, though. The nascent occupation state witnessed mass immigration in the late 1940s and early 1950s due to the effectiveness of Zionist propaganda. The mass migration from the former Soviet Union came after four decades to reinforce the human resources of a larger Israel, which Zionists hope will increase in area even more.

Israel has benefited enormously from Soviet-Russian Jewish immigrants, among whom there have been thousands of academics, scientists, doctors, atomic scientists and engineers, all of whom have contributed towards the occupation state’s economic performance and high level of human development. Israel is among the advanced states in the human development reports issued by the UNDP in recent decades.

All of Israel is “occupied Palestinian territory”, not just the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and today more than a million Russian Jewish settlers live there. Russia is still a reservoir of potential settlers, which is why the decision to close the Jewish Agency office in Moscow has upset Israel’s leaders so much.

Israeli efforts to maintain good relations with Moscow may lead to the re-opening of the office in the near future, and it will continue to facilitate the migration of Russian Jews to occupied Palestine. Therein lies the most important Israel-US purpose for maintaining relations with Russia, despite the contradictions such links contain; and this explains why diplomatic links have been maintained between Moscow and Tel Aviv even though Israel backed the US over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.