Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced that he will speak with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, today. In reference to the Russia-Ukraine issue, Cohen said: “One thing for certain is that we will talk less about it in public.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the most prominent supporters of Israel in Congress, responded to Cohen’s words in a tweet early today, “the idea that Israel should speak less about Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine is a bit unnerving.”
“I hope Mr Cohen understands that when he speaks to Russia’s Lavrov, he’s speaking to a representative of a war criminal regime that commits war crimes on an industrial scale every day.”
To stay quiet about Russia’s criminal behavior will not age well.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 2, 2023
Former MK and senior member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, and political-security analyst, Ofer Shelah, wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that Cohen’s announcement that he would speak with Lavrov, something his predecessor, Yair Lapid, refrained from since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, is an indication of a new Israeli policy. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implements such a policy, he “may put Israel on a collision course with the American administration.”
According to the Ynet website, Graham’s statements are a blow to Cohen, adding: “If Israel changes its policy and becomes inclined in favour of Russia, this matter may lead to a clash [with the US].”