US is ‘Pushing Situation to the brink of War,’ says N. Korea’s UN Ambassador

The video above shows remarks made at the UN on Monday by North Korean Ambassador Kim in Ryong. The US, he says, has created a “dangerous situation” on the Korean peninsula, a situation in which “nuclear war may break out at any moment.”

You can also go here to see a video of Kim speaking in the same UN venue back on March 13. The US and South Korea at the time were conducting “Operation Key Resolve,” an annual joint military exercise on the Korean peninsula, this year’s exercise involving approximately 12,800 US soldiers along with 10,000 South Korean troops, the largest in recent memory. Kim accused the US of planning a “preemptive nuclear strike” against his country, and said it is the “defensive right” of the DPRK (North Korea) to maintain a “high alert” and to conduct nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

He also alleged that missile tests were being conducted on the Korean peninsula not only by his own country but by none other than the US and South Korea, this as part of the aforementioned training exercises–and indeed, if you go here, you can access a report that mentions a THAAD anti-missile battery drill as being part of the operation. The report also discusses something called a “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” battle plan, described as a “key element” in the South’s “deterrence strategy.” The plan would consist of “surgical strikes” against political leaders in the North that would be carried out as part of a “kill chain.”

Is it any wonder, then, that the North might be a little concerned? Here is a video of a DPRK missile test carried out in August of last year:

A Russian expert says that while the North has some impressive missile capabilities, they are still far away from developing an ICBM.

Meanwhile, US officials continue their belligerent rhetoric. Displaying the typical arrogance the world often hears from the “indispensable nation,” Vice President Pence said the US is running out of “strategic patience,” while Trump insisted the North has “gotta behave.”

Yesterday the Unz Review published an article by Israel Shamir that includes a commentary on the situation in the Korean peninsula. Here is an excerpt. The link at the bottom will take you to the full piece.

North Koreans, whom I visited last year, are not a soft target like Syria or Iraq. This is the hardest target on the planet. They are used to confrontation with the US. They were born into this confrontation; they grew at the Korean War of 1950s when their country had been devastated by American bombs. Their fathers lived through the Japanese colonisation, and they are determined – never again. They have little love for Americans and for Japanese, and they would like to mete their vengeance on them and on their South Korean stooges. The Japanese and the American soldiers and sailors’ mothers should pray to their gods to restore President Trump to his senses.

If Trump strikes Korea, the Koreans are likely to strike back at the US fleet, the US bases in South Korea and in Okinawa. Probably they will use their nuclear weapons. This is exactly the occasion they prepared their A- and H-bombs for. This is exactly the reason they refused the plans of denuclearisation, and they were right.

A problem with American planning is its repetiousness. They always do the same routine they borrowed from a spaghetti Western. You know, the vigilante calls upon his adversary: release your hostage and drop your gun or I’ll shoot! When the fool drops the gun, the vigilante smiles madly and shoots anyway. It is not a chivalrous approach, but then, American foreign policy is charted by businessmen, not by knights.

In September 2013 Obama threatened Bashar Assad into dropping his gun. Assad gave up his arsenal of chemical weapons, the only thing he could employ against nuclear-armed Israel next door. The Russians (willingly or not) supported this Israeli-American subterfuge. After Assad had voluntarily disarmed, Israel was safe; Assad couldn’t do anything to harm Israel or Americans. Then they accused him of using the chemical weapons he gave up, and attacked him.

The same routine happened in Libya. They threatened Muammar Gadhafi and he gave up his weaponry. He also opened his country for the TNC to buy and operate Libyan oil and gas. They privatised and bought everything they could, and at the end they attacked Libya anyway and killed Gadhafi.

You remember that Saddam Hussein agreed to all American demands, that he opened every door in his country for their inspection, and when they learned he had no WMD, they accused him of possessing WMD, attacked, destroyed his country for good and hanged him. You can’t even call the American foreign policy makers “treacherous”, like you can’t call a cyclone “strong wind”.

The North Koreans had learned this lesson by heart. They are not going to drop their guns, even if the Russians and the Chinese were to beg them on their knees to do it for their sake please. Once, Russia and China were reliable, but it was in the days of Stalin and Mao, they think. Koreans know that nowadays a country has to rely on its own nuclear forces and to be ready to deliver the payload wherever it hurts.

For Iraq and Syria, a nearby spot of enemy’s vulnerability (“the hostage”) was the Jewish state, but they allowed themselves to be convinced to surrender their weapons. For North Korea, the adversary’s vulnerable spots are the US bases, and Japan, an old enemy and the US ally.

Donald Trump had sent a formidable force to the Korean shores. There are tens of thousands of sailors and soldiers, there are ships, nuke-bearing submarines and air force. Just now the Americans exploded their Mother-Of-All-Bombs in Afghanistan, this poor land they ruined – first, by bringing there Osama bin Laden, then by conquering it, and after all, by turning it into biggest producer of drugs in the world, this ultimate source of CIA’s independent wealth. No doubt, the US can destroy Korea – second time within our lifespan. But they can’t scare the North Koreans into submission. The Koreans can’t be scared.

North Korea has no billionaires ready to serve as an American Fifth Column. They have no ethnic or gender minorities, no culture of critique. Stubborn folk, they will not surrender.

Trump will have to bomb them; kill a million; and perhaps a million Japanese and Americans will be killed by the Korean payback. Trump might have his Pacific Fleet sunk just at the time when the US might need it for future confrontation with China. The Koreans can’t harm the continental US in any case, but Trump’s attack and Korean response may undermine the US naval strength, and then the US will be overrun by the same Mexicans Trump hated so much. Ironic justice, of sorts. Nobody can cause so much damage to the Republic as the President, after all. Is it possible? Yes. Not a sure thing, but a possible one.

Continued here

Shamir refers to the piece, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as “a light-headed discussion of grave affairs.”

The mainstream media can of course always be counted upon to pound the war drums. The New York Times is telling readers the DPRK’s missiles “highlight a growing ambition to put the United States within reach,” and is also claiming to see “hidden messages” in a recent military parade in Pyongyang–while an analyst for NPR, perhaps echoing Trump, is discussing ways of making North Korea “behave.”

What we are seeing, of course, is yet another case of the US waging a regime-change war against a less-powerful country with a government that has charted an independent course–something the US does not tolerate. The difference here is that North Korea is armed with a few nuclear weapons with which to fight back. And they may well use them.


Trump’s Futile Efforts to Appease the Jews

Posted on February 8, 2017

 photo jewsagainsttrump_zps5p6q3gom.jpg

‘Israel accepts Jews only; and American Jews do not object to it; they do not compare Israeli leaders with Hitler or Trump…’

[ Ed. note – Israel Shamir is a noted author and commentator on Middle East issues. His books include Galilee Flowers, and Cabbala of Power. He is also a former Israeli and a Jewish convert to Christianity. In the article below he argues that the attacks on Trump we are seeing today, and particularly the strident protests over the president’s immigration ban from seven Muslim countries, are in reality a continuation of the war against Christianity, though under a different guise.

“The war on Christ and the Church is the most important element of Judaism,” he says. “Wherever Jews succeed, the Church suffers, and vice versa.”

In other words, the deep divisions we are witnessing now in American society are symptomatic of far more than simply political differences over how the country should be run. It is something much more primal and deep–and I’m not sure Trump fully understands this, if at all.

For these reasons, Shamir says, Trump’s efforts to win favor with Jews (by moving the US embassy, appointing hardcore Zionists to top positions in his administration, etc.) are likely to prove futile. He also notes something I noted in a post I put up a week ago–namely that the Jewish fundamentalists who hold power in Israel have different priorities from American Jews, and that appeasing one group does not necessarily gain Trump any ground with the other–and this also is not something the new occupant of the White House appears to comprehend fully.

Trump’s best hope of succeeding in his new job is to try and fathom the root source of the hostility now being directed against him. There are Bible verses that provide clues were he to take the time to read them–such as this one from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:20):  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” As I have said elsewhere, “Christian anti-Semitism” was not the cause of the split between Christianity and Judaism. The antipathy to Jesus’ teachings was present right from the start. ]


By Israel Shamir

President Trump had paid a hefty advance to the Jews. He did (almost) all they wanted for their Jewish state: he promised to move the US embassy to the occupied Jerusalem thus legalising their annexation of the holy city; he condoned their illegal settlements, he gave them starred positions in his administration; he told the Palestinians to drop their case in the ICC or else, he even threatened Iran with war. All that in vain. Jewish organisations and Jewish media attack Trump without slightest hesitation and consideration. His first step in curbing the soft invasion wave had been met with uniform Jewish vehemence.

He was called a new Hitler and accused of hatred of Muslims: what else could cause the President to arrest, even for a few months, the brave new migration wave from seven Middle Eastern states? Today he singles out Muslims, tomorrow he will single out Jews, said Jewish newspapers. Migration is the lifeblood of America, and the Muslim refugees are welcome to bring more diversity to the US.

Massive demonstrations, generously paid for by this notable Jewish philanthropist Mr George Soros, shook the States, while judges promptly banned the banning order. They insisted the orders are anti-Muslim, and therefore they are anti-constitutional. Somehow the constitution, they said, promises full equality of immigrants and does not allow to discriminate between a Muslim and a Christian.

This sounds an unlikely interpretation of the US Constitution. The US, and every other state, normally discriminates, or using a less loaded word, selects its potential citizens. The choice of seven states hasn’t been made by Donald Trump but by his saintly predecessor: President Barack Obama, this great friend of Muslims, made the choice personally some years earlier. So Trump had made a most moderate and modest step in the direction of blocking immigration by picking states already selected by the Democratic President.

One could reasonably claim that people of the seven states have a very good reason to hate America, and the reasons were supplied by previous US Presidents.

Libya, the most prosperous North African state until recently, had been ruined by President Obama: NATO invasion had brought Libya down; instead of stopping migration wave Libya had been turned into a jumping board for the Africans on their way North.

Syria is another Obama’s victim: by his insistence that ‘Assad must go’, by massive transfer of weaponry, money and equipment (remember white Toyota pickups?) to the Islamic extremists, he ruined this country.

Iraq has been ruined by President Bush Jr: he invaded the most advanced Sunni state, broke it to pieces and gave the centre of the country to the Isis.

Somalia has been ruined by President Bush Sr: he invaded this unfortunate country in the early nineties, when the USSR collapse allowed him to do so under the UN flag. Since then Somalia has become the supplier of choice of migrants and refugees for Sweden (there they formed the biggest community in Malmo and elsewhere), the US is also keen on getting them.

Yemen has been destroyed by Obama with Mme Clinton playing an important role: she facilitated delivery of weapons to Saudi Arabia in real time as they bombed Yemenis.

Sudan was bombed by President Clinton; afterwards this country had been dismembered and separate South Sudan had been created. Both halves became dysfunctional.

Iran is the odd one in the Magnificent Seven. It has not been invaded, has not been bombed, just threatened with invasion and bombardment for many years since President Carter. This country has no terrorists, it did not fail, its citizens are not running seeking for asylum. It was placed on the list by President Obama, who planned to bomb it, but never got to do it.

While Bush, Clinton and Obama bombed and invaded these countries, the Democratic humanitarians including their Jewish leaders just applauded and asked for more bombs. But they became appalled when Trump promised: no more regime change, end of “invade the world/invite the world” mode. Wikileaks put it well: bomb the Muslims, and you are fine; ban the Muslims, and you are the enemy.

Apparently, the people who instigated the Middle Eastern wars wanted to create a wave of refugees into Europe and North America in order to bring more colour and diversity to these poor monochrome lands. Welfare state, national cohesion, local labour and traditions will disappear, and these countries will undergo a process of homogenisation. Never again the natives will be able to single out Jews, for there will be no natives, just so many persons from all over the world, celebrating Kumbaya.

The Jews will be able to get and keep their privileged positions in Europe as they do in the US. They won’t be alone: by their success, they will establish a pattern to copycat for whoever wants to succeed in the new world, and masses of imitation-Jews will support the policies of real Jews.

Still, Jewish insistence on the Syrian refugees’ acceptance and on Muslim immigration in general is a strange and baffling phenomenon. Hypocrisy is too mild a word to describe that. We may exclude compassion as a cause for it. There are many thousands of natives of Haifa in Israel who suffer in Syria and dream to come back to their towns and villages, but the state of Israel does not allow these Syrian refugees to return for one crime: they aren’t Jews.

Israel accepts Jews only; and American Jews do not object to it; they do not compare Israeli leaders with Hitler or Trump. Israel had build a wall on its border with Sinai, and this wall stopped the black wave of African migrants. American Jews did not shout “No wall, no ban” in front of Israeli Embassy. Mystery, eh?

Kevin MacDonald wrote a thoughtful piece trying to unravel the mystery, Why Do Jewish Organizations Want Anti-Israel Refugees? and published it on January 17, a few days before Trump’s inauguration and full three weeks before the subject moved to the front burner. KMD correctly predicted that Donald Trump won’t appeal for “national unity” in his Inaugural Address, though this was the guess of mass media. Moreover, KMD correctly predicted that “Trump will announce an immediate pause in “refugee” admissions, currently surging, to be followed by a zero quota for the next fiscal year. There would be hysteria, in which the major Jewish organizations would, almost certainly, join. My (KMD’s) question: why would they do that?”

KMD provides a few possible answers, but none answers his own question. The world is full of troubles, and the US can get as many refugees as they wish from the Ukraine or Brazil, from China and Central Africa, without an anti-Israeli angle.

I’d suggest a simple explanation. Jews want to import Muslims to fight Christ and the Church.

Muslims of the Middle East are not, or weren’t, anti-Christian; they co-existed for millennia with their Christian neighbours. In Palestine, Christians and Muslims lived together and suffered together under the Jewish yoke.

But recently a new wind has blown in the Muslim faith, the wind of a very strong rejection of whatever is not strict Sunni Islam of the ISIS brand. Their first enemy is Shia Islam, but Christians follow Shias as a second-best object of persecution…

Continued here

Can Jews ever leave their Cult?

By Gilad Atzmon

Baruch Spinoza left the Jews. Heinrich Heine became a Christian. A few others, such as Israel Shamir and myself, a decade ago, simply drifted away.

Recently, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand announced that he too was no longer a Jew. I read his manuscript in Hebrew with great interest but soon realized that while he indeed stopped identifying as a Jew, he still hadn’t removed himself from kosher binaries.

“I don’t write for anti-Semites, I regard them as totally ignorant or people who suffer from an incurable disease,” (How I Ceased To Be A Jew  p’ 21). Lines like these, echoing as they do the language of the ADL, made me feel very uncomfortable and, when it came to the Holocaust, Sand, who is usually so astute and profound, somehow managed to lose it. The Nazis are  “beasts”, and their rise to power metaphorically he described as a “beast awakening from its lair.”  Despite my respect for Sand, I would expect a leading, inspirational  historian and a former-Jew to have moved beyond such banal  Hasbara-recycled clichés.

This week, in the Jewish progressive magazine Mondoweiss, Avigail Abarbanel, an ex-Israeli and anti- Zionist informed us that she too has now ‘left the cult,’. I agreed with most of Abarbanel’s arguments against Israel and Zionism but I was nonetheless alarmed at the intellectual dishonesty at the core of her argument.

“Rarely can people inside a cult see where they are. If they could, the cult wouldn’t be what it is” Abarbanel points out. “They think that they are members of a special group that has a special destiny, and is always under threat.

Thus does Abarbanel describe the Israelis, yet she fails to mention that this is also an accurate description of the Jewish left in general and the Mondoweiss/JVP cults in particular, to which she herself belongs. As we now know, just as Israel claims for itself a special place amongst the states of the world, so do the anti-Zionist Jews who, when it comes to Anti Israeli politics, operate within Jewish, racially exclusive political cells (JVP, IJAN etc.). So, if Abarbanel thinks that Israelis are at fault for being a ‘special group’ perhaps she should inform us what is the criterion that legitimates JVP and Mondoweiss being a special group within the solidarity movement?

Abarbanel continues: “cult members are taught from birth that the world outside is dangerous, that they have to huddle together for safety.” This is indeed a good description of Israeli collective psychosis, but it is also a prefect portrayal of Mondoweiss’ operational mode and it  puts Mondoweiss’ campaign against Alison Weir and Greta Berlin in perfect context. It also explains why Mondoweiss banned Jeffrey Blankfort and why the Jewish outlet changed its comment policy just to make sure that it can block any attempt to criticise the Jewish state in the light of Jewish culture and my own study of Jewish tribalism. Just like Israel, Mondoweiss is terrified of the ‘dangerous worl d out there’. As far as Abarbanel’s definition of cult is concerned, Mondoweiss, JVP and Israel are actually identical.

Abarbanel is obsessed with the holocaust and this is hardly surprising. The Holocaust is currently the most popular Jewish religion.  The Israeli prominent philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz observed in the 1970s that Jews believe in many different things but all Jews believe in the Holocaust.

“Have I forgotten the holocaust? No. Of course not,” Abarbanel writes. “Persecution of Jewish people throughout history was very real indeed.”

And if you expect Abarbanel, a psychotherapist by profession, to question why is it that Jews have been ‘hated throughout history,’ you’re probably wasting your time. In Abarbanel’s universe, the persecution of the Jews is a metaphysical constant. It is beyond questioning.

In her view, Jews are victims and the Goyim are oppressors.

“Jews were a hated and despised group among many cultures in Europe, and Jews have always had an uneasy co-existence with non-Jews. Any marginalised or persecuted group has an uneasy relationship with the dominant culture. Once you have been discriminated against it’s hard to trust.”

So again, despite ‘leaving the cult,’ Abarbanel’s take on the holocaust is well within that same Hasbara cult she claims to have left.

Actually, one would expect a psychotherapist to advise the Jews to look in the mirror and actually identify what is it about them that invokes so much animosity in so many different times and in so many different places. This is something Bernard Lazare, an early Zionist did just over a century ago when he identified what it was in the Jews that has made Jewish history into such a disastrous continuum. Sadly, Abarbanel falls far short of this task. Unable or unwilling to examine what is it in the Jew or in Jewishness that invokes animosity, for her, this is one step too far because to look into that question may suggest that Israel is not the problem, it is but a symptom of the problem.

In Abarbanel’s universe, the Jews are always the victims and all they have to do is to separate their victimhood from their identity. This is strange since if victimhood is embedded in Jewish existence, then surely it must also be inherent in Jewish identity. My guess is that the day Jews manage to distinguish between their victimhood and their identity will be the day they simply stop being Jews.


Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

July 31, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: A very interesting piece of writing by Eric Walberg. Along the years I have learned a lot from Walberg, one of the very few creative thinkers left within the Left.


Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

By Eric Walberg

For years now, I’ve known there was something wrong when my well-meaning anti-Zionist Jewish friends found it necessary to join Jewish anti-Zionist groups opposing Israel. In the US, Jewish Voice for Peace, in Canada, Not in Our Name; in Britain, Jews Against Zionism — every country has its group, usually more than one. “I am a Jewish witness against Israel,” I would be told. Sounds good, even brave. Sand’s latest deconstruction of Jewishness and Israel, How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014), makes it clear why my suspicions were well founded.

Barely 100 pages, it is a page-turner, a precis of his earlier more scholarly works, arguing that the romantic, heroic age of Jewish nationalism, as embodied in the creation of a Jewish state, is coming to an end. Israel will not disappear, but it is an anachronism, an embarrassment in the postmodern age. A reminder of the horrors of Nazism, but not as the Zionist crafters of the “holocaust industry”, or “holocaust religion”, would have it. The Zionist project is exposed by Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and many more Jewish critics as reenacting the same policies of yesteryear. A flawed answer that is doomed, “an insidious form of racism“.

For the Israeli Sand, the Jewish “national” identity is a fraud (an Israeli identity is fine); the only viable Jewish identity is a religious one, and as a nonbeliever, he logically concludes,  “Cogito, ergo non sum.”

Gilad Atzmon takes Sand’s logic further. He tore up his Israeli passport, becoming an ex-Israeli as well as an ex-Jew. 

What’s so wrong with a secular, ethnic Jewish identity? Well, it can be based on only one of two things: persecution (being “forced” into being a Jew whether one likes it or not, as in the Nazi’s racial laws) or being “born” into the Jewish people. The former is no longer an issue and the latter is full of holes, and based on a dangerous myth.

When was the Jewish People invented?

Sand’s answer is simple:

“At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people ‘retrospectively’, out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people.”

For Jews, this required a homeland, and the westernized Jewish elite were able to provide this. As the West suffered one mortal blow after another (WWI&II), Zionism took on a new meaning. Voila! Israel.

But the exile legend is a myth. Sand is a historian and couldn’t find any texts supporting it. The Romans did not exile peoples.

“Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.”

Jews continued to live in the Holy Land through thick and thin, freer under Muslim rule than Christian, but even the latter never “ethnically cleansed” them. Most converted to Christianity or Islam. Voila! The (Christian, Muslim) Palestinians. However, a tiny core stuck stubbornly to the original monotheism, nurtured by the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC (the only bona fide exile–from which they returned, the earlier Egyptian exile legend being crafted much later, when the Torah was written down and collected in the 3rd century BC).

Jews are not a race but rather a collective of many ethnic groups who were hijacked by a late 19th century ‘national’ movement. There is no racial or ethnic basis for being Jewish any more than there is for being Christian or Muslim. The great majority of those who today consider themselves Jewish are descended from converts in Central Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, not from ancient Hebrews expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans. They are not ethnic “Semites”, of near eastern origin, or ethnic anything else.

Atzmon is a noted jazz musician, and deconstructs a popular 1970s Israeli pop song by Shlomo Artzi: All of a sudden a man wakes up in the morning. He feels he is people and to

Scene from Shoval’s ‘Youth’ (2016)

everyone he comes across he says shalom.Artzi’s youth suggests Jews suddenly became “people” thanks to the state of Israel, conflating being Jewish with being Israeli, suggesting only Israelis can really feel free as Jews. What Artzi ignores is that feeling proud to be an Israeli is only for those Israelis who have “Jew” stamped in their passport, and, among them, only those who are blind to the bloody colonial basis for this privilege. Hardly a recipe for a healthy feeling.

Can a liar tell the truth?

Israel is a “democratic and Jewish state” according to Israeli law. The “Jewish” nature was first defined in the Declaration of Independence of 1948. The “democratic” character was added by the Knesset in 1985. This is a contradiction in terms, as Jewish by definition determines the state according to race, making it undemocratic for those in the state not Jewish. In cartesian lingo, both ‘A’ and ‘not A’ are true.

This flawed logic now lies at the heart of what it means to call oneself a secular Jew, either Israeli or ‘diaspora’. Sand joins other ex-Jews, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, and Will Self, who have renounced Jewishness, either as secularists, or as converts to Christianity, shedding a contradictory, now empty, signifier.  Given what Israel has become, “democratic” and “Jewish” are no longer compatible. Sand rejects the faux Jewish nationalism served up by Zionism, which excludes non-Jews from the narrative, and is left with nothing except himself, his books, his sense of right and wrong. A lonely world.

Atzmon takes Sand’s attack on identity politics a step further, arguing in The Wandering Who that secular Jewish anti-Zionism feeds into the Zionist narrative, the do-gooder counterpoint to the more sinister role of the diaspora, taking Sand’s concerns to an even more uncomfortable conclusion: The Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support. The Neocons transform the American army into an Israeli mission force. Anti-Zionists of Jewish descent (and this may even include proud self-haters such as myself) are there to portray an image of ideological plurality and ethical concern.*

Sand dismisses both religion and nationalism as the basis for his identity. Atzmon argues both are legitimate, though they both are perverted in the case of the Israeli state. Nationalism is an authentic “bond with one’s soil, heritage, culture, language”, a cathartic experience, not at all “empty” as a signifier.  Though nationalism may well be an invention, it is still “an intrinsically authentic fulfilling experience”. It can be misused, is often suicidal, but nonetheless, “it sometimes manages to integrate man, soil and sacrifice into a state of spiritual unification.”

What is especially moving about ex-Jews like Sand, and ex-Israel ex-Jews like Atzmon, is that they are trapped by their own Israeli heritage, whether or not they emigrate. Reading Sand’s book in Hebrew, writes Atzmon,

“is for me, an ex-Jew and ex-Israeli, a truly authentic experience that brings me closer to my roots, my forgotten homeland and its fading landscape, my mother tongue or shall I simply say my Being.”

He is confronted not by some “‘identity’ or politics but rather the Israeliness, that concrete nationalist discourse that matured into Hebraic poetry, patriotism, ideology, jargon, a dream and a tragedy to follow.” Israel’s present state has “robbed him of that Israeliness which was once to him a home.”

Hollow identity

Most still yearn to keep a diaspora Jewish identity alive. Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2013) is by a liberal-leaning Jew who feels she must salvage her Jewishness from Israel’s nationalism and occupation policies. “A new Jewish identity might emerge that connects Tel Aviv with New York’s Upper West Side, Berlin, Paris, London and Buenos Aires — and all of them on an equal footing,” writes Carlo Strener in hisreview.

For Sand and Atzmon, there is no “new Jewish identity” possible, because there is no diaspora. French Jews are French. Canadian ones are Canadian. It’s fine to be a believing ‘person of the Book’, and even an Israeli, speaking Israeli (really a new language) and being a citizen of a well-behaved multi-ethnic nation state, based on universal norms, like France or Canada. But everyone eats matzo balls already.

Assimilation is not like extermination, despite Golda Meir’s cries of “Wolf!” Non-religious Jewishness will continue to evaporate, along with Christian and Muslim identities for those who abandon their faith. There is no shame in calling oneself an ex-Christian or ex-Muslim. 

Occam’s Razor: less is more

Anti-Zionists “rightly see [Zionist] policies as threatening the renewal of Judeophobia” that identifies all Jews as a “certain race-people, and confuses them with Zionists.”** Yes, but, as Atzmon argues, this “confusion” is part of the agenda, pushing Jews outside of Israel to support Israel unthinkingly and accept the resultant resentment they experience as “anti-Semitism”.

And even if they protest–as Jews–they inadvertently support the “Zionist world conspiracy”:

If those who call themselves anti-Zionist Jews without having lived in Israel, and without knowing its language or having experienced its culture, claim a particular right, different from that of non-Jews, to make accusations against Israel, how can one criticize overt pro-Zionists for granting themselves the privilege of actively intervening in decisions regarding

Codepink’s Medea Benjamin

the future and fate of Israel?* 

The Jewish signifier undermines the anti-Zionist one. Slots muddy things. Medea Benjamin, a “one percenter, a nice little Jewish girl” founded the now legendary peace group Codepink. QAIA (Queers against Israeli apartheid) folded when its organizers realized by highlighting their ‘gay’ signifier, they were doing more harm than good. The queers don’t have the luxury of renouncing their queerness, but thoughtful Jews like Benjamin similarly downplay their own tribalism, and Sand and Atzmon have renounced it, as the honorable way out of their Catch-22.


* Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?, Zero Books, 2011, p70.
** Shlomo Sand, How I Stopped being a Jew, Verso, 2014, p94–95.

Jews on ‘Jewishness and Zionism’


The Jewish-controlled media rarely mentions the ‘self-hating Jews’ who claim that Jewish religion has nothing to do with Zionism or state of Israel. I can count many of them including Hajo Meyer, Shlomo Sand, Gilad Atzmon, Richard Falk, Israel Shamir, Medea Benjamin, and Paul Eisen. Hajo Meyer addressed Never Again for Anyone conference in Toronto (Canada) on January 31, 2011 (Listen below).

There are many Jewish organizations and on-line news sites which pretends to be anti-Zionism but support the so-called ‘Jewish uniqueness’ such as Jewish Voices for Peace, Jewish Witness for Peace and Friends, Mondoweiss,Jews San Frontiers, etc.

Jewish writer G. Neuburger explains the difference between Judaism and Zionism (here).

On July 30, 2016, Canadian journalist and author Eric Walberg posted an article on his blog, entitled, Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon. In case some reader may not know, Dr. Shlomo Sand is an apologetic Zionist Jew while Gilad Atzmon is a rebellious Jew.

The (Jew) exile legend is a myth. Shlomo Sand is a historian and couldn’t find any texts supporting it. The Romans did not exile peoples. “Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.” Jews continued to live in the Holy Land through thick and thin, freer under Muslim rule than Christian, but even the latter never “ethnically cleansed” them. Most converted to Christianity or Islam. Voila! The (Christian, Muslim) Palestinians. However, a tiny core stuck stubbornly to the original monotheism, nurtured by the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC (the only bona fide exile, the earlier Egyptian exile legend being crafted much later, when the Torah was written down and collected in the 3rd century BC),” says Walberg.

Jews are not a race but rather a collective of many ethnic groups who were hijacked by a late 19th century ‘national’ movement. There is no racial or ethnic basis for being Jewish any more than there is for being Christian or Muslim. The great majority of those who today consider themselves Jewish are descended from converts in Central Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, not from ancient Hebrews expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans. They are not ethnic “Semites”, of near eastern origin, or ethnic anything else,” adds Walberg.

A Syrian Breakthrough


 FEBRUARY 11, 2016

The Russians and their Syrian allies have cut the main supply line of the rebels to the north of Aleppo, the Azaz corridor. In our last report, we wrote about the Azaz corridor, “a narrow strip of land connecting Turkey to the rebel forces in Aleppo. Though it has been narrowed down to four miles in some places, the Syrian [government] Army can’t take it, despite the Russian aerial support. For the success of the whole operation, it is paramount to seize the corridor and cut the supply lines, but there is a heavy political flak and military difficulties. At the last Lavrov-Kerry meeting, the American State Secretary six times implored his Russian counterpart to keep hands off the Azaz corridor. The Americans do not want to see Russian victory; besides, the Turks threaten to invade Syria if the corridor is blocked.”

Now the deed is done, the corridor is blocked. It was not a great battle that we would expect, instead a minor move towards a few Shia villages, but the corridor was so narrow that it was enough. My correspondents in the area tell of rebels running towards the Turkish border. They are followed by many civilians, afraid of the final battle for Aleppo which is probably coming – unless the rebels will vaporise and disappear. If and when Aleppo and the whole Aleppo district will be taken by the Syrian army, we would be able to congratulate Putin and Assad – and Syrian people – with a great victory.

Until now, despite a few months of fighting and bombing, the Russians and the Syrians had few few spectacular achievements to show for their efforts. The warfare has been anything but a blitzkrieg, instead house after a house; small villages changing hands. Now things began to move, with Syrian army coming to the Turkish and Jordanian borders and cutting off the supply routes of the diverse rebel groups. The surrounded Islamists in Aleppo pocket still can fight for a long time, but it seems they have lost much of their fighting spirit.

The Saudis unveiled their plans to send their crack troops to Syria, ostensibly “to fight terrorists”, but as a matter of fact, to prevent their defeat and to safeguard a part of Syrian territory under Salafist control. This could be a dangerous development, and President Assad promised that unbidden guests will go back home in coffins. However, the Saudis have no troops to send: their army is stuck in Yemen and has quite a hard time there fighting the indomitable Ansar Allah. Even there the Saudis have to rely upon Colombian mercenaries. If they will send the remainder of their forces to Syria, their homeland will remain exceedingly vulnerable for any unexpected development, be it an Ansar Allah counter-offensive, Iranian intervention or a large-scale Shi’a rising.

The Russians raise alarms that a Turkish invasion into Syria is imminent. Russian media is foaming at the mouth about the perfidious Turks; a veritable Two Minutes Hate ritual (vide Orwell) on the state-managed TV channels being repeated a few times a day. The idea is to scare Turks stiff so they will not move while the operation in the North lasts. On the other side, the Russian opposition draws frightful scenarios of Janissaries slaughtering the Russian boys on the Syrian terrain. The Turkish media also tries to instil fear in the Russkies by saying what they can do.

If you ever dived among the Red Sea coral, perhaps you encountered a peculiar fish called Abu Nafha in Arabic, a sort of blowfish. It turns into a balloon to scare off its potential enemies. This tactic is not limited to aqueous kingdom. The Brits are the best at it, and they unleashed a veritable panic campaign to undermine the Russian morale.

In a quick succession, they broadcasted a few films on the BBC. They began with Putin as mega-oligarch, the richest man on earth, with forty (or four hundred?) billion dollars in his pocket. This was a favourite topic of Stanislav Belkovsky, a corpulent Russian Jewish opposition writer, who produced a few books about Putin in the best tradition of gutter journalism. He described the Russian president as a super-rich latent homosexual who wants to escape from Kremlin and enjoy peaceful indolent life in the warm seas. Mind you, he wrote that before Putin’s comeback in 2011. If Putin was so keen on retiring, he had a good opportunity to do it, instead of running for a new term of presidency.

Now BBC blew the dust off this book and made a film about corrupt, rich and lazy Putin. The US Treasury acting undersecretary Adam Szubin immediately confirmed: yes, we know for sure that Putin is fabulously rich and exceedingly corrupt. Bill Browder, once Russia’s largest foreign investor, sentenced in absentia to a long jail term in Russia for his tax evasion and other tricks, said to CNN: Putin has US $200 billion. He keeps it on his offshore accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere, revealed Browder. As if it is possible to keep a large fortune hidden from the eyes of intelligence services! If Putin would have money hidden abroad, it would be confiscated or frozen by the US, years ago. You do not have to be a genius to know that: you can’t hide big money. A few million dollars, yes. Not even tens of millions.

Such allegations seem a necessary part of a black PR campaign. Whoever they dislike is always described as the richest man in the world. Even such modest man as the Belarusian president Lukashenko did not escape this fate, let alone Putin. They called Muammar Gaddafy “fabulously rich”, and Saddam Hussein, too, but somehow nothing was found after their death, ever. Once, a ruler could keep riches in his strong room, modern money is just a licence issued by the US, and this licence can be revoked anytime.

Putin’s friends and colleagues grew rich, true. There are many stories in Putin’s Russia that remind of the rise of Halliburton and Vice President Cheney, of Enron and Blair’s deals. Putin encouraged his supporters to build their own wealth in order to counteract the immense strength of the oligarchs. Russia is not cleaner than its Western “partners”. She is not a corruption-ridden mafia state she is depicted by her adversaries. Capitalism is capitalism, and it is ugly enough without exaggerations.

The British masters gave a voice to a Russian defector who said Putin is a homosexual and a paedophile. Who needs proofs for such allegations! Anyway, the Daily Mailillustrated this report with a picture of Putin kissing a small boy amid crowds, as the politicians are wont.

The most scary instalment in the British intimidation campaign was the mockumentary The Third World War: Inside the War Room. It appears like a real news report: Russian residents in Latvia demand autonomy, as they were disenfranchised by the nationalist authorities. The government sends troops against them. Russian humanitarian convoy brings them food and medical first help. NATO decides to send reinforcements. Very soon there are nuclear bomb exchanges, and the world goes down. I must admit this film can frighten anybody, worse than Freddie Kruger did.

It seems that much of this campaign of fear is connected with the ongoing battle for Aleppo. The US and its allies do not intend to enter the mettle, and it is a good news, but they try to scare the Russians so they will let the rebel enclave be. Meanwhile the Turks did not cross the border, though the reports say so, somewhat erroneously. A Turkish Islamic philanthropic body called IHH arranged for refugees a large camp near the border crossing, on the Syrian side. I know the IHH, and I have visited them a few years ago in connection with their humanitarian work in Gaza. This action does not amount to intervention, and hopefully it will not go any further. The Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmed Davutoglu said that the Turks will fight for Aleppo, but probably they will not dare without Western support.

Turkey can open a new supply line to Aleppo, this is just a technical problem. From the west, Aleppo region borders with the former Syrian province of Antakya (Antioch of old), or Liwa Iskenderun, in Arabic. The French colonial masters passed the province to Turkey in 1939. Now it is called Hatay. The rebels recognise Hatay as a part of Turkey, while the Syrian government views it as an occupied territory, like the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Theoretically, the Turks could supply the rebels via Hatay, but there are no good roads, only old country roads unsuitable for large bulk transports. And probably there is not enough time left to build a new road. Still, keep this possibility in your mind.

A new campaign in the Western media speaks of – you guessed! – genocide the Russian bombings amount to. Cruise-missile liberals and their favourite newspaper, the Guardian, already published a few articles in the same weepy tone they used agitating for invasion of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I would like to call for ceasefire, but only after the rebels agree to lay down their arms and participate in elections. Otherwise, a ceasefire will just prolong suffering. As the first attempt to restart negotiations in Geneva ended before it actually began, the sides took a timeout until February 25. If by that time the Russian bombing and the Syrian army offensive will install some good sense into rebels’ heads, they still will be able to find a place in the parliament and in the government. And then a ceasefire will come in anyway.

Israel kept itself a very low profile regarding the Syrian war. They hoped, as the Jewish saying goes, that the work for the righteous Jews will be done by the evil-doers like Daesh. Now this hope is being severely tried by events on the ground. And Israeli politicians began to speak loudly of what a disaster the defeat of Daesh will be for the Jewish state. The first one was Yuval Steinitz who said that loud and clear, he was followed by others. However, this information (Israel supports Daesh) has been hidden from readers of the US – and Russian media. In both great states, people are made to believe that Israel is horrified by Daesh and prays for its annihilation.

The Russian success in Syrian war could not be achieved without President Obama’s cautious neutrality. Perhaps he deserved his Nobel Peace Prize, after all. An American president could turn this excellent Russian adventure into sheer hell, even without going to war. Let us give praise where it is due: Washington quietly allows the Russians to save Syria, despite Israeli wailing and Saudi shrieks.

The defeat of war-mongering Mrs. Clinton in New Hampshire is the sign that the American people want peace, peace in the Middle East and peace with Russia. Now this is within the reach.

Israel Shamir is based in Moscow and can be reached at

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

The Hunt for Red October. Russia-Sweden Relations and a Missing Submarine

Global Research, August 01, 2015


These days, Sweden is all agog. In the midst of the coldest summer in living history that deprived the Swedes of their normal sun-accumulating July routine, the country plunged into an exciting search for a Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago, and (as opposed to the previous rounds of this venerable Swedish maritime saga) this time they actually found the beast.

Now we know for certain the Russians had intruded into Swedish waters! The Swedish admirals and the Guardian journalists probably feel themselves vindicated, as they always said so. Does it matter that the U-boat was sunk one hundred years ago, in 1916? Surely it does not, for the Russians are the same Russians and the sea is the same sea!

I would continue in the same vein and have a lot of fun, but many innocent readers (especially on the internet) are not attuned for irony. If they read Swift’s Modest Proposal, they’d call the police. For the benefit of the reader in whom is no guile (John 1:47), I’ll say it in plain words: the Swedish Navy and the great British newspaper Guardian made fools of themselves again, as they blamed the Russian president Putin for sending a submarine that turned out to be a one hundred year old war relic.

The U-boat called Som (Catfish) had been built in the US in 1901 for the Russian Navy, served in World War I and went down with all hands in 1916. The Swedes admitted that much, but, as in the one-liner about a guest suspected of stealing silver spoons,the spoons were found, but the ill feeling loitered.

The previous round of this pleasant Swedish pastime took place last October 2014 when the search for Russian submarines in the Stockholm archipelago, that is, in the archipelago of thousands of islands in the Baltic Sea, began in earnest. Nessie of the Loch Ness would envy the hunt. In the newspapers, on radio and on television, they spoke only of the mysterious submarine, that allegedly had sent a distress signal to the Russian naval base in Kaliningrad from the Swedish waters. Millions of krona were spent on the futile search. A video of the U-boat rising was released. Eye witnesses reported they saw a man in black emerging from the sea near a tiny island. As the water temperature was about 10°C (50°F) this could not be a Swede, it’s got to be a Russian Spetznaz man, as they are immune to cold…

The old-timers told the press that the sailors of the damaged Russian submarine probably landed on an island in the archipelago and waited there for rescue. “There are many uninhabited cottages, they should be searched”, they proposed to the horror of wealthy Stockholmers, the cottage owners. Dozens of military vessels in cutting-edge-state-of-art Stealth armour ploughed the waters. Depth charges killed a few dolphins and other sea animals. Newspapers warned that of Russian naval commando hunts for Ukrainians in Stockholm pubs.

There were sane voices, too, but they rarely were given a chance to be heard. Wilhelm Agrella, a professor of Intelligence Analysis at Lund University spoke of “budget submarines” invented by the Swedish navy in order to boost its budget.

In the end, all sightings were accounted for. One was a Swedish private submarine belonging to a Lasse Schmidt Westrén, another one was a Dutch one that participated in NATO manoeuvres. The alleged distress signal has been sent by a Swedish transponder, and had nothing to do with Russia or Kaliningrad.

There was no Russian U-boat to hunt. The true goal of the hunters has been Swedish neutrality. Sweden was and remains notionally neutral, while the US wants to see the country integrated into NATO.

The Hunt for Red October in October 2014 was a new round in the Second Cold War, the war against independent Russia. As a Social Democrat government came to power in September 2014, the Swedish Army, Navy and pro-NATO media plotted to prevent a possible rapprochement of Russia and Sweden.

This is not the first plot of this kind. In 1982, the Swedish military conspired with their colleagues in the United States and Britain against its Social Democrat government. Although the Swedish navy knew that NATO submarines operate in the Swedish waters, they played along with the right-wing politicians and talked about the ‘Russian threat’. Only much later the truth was found out – the government commission appointed by the Social Democrats after their return to power showed that there were no Russian U-boats.

This was subsequently proven by a member of the Swedish government commission, a leading Norwegian military expert Ola Tunander in his detailed 400 page long work,The Secret War Against Sweden: US and British Submarine Deception in the 1980s (London: Frank Cass 2004).

In the eighties, Ola Tunander did not doubt the reality of Russian submarines, and had written several textbooks and manuals for Swedish sailors on the subject. Only after the fall of the Soviet Union, he gained access to all files at the request of the Swedish government, and came to the unequivocal conclusion that all the evidence about the Russian submarine incursions was falsified or invented.

Classified documents clearly point to the US and the UK as the culprits, and this was confirmed by the former US Secretary of Defence Weinberger and British commanders in the secret hearing, says Tunander. It turned out that in the seventies, after the Vietnam War, the Americans and their British allies were preoccupied with the pro-Soviet sympathies of the Swedes. The Swedes stubbornly refused to see the enemy in his great eastern neighbour. In 1976, only 6% of Swedes believe in the Russian threat, and another 27% thought the USSR is an unfriendly power.

Even the Afghan war had only marginally changed these figures. And only the submarine panic bore fruit – by the mid-80s, 42% of Swedes believed in the imminent Russian threat and 83% considered the USSR being an enemy. In order to achieve this revolution in the minds, the British and American submarines made hundreds of violations of Swedish waters. They intruded into the inner harbour of Stockholm, raised their periscopes and antennas in the archipelago, posing as “the Red Scare.”

The USSR did not have submarines of the class detected by the Swedish radar (35-40 meters long), but the United States had the submarine NR-1, that was used to penetrate the Soviet waters.

In 1981 there was an amusing accident – an old Soviet submarine lost its bearings and ran aground close to the Swedish coast. This single incident was been blown out of all proportion; rumours of Russian submarines in every bay flooded Sweden.

In October 1982, the Swedish fleet mounted a huge operation to capture or destroy a submarine sighted near the island of Muskö. The operation was attended by hundreds of journalists from all over the world.

Ola Tunander says the bridge of the sighted submarine had a NR-1’s square shape, not the shape of the Soviet submarines. The American submarine had been delivered to Stockholm waters by the American tanker Monongahela, coming on an official visit. They left the submarine, so it went around and scared the Swedes. The command of the Swedish navy had been warned, the navy knew about it, took part in the hunt for the submarine, and concealed the truth from the Social Democrat government.

So the Swedish military conspired with the Americans and British against their own country. The Swedes managed to hit the submarine, and it released a cloud of yellow-green dye – the distress signal of the US submarine fleet. Swedish sailors allowed the submarine to leave.

Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State, thanked the Swedish sailors for allowing the U-boat to leave and keeping mum. The Swedish government did not believe that this was a Russian submarine, but under pressure from the media and the navy, they were forced to lodge a protest to the Soviet Union. The Swedish – Russian relations soured.

In October 2014, the then (1982-1985) Foreign Minister Lennart Budström remembered this plot of the right-wing politicians and the Swedish military. He bitterly recalled in an interview for the newspaper Expressen how in 1982 the Swedish navy hunted an alleged Soviet submarine in Hårsfjärden thirty miles from Stockholm – it was the culmination of the scandal.

The government convened a commission to figure out where the submarine originated – in Russia or NATO. The most active member of the commission was the young right-wing politician Carl Bildt – he practically wrote the commission’s report, saying this was a Soviet submarine. He claimed there was an acoustic signal recording and other evidence. Only in 1988 it emerged that the Swedish army and navy did not intercept any signals from submarines. It was all a lie of Carl Bildt, says Budström.

Bildt (with American support) had spread panic in the press. He claimed the Russian submarines make their way right into the centre of Stockholm, land troops and prepare for the invasion. Russian submarine sailors sneak into Stockholm bars to drink beer and squeeze Swedish blondes. Army and Coast Guard supplied photo of submarine periscopes for the front pages of newspapers.

“You are welcome to sink these subs – calmly said the Secretary General Yuri Andropov in 1984, after listening to the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme’s complaint. – We’d only approve of such a move.”

Only twenty years later, the meaning of Andropov’s words became clear. The submarines in the Swedish waters were not Russian, but English and American. Instead of invasion, they had another plan, namely to sow enmity and distrust of Russia.

Budström retired as he stood for friendship with Russia, and in his stead, the Minister of Foreign Affairs became (and remained until recently) Carl Bildt, a staunch pro-American Atlanticist, a supporter of Swedish accession to NATO, the greatest enemy of the USSR and Russia. It is alleged that Bildt in his youth was associated with a clandestine anti-communist combat organization created by the Americans for the event of the Soviet occupation of Western Europe, known as Stay Behind or Gladio.

Its members founded the secret US Fifth Column in Europe. The State Department dispatches published by the Wikileaks, indicate that the US embassy and the State Department took care of Bildt and helped his career. Bildt was a personal friend of Karl Rove, Bush’s adviser, and actively supported the US intervention in Iraq.

Carl Bildt, the most inveterate enemy of Russia since the days of Karl XII, is a descendant of an aristocratic Scandinavian family (they had been Prime Ministers and Commanders since the 17th century). For a quarter of a century he was the most influential politician in Sweden, in government or in opposition, and he determined its anti-Russian course.

Carl Bildt has been closely associated with the submarine affair from the beginning to the end. In 1982, he denounced the Soviet invaders and earned brownie points. In 1990, Carl Bildt said that the Soviet Union has created a special force to attack Sweden. According to him, up to 22 Russian submarines participated in three annual manoeuvres in Swedish waters.

This fear-mongering has helped – in 1991 Bildt became the Prime Minister. In 1992 Bildt went to Moscow with the alleged old recordings of the submarine. Now we know for certain that these were sounds made by otters, but in Yeltsin’s days the thoroughly defeated Russian government agreed these were Russian submarines.

When the Social Democrats returned to power in 1994, says ex-minister Budström, a new commission was established, and it is completely refuted all allegations of Bildt. The first commission was composed of politicians, and the second – of scientists, and the findings were different. But that was too late. Sweden has been integrated it the EU and began to support American foreign policy.

One of the reasons is the media. The Atlanticist tendency in Sweden has almost complete control over the media. They manufacture a Russian threat a day, to scare the wits out of the Swedes. “Russia is a potential threat,” – says a leading Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (30.05). In the same issue of the newspaper, its Moscow correspondent Anna-Lena Lauren says: “Russia is clearly threatening the Baltic States.”

NATO planes fly close to Russia borders through Swedish airspace, in violation of Swedish sovereignty and neutrality, but Swedish media hardly ever reports of such frequent incidents. However, Russian air force training flights that stay clear of Swedish airspace are presented as a proof that the Russians are preparing to invade not only Sweden, but all the Baltic countries.

Even a report on delivering Russian air defence systems to far away Syria has been used to portray Russia as an aggressive monster preparing to subdue Sweden. The army provided the newspapers with a grim prediction: “The Russians can take over Sweden in a few days.”

Perhaps it is true, but why should they? Neither now or in their greatest years of power has any Russian ruler—Tsar, General Secretary or President—ever wanted to invade Sweden. The last war between two neighbours took place over two hundred years ago. Russians have not the slightest intention to fight Swedes, but the Swedish army and the Swedish media are determined to present Russia as their mortal enemy. The army wants to increase the military budget; their political allies and their media say that only joining NATO would save the Swedish beauty from the Russian bear’s claws.

This attitude is not helpful for the well-being of the two great northern powers. They are closely related. Ancestors of the Swedes were among founders of Russia, many Swedish noblemen served the Russian Crown. The Swedes and the Russians have the same birch trees growing along the river banks; the same mushrooms and berries grow in the same forests on both sides of the Baltic sea. Swedes and Russians experimented with socialism, mined ore and coal, felled trees, love their sauna and hockey. Russians are quite fond of Swedes: Peter the Great drank the health of the Swedish generals and called them ‘his teachers’, after thrashing them at Poltava.

Russia and Sweden have no dispute, no common border to argue about, no historic mishaps. All major Swedish companies – Ikea and Volvo, to mention some – have a profitable trade in Russia. Russians, especially the dwellers of St Petersburg region, go to Sweden on weekends. It is a short drive via Finland. Many Russians settled in Sweden, and Swedish businessmen are accustomed to Russia.

Russian policies towards Sweden and the West are marked with moderation, restraint and conservatism. They do not want to invade or conquer Sweden or other Western countries. Russia wants to be treated with respect, keep foreigners out of its internal affairs, and it wants other countries to take Russia’s legitimate interests into account (read: Ukraine). But these Russian wishes are considered only when the West is not united.

After 1991, all of the major Western countries for the first time in world history were united (to some degree) under the military, political and economic leadership of the United States. They have a single united system of ideological control and hegemony via global media, social networks, and universities. I called this system “The Masters of Discourse.” Such setup is detrimental for Russia.

The Atlanticists want to keep the world united under their rule, military via NATO and ideological through the Masters of Discourse system. Russia does not want world domination, does not want to rule over Europe or Asia or Sweden. But it can’t accept the US hegemony either, for they would turn it into a snow-bound Nigeria, an oil-producing country of the third world.


For the Russians, normal relations with Sweden are an essential element of peace and stability in the Baltic Sea. Russia appreciates Swedish neutrality and the balanced policy of Sweden in Olof Palme’s times. It has no desires to meddle in Swedish affairs and would like to have friendly relations. Now, after Carl Bildt’s departure, there is hope for improved relations between the new Social Democrat government in Sweden and Russia. And now the old trick is played again, the scare of Russian submarines. We’ll see whether this government will manage the real threat of right-wing plots better than its predecessors.

Israel Shamir can be contacted at

First published at the Unz Review

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