US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Middle East next week but will be skipping Israel, because it’s “not part of the parameters”. What is your take on that?
Avigdor Eskin: Let me take you back to seven years ago when Barack Obama visited the Middle East and he did exactly the same, he also skipped Israel and he meant it from the very beginning.
He tried to build a kind of new Middle East Order with the help of Muslim Brotherhood. He tried to do it in Egypt by helping to bring Morsi’s regime. They also did it in Libya, tried to do it in Syria, but failed and in other places in that.
But the whole project was a failure, especially when Egypt was taken over again by the military and more democratic Government and much more pro-Russian by the way.
Now we will see another attempt to restart some initiative which will be connected with Iran and he will be trying to convince some countries like Egypt and others to go together with Iran into a new partnership and the US will keep the leading position.
But my own comment will be that Americans learned nothing since the time of Afghanistan when they gave birth to al-Qaeda and thought that they could buy al-Qaeda but they even couldn’t take them for a rent from September 11th.
Do you think that the US-Israeli relations have reached the lowest point? And is the government of Netanyahu ready to break away from the alliance with the US?
These facts are known and Netanyahu during his first election campaign spoke about Israel giving up any American aid. He desperately wants to get rid of this dependence and behaves more and more independently. He looks for new partnerships and we will see some of his initiatives to improve relations with Moscow.
The US should reestablish and develop relations with Russia to tackle a wide range of current global issues, US Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee believes. Does this statement reflect a new trend in the Democratic Party? Is there an understanding that the current administration made some major mistakes?
Avigdor Eskin: It is very important that Radio Sputnik made an interview with this Democratic candidate, because it’s not a surprise when we hear something like this from the Republicans today, even far-right Republicans that are more reasonable than the Obama administration in terms of dealing with Russia. But here we are talking about someone from the core of the Democratic Party. His speech was very reasonable, quite different from the whole atmosphere of hatred which the US keeps generating.
There will be another way, another reloading of US-Russia relations in the near future and mutual recognition of interests and spheres of interest.
We should face real problems and not to create problems as ‘somebody’ helped to create in Ukraine. I hope that this reasonable approach will be accepted by other candidates and we’ll see some improvement.
Famous US commentator Glenn Beck has discussed the opposition of Israel to any American strike against Syria. It appears that some Americans understand that the current government of Syria is the only alternative for this country now. Was this the original position of Israel or this understanding came later?
Avigdor Eskin: To be honest, from the very beginning of the crisis in Syria the Israeli establishment was divided into two fractions and with time — those who said that the current Government of Bashar Assad is the lesser of evils that can be faced by Israel – prevailed. One of the arguments was – no matter what Assad is the only one who can rule there. And these people are right. If not Assad it would be such a mess there that everyone would regret it.
He said maybe Assad and his surroundings aren’t nice, but Israel asks us not to interfere. He confirmed info that we published a year ago that this was the Mossad intelligence that helped to prevent the bombardment of Syria during the period when Assad was accused with using chemical weapons. Mossad said – no, Assad didn’t. Thanks to Russia the chemical weapons were destroyed, and thanks to Russia there is certain improvement in Syria, at least that is the direction.
If the US will not interfere and let Russia and other countries play their role – we’ll probably see situation in Syria becoming peaceful, hopefully. Although the numbers are terrible — 250000 people are killed there. Just to compare – 60000 people were killed between Israel and Palestinians and other Arab countries, in all Israeli-Arab conflicts during 100 years.
Syria is a horrible place now, but it can become peaceful and even friendly again. Everybody who knows Damascus regime knows that the Assad family are the only ones who can preserve the rights of the minorities there. I think that Assad's government will stay in power and will improve the situation in the region if the US and some Arab countries will not play their very unpleasant role. It is good that there is understanding now between Israel and Damascus.
Russian President recently issued an award of “People’s Friendship” to 89 years old Israeli Second World War veteran Avraham-Michael Greenzait. How strong is the influence of the War veterans in Israel today?
Avigdor Eskin: They have tremendous influence in terms of their moral power. These people are admired by everybody. The survivors of Holocaust is one category of people living in Israel, but here is another category – Heroes of Second World War and in percentage wise there are many of them in Israel. They are veterans from Israel, Russia, US, Europe.
And they are strong and influential in terms of keeping the memory alive. They might be not young enough to go on demonstration and express their position on things going on in Ukraine. I mean glorification of Neo-Nazism in Ukraine and in Baltic states. These people have very clear views and they influence the government and the Knesset because their truth is special.
They have lived through it, they’ve seen it.
Michael Greenzait is a very special person, who did a lot to install the feeling of personal responsibility into young Israeli hearts, which are not necessarily well educated about the aspects of Second World War.
Especially veterans these veterans from Russia they always say thank you to those soldiers from Russia, who put their efforts and their lives for the future of the whole mankind. It is always possible that more needs to be done for the younger generation to keep memories but in Israel it is more or less fine. Especially effective are those trips to concentration camps in Europe. The government does its best that the slogan ‘never again’ will really be meaningful in Israel.