Two sides of the same coin

Anyone who pays attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past 20 years knows how those who regularly do propaganda on behalf of the Palestinian Arab cause try to hijack any cause or crisis in the world and turn it into a matter of Israel and the Palestinians. Given this bent, that so many notorious critics of Israel, from Shaun King to Rashida Tlaib to Huwaida Arraf, have tried to claim that Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion are the same as Hamas terrorists and of Fatah who attempt to assassinate Israelis is not surprising.

But since before Russia invaded Ukraine, no Ukrainian militia has been indiscriminately firing thousands of rockets into Russia targeting Russian civilians. And no Ukrainian leader was claiming that Russia had no right to exist, falsely claiming that Russians had no history in Russia, or inciting their people to kill random Russians, while offering Ukrainians pay-to-kill incentive allowances that paid them eight times over. what an average teacher in Ukraine earns if he murders Russians. Most people understand that these false comparisons are specious.

What is surprising, however, is how few people understand the close connection between ideology and the history of Russification, which drives Putin’s and Russia’s latest efforts to conquer and colonize Ukraine. , and the ideology and history of Arabization, which animated, for more than a century, the continued violent rejection of Jewish nationality and sovereignty in the Middle East.

In Putin’s February 21 speech in which he announced Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, he said:

“I would like to emphasize again that Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an inalienable part of our own history, culture and spiritual space. The first is really the main one: why was it necessary to appease the nationalists, to satisfy the ever-growing nationalist ambitions on the periphery of the old empire? What is the use of transferring to new administrative units, often arbitrarily formed, the federated republics, vast territories which have nothing to do with them? Let me repeat that these territories were transferred with the population of what was historically Russia.

Putin had previously made similar ahistorical statements about Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, saying they too had no business as independent countries because they were really just part of the greater Russian nation.

But the Russification of these separate nations and peoples began much earlier in Russian history and dates back to the 1500s.

Most people in Ukraine and the Baltic States speak Russian. They do this because it was the state language of the Soviet Union, imposed everywhere and imposed on these countries during a massive Russification campaign during Soviet times. But the Russification of these separate nations and peoples began much earlier in Russian history and dates back to the 1500s. And it became an official part of the imperialist policy of the Russian Empire under Tsar Alexander III in the 1880s. What unofficial and official Russification meant in practice was the forced use of the Russian language as well as the suppression of all other nationalities and cultures.

It is this policy of Russification, under the Tsars and Soviet dictators like Stalin, which aimed to destroy all aspects of the distinct cultural, linguistic and national identities of the peoples and nations that the Russians conquered, including in Ukraine. This is why in a March 3, 2022 meeting with the Russian Security Council, Putin said, “I will never give up my belief that Russians and Ukrainians are one nation. Putin intended this statement as a vindication of Russian imperialism and to once again turn Ukraine into a vassal state of Russia without any regard for the Ukrainian people’s right to sovereignty and self-determination.

Similarly, the Arabization, including of Judea/Palestine, which began in the 7th century, was also implemented to destroy the distinct ethnic identities, languages ​​and cultures of the various tribes and peoples conquered during the imperial conquests of the Arab Empire across the Middle East. and North Africa (MENA).

Arabization has been such a powerful force behind almost complete Arab hegemony and control of the MENA region that until 2014 it was illegal in relatively moderate Morocco for parents to simply give their children non-Arabic names. , even though Morocco was originally Amazigh (Berber) for centuries before the Arab conquest of North Africa and a large percentage of its population to this day (despite centuries of institutional and systemic Arabization) still identifies as Amazigh.

And while Putin has repeatedly expressed over the past two weeks the Russian imperialist and eliminationist idea that Ukraine has no legitimacy as an independent country, this same mantra has been repeatedly preached by Arab supremacists in part of movements for greater sovereignty, independence or even equality in parts of their indigenous lands by Kurds, Copts, Amazighs and Jews.

It is clear that the history of Russification and Soviet control of Ukraine profoundly influenced Putin’s view of Ukraine, so he admits “will never give up his belief” that Ukraine will not nothing to do as an independent country. Likewise, Arab dictators and theocrats, since the beginning of Jewish independence and the indigenous rights movement (Zionism) gaining momentum in the 20th century, have been adamant – because of the history of Arabization and systemic Islamization in the MENA region – that the Jewish people have no right to an independent country, and that any such country, no matter how small, is illegitimate and must be destroyed.

With regard to Jewish independence and sovereignty in the indigenous, historical and religious homeland of the Jewish people, statements remarkably similar to Putin’s belief (on the alleged illegitimacy of Ukrainian independence) can be found in the Article 15 of the Hamas Charter and Article 20 of the PLO Charter.

While Article 15 of the Hamas Charter focuses on the idea that once the land has become (by conquest) “Islamic lands”, it can never go back (“[w]When our enemies usurp certain Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a binding duty of all Muslims”), Article 20 of the PLO Charter (also known as the Palestinian National Covenant) expressly denies the people Jew his free will, his status as a people and his legitimacy as a nation. .

Thus, it is abundantly clear that it is not just false claims about “genocide” and false claims about who the “Nazis” are that Israel haters have in common with Putin. It is also the denial of distinct identities for those who have been subjected for centuries to imperialist campaigns to destroy them – those who, despite Russification and Arabization, have retained their unique identities, languages ​​and cultures, who worked, fought and won their respective rights. sovereign and independent states. Putin and those who hate Israel are convinced that these states have no right to exist and wish to eliminate them.

About Wesley V. Finley

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