Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday, 8 November 2010

“None of the Soviet Leaders ever said Israel should be destroyed – but this is exactly what is said by today’s Iranians”: Evgeny Kissin speaks up for Israel, “betrayed by the West”

It's always spellbinding to see and hear the great Russian-born Jewish virtuoso Evgeny Kissin at the piano, and it's a joy to find this youngish man of genius speaking out on behalf of Israel with an ardour and a cogency that puts many a seasoned campaigner to shame, and with a depth of knowledge and grasp of issues that many a historian and political scientist would envy.

Kissin took British nationality in 2002 – “inspired and proud”, he explained in a letter to the BBC’s Director-General at the end of last year, “to belong to the country of Winston Churchill, who famously said: ‘There is no antisemitism in England because we do not consider ourselves more stupid than the Jews’. Above all, the BBC and especially its World Service, had always been a beacon of light, of truth and objectivity to those of us behind the Iron Curtain, in the ‘Evil Empire’. Reaching out to far corners of the world, it was the voice of a country which for us was a model of democracy and human rights.”

And why was Mr Kissin writing to Mark Thompson? To protest what he termed a “blood libel” on Al Beeb's Persian Service “concerning Israel’s alleged harvesting of Palestinian organs and blood for future transplant”. “It beggars belief that the British taxpayer should be funding an organisation which is aligning itself with Iran’s despotic leader in its antisemitic propaganda”, Kissin continued. “Other print media like the Guardian, which erroneously printed this libel propagated by Israel’s enemies, have since apologised. I am not aware of any such retraction from the BBC.”  The BBC’s “slander and bias” against Israel was for him “painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet anti-Zionist propaganda”. “Is it not time for the BBC to return to the values for which it was so much respected, before it finds itself in the garbage of history, together with Pravda, Tass, Volkischer Beobachter and Der Angriff?”

Mr Kissin, in a recent long interview with Stephen Pollard, editor of the London Jewish Chronicle (29 October) has provided more insights into why he feels obliged to speak candidly on the topic of the Middle East. He has provided some astute and telling comments. For instance, “I think that this applies not only to Jewish artists, but to all Jews in the entire free world: we must keep screaming in defence of our cause all the time! The number of our enemies is much greater – so for the sake of Israel we must put aside our differences, unite and outweigh our enemies in energy and determination.”

And this:

“Now, when the western media keep slandering and smearing the Jewish State and her politics; when antisemitic incidents in Europe have been increasing dramatically; when Israeli politicians can freely visit Morocco and Abu Dhabi but cannot come to Britain for fear of being arrested for alleged “war crimes”; when, of all the countries in the world – not China, not Iran, not Saudi Arabia – Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is the only target of boycotts by British universities; when the organisers of the gay parade in Madrid tell Israeli gays not to take part in it ... Can it be that some western Jews believe that if they keep silent and avoid expressing their support for Israel, that they will be better off?”

This too:

‘Israel’s enemies realised that they could not win by military means and instead launched a cunning propaganda war against the Jewish State. Unfortunately, Ben Gurion’s idiotic principle, “It doesn’t matter what Gentiles say, what matters is what Jews do”, proved too deeply ingrained in the Israeli mentality (which Israelis finally began to realise themselves a few years ago), and that has been bringing disastrous results for Israel in this war. In these hard times I am firmly against the belief that all Jews should live in Israel, because contrary to Ben Gurion’s statement, it does matter what Gentiles say. Tiny Israel needs outside support, and we must provide this support in free countries by forming a powerful driving force to do exactly what our enemies have been doing for dozens of years: to influence governments and public opinion. United we stand!’

He also has an anecdote about Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov’s beloved Jewish wife, Polina Zhemchuzhina, who was arrested by Stalin in December 1948 on a trumped up charge of treason and spent five years in a labour camp: “She was a convinced Communist – but when the State of Israel was established and the Moscow Synagogue began collecting money and jewellery for Israel, Zhemchuzhina went there and gave away all her jewellery. When a close friend of hers, a Gentile woman, said to her: “Are you mad? You are the wife of a prominent statesman!” Zhemchuzhina replied: “First of all, I am a daughter of my people!”

When Golda Meir came to Moscow [in November 1948, the moth before Zhemchuzhina's arrest] as the ambassador of the newly-created state of Israel, at an official reception Zhemchuzhina said to her: “If anything is good in Israel, kit will be good for all the Jews of the world.”

Even the hard-line Communist and Stalin’s right-hand man’s wife realised that. Can it really be that we, Jews of the free world, have forgotten that?’


  1. As ever, your articles are always interesting, but I just love that poster. That needs to be more widely available. There should be other national versions of it as well.

  2. I am so pleased Kissin has stood up for Israel. I am a great admirer of his. He's a genius. And now I like him even more.

  3. I stumbled across the poster by chance, Ian - have no idea whether it's available in other languages or not.
    I've mentioned this boycott-related video before - it's very well done and worth a look (the pro-boycotters need to know exactly what they must avoid, and the range of products might surprise them ...!)

  4. Incidentally, ian, I wasn't aware of your message until now - so apologies for its tardy posting.

  5. Unfortunately the Medias is the strongest device that can dominate and change the minds of people against any nation and in history British always have used their medias for their interest in others nation or against small minority like Jews, and yes it true IDF is strong but still the British have dominating the world Medias and there will be not end their propaganda against State of Israel until the British have their interest in entire Muslim nation, by the way there is also medias that control by the Jewish loftiest in United State which must of the time opposing the Israelis policy and supporting the Arabs terrorism too ,the Jewish loftiest propaganda also is to dangerous toward of State of Israel ,in the end if we want to be survive the entire Jewish world population should be untied .

  6. Thanks for your comment, EM. In Britain, the worst anti-Israel media consists of the BBC, Channel 4 News, and Guardian and Independent, and we also have the problem of Al Jazeera (though I often think that's fairer than the BBC!) abd Press TV from Iran. The websites of some of these are very anti-Israel too - with antisemitism creeping onto them frequently.

  7. Of course you _expect_ Al Jazeera to be biased.

    I read The National in Abu Dhabi and find it surprisingly fair-handed, considering. The National is well-beyond The Zionist Entity poison; of course maybe I have low expectations. :) And of course it's in English; I wonder how it reads in Arabic. Nonetheless I remember reading a column -- by an Emirati -- which offered the idea that the real culprit in the region's history was that Arab states did not take in Palestinian refugees.