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Analysts Dismiss Ukraine’s Attempt To Blame Israel For Russia-Iran Alliance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Israel of bringing about an alliance between Russia and Iran

Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Monday, accused Israel of bringing about an alliance between Russia and Iran, a claim that analysts have termed “bizarre.” Addressing the Haaretz Democracy Conference in a pre-recorded message, Zelenskyy said the alliance “simply would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time. The decision we asked for,” referring to Ukraine’s requests for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

David Wurmser, former neocon adviser to Dick Cheney on Middle Eastern affairs, at his office in Washington D.C. PHOTO BY DAVID HOWELLS/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES

“It’s really a very bizarre assertion given the fact that Russian-Iranian ties go back a very long time, including on the [Iranian] nuclear program,” said David Wurmser, a senior analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy. Russia-Iran nuclear ties have plagued the United States “for many, many years,” said Wurmser. “I remember dealing with it back in 2002-2003 when I worked at the State Department with John Bolton. So historically, this is just inaccurate,” he said further. Wurmser worked as special assistant to John Bolton when the latter served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (2001-2005). Wurmser also served as the Middle East adviser to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. He could only speculate as to why the Ukrainian leader would make such a patently false claim. “Part of it may be simply that they are so narrowly focused on Ukrainian interests that it’s bending the accuracy of their analytical viewpoint,” he said.

Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, said that while he “hugely” admired Zelenskyy’s leadership of Ukraine since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Israeli military aid or lack thereof had nothing to do with Russia-Iran ties. “Israel providing lethal aid to Ukraine would not have prevented the Russian-Iranian alliance; that’s plain silly,” said Pipes. “Zelensky’s anger has proved a powerful tool; he should direct it only at those who deserve it,” he said further. Zelenskyy’s persistent anger at Israel for not doing more to assist Kyiv “ignores the fact that Israel, a small state surrounded by enemies, must tread with utmost caution,” he said conclusively. 

Dr. Daniel Pipes, President, Middle East Forum gestures during an interaction session on the second day of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, India. PHOTO BY KALPAK PATHAK/HINDUSTAN TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES

“There’s no consideration given in these public debates to the very serious price Israel would pay,” Wurmser said, noting that Israel must contend with Russia’s presence in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program, while also considering the risk to the Jews of Russia. “We essentially have a massive hostage situation right now, with a quarter-million Jews in Russia,” he said. “While I personally believe Israel should do a little more for Ukraine, I very strongly reject moral outrage at Israel, and the expectation of the world for Israel to just drop everything,” Wurmser said further.

“Also, I believe internally that they probably face a fairly complex circumstance being Jewish leaders in a European country. In other words, they need from Israel whatever support they can [get], to validate their position,” Wurmser said. 

A woman holds a sign in support of Israel and Ukraine during the Israel Day Parade on May 22, 2022, in New York City. PHOTO BY ROY ROCHLIN/GETTY IMAGES

“Israel right now faces a very dangerous circumstance with Hezbollah, Iran and Hamas, and it frankly needs to preserve its military assets in-country. It doesn’t have anything it can just send over to Ukraine. That missile that goes to Ukraine could potentially leave one missile hitting an Israeli city,” he said. In reviewing relations between Ukraine and Israel, Wurmser said that “Israel owes Ukraine nothing.” He pointed to Ukraine’s hostile-to-Israel voting record at the United Nations and  failure to move its embassy to Jerusalem. “Ukraine has never done anything to signal any affinity or friendship with Israel,” he said. “It’s precisely because of Russia’s presence in Syria that Israel needs to show that it is not deterred, that it is strong and that Russia needs Israel more than Israel needs Russia,” he said in his concluding remarks.

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.

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