If Zelensky’s false innuendo was taken at face value, then unaware observers would be deceived into thinking that Russia poses an existential threat to Ukraine, fears its ‘regional democratic example’, is jealous of its ‘strategic independence’, and might even be ruled by an ‘anti-Semite’.
“We know what it’s like not to have an own state. We know what it means to defend one’s own state and land with weapons in hand, at the cost of our own lives. Both Ukrainians and Jews value freedom, and they work equally for the future of our states to become to our liking, and not the future which others want for us. Israel is often an example for Ukraine.”
This was extremely disingenuous and intended to stir Russophobic hatred. What follows is a brief explanation of how he meant to achieve this and why the facts contradict his false suggestions.
Whatever one’s personal views are about “Israel”, and the author himself is extremely critical of that entity, the basis upon which Zelensky made his comparison is just as false as his innuendo. The conventional narrative surrounding the self-professed “Jewish State” (regardless of whether or not one agrees with it) is that it survived three existential conflicts with its neighbors. The Ukrainian leader is hinting that his Russian neighbor poses a similarly existential threat to his state as the Arab ones do to “Israel”.
Another conventional narrative about “Israel” is that it’s supposedly the only so-called “democracy” in West Asia. Again, irrespective of one’s views about the veracity of that claim, this comparison doesn’t hold true for Ukraine, which has become unprecedentedly autocratic after the urban spree of terrorism popularly described as “EuroMaidan” succeeded in overthrowing its democratically elected and internationally recognized government in early 2014. Kiev tolerates absolutely zero political or media dissent to its diktats, routinely accusing all those who oppose it of being “Russian agents”.
Moving along, Zelensky is also wrong in implying that his country is anywhere near as strategically independent as “Israel” is. It’s neither here nor there whether one believes that “Israel’s” strategic independence is wielded for positive or negative regional ends, just to simply acknowledge that it exists since that entity is indisputably a West Asian power. Ukraine, by contrast, has surrendered itself to the control of its Western patrons according to President Putin during last summer’s Q&A session with his people. Kiev has no strategic independence to speak of.
Lastly, “Israel” certainly isn’t “an example for Ukraine” since that entity has excellent relations with Russia that were personally built through President Putin’s active diplomacy with its Prime Ministers. Its new leader even declared that he’s “a very true and close friend of the State of Israel” during his meeting with President Putin in Sochi in October. The Russian leader is a globally renowned philo-Semite who announced in January 2020 during the “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism Forum” that he’ll oppose anti-Semitism across the world, unlike Ukraine which cultivates it.
If Zelensky’s false innuendo was taken at face value, then unaware observers would be deceived into thinking that Russia poses an existential threat to Ukraine, fears its “regional democratic example”, is jealous of its “strategic independence”, and might even be ruled by an “anti-Semite”. The reality is the complete opposite though since Russia poses no such threat to Ukraine, is actually much more democratic and strategically independent than its neighbor, and is very proudly ruled by the longest-serving and most consistently pro-“Israeli” leader in modern history outside of “Israel” itself.