As astonishing it is, this fact remained unnoticed. The pandemic has divided the European continent into two parts: one – rich Eurabia which plunged into chaos, and second – relatively poor Eastern Europe and the Balkans which withstood the onslaught. Is it a coincidence or, on the contrary, metaphysics of History? The former is as hostile to Israel, just as the latter friendly to us. An incomprehensible pattern: the haters of the Jews are dying in agony while God is protecting the allies and intercessors from adversity?
West leaves the arena of history
The current pandemic has highlighted the obvious. The glowing shell of the modern Western civilization hides a frightened void – this is a society of substantial emptiness according to Ulrich Beck. Infantilism, unthinkable frivolity, ineffective bureaucracy, mediocre leadership, ridiculous clichés and the habit of empty demagogy led to total failure in the fight against not such terrible disease.
The sad truth is that coronavirus has infected societies already festering with virus of self-destruction. “Tyranny of self-torture”- according to the exact definition of Pascal Bruckner: pacifism, leftist ideologies of all sorts and colors, spinelessness, loss of national and religious identity, pathological desire for pacification turned Western Europe and Canada into a victim the predators are feasting on.
America is trying to resist deadly trends, but leftist paranoia threatens to plunge the country into chaos and turmoil of civil conflict. Regardless of how friendly Trump is to the Jews and Israel, America is leaving both the Great Game and the Middle East. The fate of Iraqi and then Syrian Kurds, abandoned to their fate, is a sad evidence of this. Israel will barely be able to rely on its ally, and in the worst case, America will ultimately join the chorus of its haters.
The coronavirus has also shown that the totalitarian and authoritarian regimes (except Iran) – China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar – were much more successful in confronting the pandemic. And this too is symptomatic.
The colossal Eurasian world revisits the dark past. Old-new empires that re-enter the arena are greedy, vicious and merciless. The Russian Tsar, the Chinese Emperor, the Turkish Sultan are vivid ominous reality. By fomenting extreme nationalism, strewing flowers on the pedestals of their tyrants, glorifying the predatory wars of the past, they create an atmosphere of patriotic psychosis and torment neighboring states and nations. Their appetite comes with eating …
Who is the next victim of the Russian tsar? Baltic countries? Georgia or Ukraine again? Poland? Well, today, Putin is in favor of Jews, but his sympathies are fluctuating like the fates of the Russian tsars.
We are witnessing increasing appetites of the Turkish Sultan. A Greek proverb says: “When a Turk speaks about peace, there will be war”. Erdogan has been relentlessly talking about peace.
Fanatical Iran is eager to restore the victorious Persian Empire under the Shiite crescent. Arabs crave the Caliphate’s rebirth, and we will certainly see new attempts to act upon it.
The Chinese communist leader turned himself into the lifelong emperor of “Celestial Empire.” With patience and cunning, China wraps, suffocates, and swallows the world like a giant python. Mighty Asian tyranny, armed with cutting-edge technological advances, soars over the world.
“Shield of Europe”
All this is bad news for Israel, however there is good news as well.
The coronavirus has demonstrated that Eastern Europe and Balkans proved to be far more resilient to the challenges of modern times. There countries are more prudent and reasonable, and they are the friendliest to Israel in Europe.
The reasons for this sympathy lie on the surface.
Austria, the Visegrad Group, Greece and Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia, casting aside previous divisions and prejudices, like Israel, confront predatory Muslim hordes, Turkey and Russian tsars in the East, and a culture of self-destruction in the West. Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland has refused to sign the suicidal UN Migration Plan. According to Orban, open borders in Europe can only work if there is a tightly closed external border. The high-tech fence he built became a symbol of the salvation of Europe – the European version of the Israeli security wall.
The worldview of these countries is based on the pride of European culture; the “Judeo-Christian” tradition, to which Victor Orban and Milos Zeman often emphasize; on the rejection of destructive globalism; on the living historical memory that their western neighbors lost. They did not forget about the Turkish armies that swamped Europe and stood at the gates of Vienna; about cruel Russian Tsars; violent Islamization in the Balkans; about the Nazis and the Communists, who divided the political map from Oder to Vistula. They have powerful immunity from the totalitarian ideologies of the last century that perversely subjugated the rest of Europe and North America.
Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania are the countries that refused to support Josep Borrell’s threats to Israel. There was not a single country (!) of Eastern and Central Europe (except of course, Germany) among the 11 EU countries that condemned plans for the annexation of the Jordan Valley and Gush Katif. According to Reuters, “France (with the support of Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg) is urging its EU partners to consider threatening Israel with a tough response if it goes ahead with a de facto annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, … but Israel’s closest allies such as Hungary and the Czech Republic could still block even preparatory work.”
All those countries are particularly interested in an alliance with Israel – in its energy resources that can end its dependence on unpredictable Russia and the Middle East, in its high-tech and in military technologies. They are eminently friendly to Jews and have a sincere sympathy for Israel, oppose the BDS, are proud of their implacability to anti-Semitism, support our country in international forums.
Austria acts in this union as the natural leader – due to economic strength, political authority and historical tradition. Sebastian Kurtz is a charismatic and energetic ruler, and he is unusually friendly to our country. Kurtz became the first head of government to congratulate Netanyahu on his victory. He thanked Netanyahu for “waking him up” and alerting him of the threat of a pandemic. He proposed a “tourist union”, free from the pandemic, which includes Israel, Czech republic, Greece and Cyprus.
We can talk today (it was Ben-Gurion’s dream once, wasn’t it?) about the union of ancient and old great civilizations: the Jewish state, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and the revived Habsburg empire with its center in Vienna, including centers of medieval learning and tolerance such as Prague and Krakow. Other countries, like the Baltic and Ukraine, and some influential parties, primarily the Italian Northern League, adjoin this union.
The Habsburg Empire, which at one time extended from Krakow to Dalmatia, and from Northern Italy to Galicia, was once called the “shield of Europe”. It is being reborn into a new modern shape and can become our reliable partner in the face of future cataclysms.
Hostages of Myths
Now we arrive at a bitter truth: the inability of our elite to see political realities and prospects, and the influence of old and misleading myths. On the one hand, we observe a type of ridiculous admiration for the Western European powers (especially, by the way, Germany) with their extremely cynical and hypocritical position. Formally declaring their support for Israel and condemning the Holocaust, they are doing everything for the Holocaust to repeat itself. On the other hand, Israel treats the countries of Central and Eastern Europe scornfully and arrogantly, at best; or constantly rubbing the wounds of the past, at worst, as Katz did regarding Poland. (And unfortunately practically all of Israel establishment unanimously supported him).
We forget that all these states were occupied, like Poland, or, thanks to stupidity and cowardice of the West, turned by the Nazis into satellites. We forget that they were forced to survive, sandwiched between two monsters. We forget that the Second World War and time before it was a tragedy not only for Jews, but for many nations of Eastern Europe. Soviet occupiers and Nazis massacred Poles; Stalin organized the Holodomor in Ukraine and ethnic cleansing in the Baltic countries and Moldova (historical part of Romania); Sudeten Germans ridiculed Czechs. The history of these nations is excruciating, full of bitterness and suffering. We should take it all into account so that we don’t lose friends.
One of my great-grandmothers was murdered in 1941 in the Ukrainian city of Sumy, and the second one managed to escape from Latvia with the family in the nick of time – the Nazis and the West, who raised the monster, are initially at fault for this. The Poles, Ukrainians, Lithuanians were also murdered, but this was inevitable because the criminal regime loosens the hands of bandits, sadists and fanatics. We should remember people like Jan Karski, remember Żegota organization, which saved between 8,5 to 28 thousand Jews; remember Polish government in exile, which encouraged the silent West to protect Jews; about 6700 Polish “righteous people” (almost twice as much as in France).
We should not ask our friends for constant justification: Salvini – because he allegedly sympathizes with Mussolini, Kurtz – because he supports nationalists, Orban – because he allowed the installation of a monument to Horthy somewhere, Baltic nations – for the culpability of the crimes of the Nazis, Romanians – because they do not condemn Antonescu enough and finally, Ukrainians – because of persisting nationalist sentiments.
By engaging in the wars of the past, without seeing the present and future, we risk being left alone with a bunch of predators and with “friends” who are far worse than our obvious enemies.
Author of “Agony of Hercules or a Farewell to Democracy (Notes of a Stranger)”, Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.