When State Interests Trump Antisemitism
The two-decade mayor of the capital of an ally of Israel stated (pg 50) the following in 2005 to a municipal delegation from Bavaria, Germany,
“Our goal is the complete elimination of Armenians. You, Nazis, already eliminated the Jews in the 1930s and 40s, right? You should be able to understand us.”
And further, if that mayor was promoted to deputy foreign minister between 2018 and 2019, what might the outrage be? It was none! Hajibala Abutalybov, the former mayor of Baku, Azerbaijan, and eventual deputy foreign minister, made this statement.
In a prelude, consider the following from the Azerbaijani International Magazine, August 1999, page 24,
“It wasn’t long until Hitler started looking for someone to represent him in the Transcaucasian region. He couldn’t find anyone suitable among the Armenians or Georgians but had heard that Rasulzade was highly educated and cultured.”
Mammad Amin Rasulzade was a leader in forming the 1918 Azerbaijani Republic. He fled after the Soviet Red Army absorbed Azerbaijan in 1920.
In May 1942, Rasulzade participated in meetings between Nazis and representatives of Caucasian Muslim emigres and actively recruited legionnaires for the German Wehrmacht from among Azerbaijani POWs.
The efforts of Rasulzade and Soviet Azerbaijani military defectors such as Major Abdurrahman Fatalibeyli, the eventual leader of the Azerbaijani Nazi Legion and head of the Azerbaijani National Committee in Berlin, were significant. So much so that the Azerbaijani soldiers of the Aserbaidschanische Feld-Bataillon I./111 participated in suppressing the August 1944 Warsaw Uprising that killed an estimated 40,000 civilians.
A major street in the Azerbaijani capital is named after Rasulzade. Azerbaijani postage stamps were issued in honor of Rasulzade. The 1993 and 1999 thousand Azerbaijani manat bills have an image of Rasulzade. Several statues in honor of Rasulzade are scattered across Azerbaijan. Any reaction or outrage anywhere? None!
Interestingly, nothing is made of this Azerbaijani hero worship. Yet, a few Jewish and many Azerbaijani writers note the role of the Armenian Garegin Ndhdeh during WWII, blindly quoting bogus Turkish references.
Garegin Nzhdeh worked with the Germans to circumvent the Turks from invading the Caucasus upon joining the German-Axis side during WWII, which the Turks would have done if the Nazis were winning. Nzhdeh helped prevent Nazi racial laws from going into effect against Armenians. The Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg referred to the Armenians and Jews as “the peoples of the wastes.” In a declaration by the German High Command, “the Armenians were even worse than the Jews.” The former in Der Mythus des Zwanzigsten Jahrunderts (Munich 1930, p. 213), the latter in The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology (Robert Cecil, London, 1972, p. 200).
Although antisemitism is real, some of it appears tolerated when state interests override its elimination. Israel’s support for Azerbaijani irredentism, as expressed in the current war of words between Baku and Tehran, is an example of state interests trumping societal ethos. One could repeat the adage that racism ignored is racism encouraged, but they know that in Baku.