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In Episode 123 of the CounterVortex podcastBill Weinberg discusses the history of Khazaria, the medieval Turko-Jewish empire in what is now southern Russia and eastern Ukraine. While the fate of the mysterious Khazars has won much attention from scholars—and controversy—because of what it may reveal about the origin of the Jews of Eastern Europe, this question also touches on the origins of the Ukrainian people and state.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just days after issuing blatant nuclear threats, engages in the classic anti-Semitic trope of blaming Nazism on the Jews. Speaking to Italian TV, Lavrov responded to a reminder that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish thusly: "When they say 'What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews,' well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing. For a long time now we've been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves." This as Russian state media voices openly call for "total annihilation" of Ukraine, and more mass graves are being discovered daily. Russia will be glorifying this campaign of extermination in massive military parades next week, commemorating the Soviet Union's 1945 victory over Nazi Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed security services to hold "terror suspects" in "administrative detention," even without charge. The order extends to Palestinians in Israel a policy long applied to Palestinians on the West Bank. Bennett cited "a new situation that requires suitable preparations and adjustment by the security services to the circumstances within which extremist elements of Arab society, directed by extremist Islamic ideology, are carrying out terror attacks and taking lives." The order follows deadly attacks by Israeli citizens who were said to be supporters of the so-called "Islamic State."

In Episode 112 of the CounterVortex podcastBill Weinberg continues to deconstruct the cynical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism of Vladimir Putin’s war drive against Ukraine. Putin’s speech announcing his “military operation” in Ukraine says his aim is to “denazify” the country. This as Ukraine’s Jews prepare to flee the advancing Russian forces in a mass evacuation. While Ukraine has been going in a more democratic direction since the 2014 Maidan Revolution, Russia over this same period has seen a consolidation of increasingly autocratic power in the hands of Vladimir Putin—who has ruled continuously as either president or prime minister since 1999. As courageous anti-war protesters flood the streets of cities across Russia in defiance of the authorities, the morally and intellectually bankrupt “left” in the United States echoes Putin’s lies. Especially called out for regurgitating Kremlin propaganda that paints Ukraine as a “Nazi” state and blames NATO for Putin’s war of aggression are the now essentially pro-war CodePink and the very ironically named Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). Any genuine anti-war position must begin with repudiating Putin’s fascist ambition to rebuild the Russian empire.

As part of a "forestation" plan, Israel's Jewish National Fund began clearing cultivated lands at the "unrecognized" Bedouin village of Sawa in the Negev desert, sparking angry protests by the villagers. The protests started as villagers and Bedouin leaders expressed their objections the JNF plan to plant trees on an area of 5,000 dunums (1,250 acres), much of which had been planted with wheat only a few months ago. Things escalated as tractors arrived at the area to begin clearing the fields, and villagers physically resisted. Police detained 18 local youth for throwing stones. Protests continued for the following two days, with the security forces firing rubber-coated bullets, tear-gas and malodorous "skunk water," causing several injuries. 

Scores of Jewish worshipers were reportedly arrested when Nigerian state security forces raided a synagogue in the Igbo village of Orji, Imo state. Local media reported that soldiers burst into the temple during Shabbat services and fired in the air before taking several away in military vans, apparently on suspicion of supporting the Biafra separatist movement. Although it has received little media coverage outside the immediate region, there have reportedly been several such incidents in the southeastern Biafra region since the recent re-emergence of the independence movement; government forces are said to have razed six synagogues last year, and arrested dozens of Igbo worshipers.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared six Palestinian human rights groups to be terrorist organizations, claiming they are "secretly linked" to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)–a leftist resistance group that Israel has long designated a "terrorist organization." The groups on Gantz's list are Addameer, al-Haq, the Bisan Center, Defense for Children Palestine (DCIP), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees (UPWC). International rights groups Humans Rights Watch and Amnesty International released a joint statement calling the announcement a "brazen attack on human rights." The Israeli rights group B'Tselem called the declaration "an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organizations."