!No to the War! No to Western Hypocrisy

Statement of the Israeli Communist Forum (March 5, 2022)

The Israeli Communist Forum condemns Russia’s launching of war in Ukraine and calls for its cessation and termination on the basis of an arrangement which respects the true interests of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, as well as peace and security in the region and the whole world.

This war is causing a great human tragedy, as well as immense economic damage to the countries involved. There is also a worldwide economic damage, including price increases of many products – of which the weaker part of the population, all over the world, will be the first to suffer.  We particularly condemn the harm caused to civilians as well as to journalists and media centers.

In our opinion, special responsibility for the current flare-up rests upon the US and NATO, which have taken an unrestrained aggressive stance towards Russia for years, in violation of all commitments given after the dissolution of the USSR and Warsaw Pact.

Contrary to explicit promises not to expand NATO to the east – given during and after the dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact – former member states of the Warsaw Pact, and later even countries which used to be part of the USSR itself, were enrolled in NATO. An increasing number of American and NATO bases were set up in these countries, ever closer to Russia's borders, and weapons of various kinds were placed in their territory, posing a real threat to Russia. With the encouragement of the United States, the current Ukrainian government has taken an anti-Russian line, more extreme then all its predecessors.

The Ukrainian regime waged a relentless war against the independent regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, for consecutive years causing massive damage to the civilian population and to vital infrastructure. It repeatedly violated the Minsk Agreements of 2014 and 2015, reached at the time between Ukraine, Russia, and representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. This is the background to Russia's decision to recognize the independence of these territories, and to take steps to stop the attacks against them.

The United States and NATO oppose this decision, and here again they are demonstrating their hypocrisy. When several regions from former Yugoslavia announced their decision to secede from their state the west was quick to recognize them all.  They did not sanctify the "territorial integrity of Yugoslavia" in the way that they speak today with respect to Ukraine. The same goes for Kosovo, which decided in a referendum to secede from Yugoslavia, and the United States and NATO fully concurred. But when more than 90% of the Crimea residents decided they wanted to secede from Ukraine, the West refused to recognize the results of the referendum.

The Western powers have a history of countless wars and conquests, which resulted in mass casualties and the dismantling of many sovereign states. Suffice it to mention Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya. Another very noteworthy war was the occupation of Iraq, in the course of which more than a million civilians were killed, and which created a chaos out of which arose such organizations as ISIS, who's like never before existed in that territory.

The dissolution of the USSR – in addition to being a socio-economic tragedy for the vast majority of the population living there – was the main cause of the outbreak of wars and conflicts between and within its former constituents. This is a population of many different peoples, who throughout the years of the Soviet Union’s existence lived in peace and brotherhood, and successfully faced enormous challenges including achieving victory over Nazism in World War II.

But it was in Ukraine that Nazism began to rise and "flourish" under the auspices of the current government, a successor to the government established in 2014 after an illegal NATO-backed coup against the legitimate ("pro-Russian") President who served at the time.

Collaborators with the Nazis in World War II, such as Stefan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, became national heroes in today's Ukraine. Monuments were erected in their honor in the central squares of many cities, while monuments commemorating those who fought the Nazis were removed and smashed. Bandera and Shukhevych committed war crimes of the most cruel kind against Jews as well as against other ethnic groups during World War II.

All this did not prevent the considerable sympathy for the current Ukrainian government, shown by most of the Israeli media, even before the outbreak of the current war. In addition, the hypocrisy is exposed of those who now cry out loudly against the occupation of Ukraine – but who continue, for more than fifty years, to support the Israeli occupation of Palestinians and other Arab territories, with all its concomitant crimes, and who define as "terrorists" all those who fight against the occupation.

We hope that opposition to military occupation and support for the right to self-determination will from now on be applied – in real acts, not just verbally – also to the territories that Israel is occupying for more than fifty years, and in relation to the Palestinian People's right to self-determination and establishing its independent state, side by side with Israel.

All the charges made in this statement about the current regime of Ukraine and its backers in the US and NATO do not justify the launching of an all-out war and the introduction of Russian armed forces throughout so many parts of Ukraine’s territory. Moreover, this war not only causes a great human tragedy in Ukraine, but also inflicts heavy damage on Russia itself in all possible ways.

We welcome the opening of talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus, and wish for a speedy agreement to end the war and all the suffering caused by it.

We hope that following a future settlement, there will be an end to the anti-Russian hysteria in Ukraine. That all Ukrainian citizens will be allowed to speak whatever language they wish, and get access to media in all relevant languages. We hope for an end to the criminal assault against the Ukrainian Communists as well as against all the opposition forces, which are currently unable to act and express their criticism of the regime. We also hope for an end to the trend of restricting democratic rights and silencing legitimate opposition voices in Russia, which greatly increased during the war.

We hope that arrangements to end the war will serve the interest of the entire population among all peoples, and first of all the workers and the popular masses – rather than benefitting the oligarchs on all sides.

The Israeli government deserves strong criticism for taking advantage of this war situation in order to further raise the prices of fuel and other products. This comes in addition to the massive wave of price increases that swept the country even before the flare-up in Ukraine. Once again the main burden of a crisis is on thrust on the poorest and weakest. We call on the leadership of Histadrut trade unions to wage determined struggles against the rising cost of living and violation of workers' rights – rather than sign shameful "package deals" which serve the government and capitalists and which harm workers and the weak.