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Russia’s Real-Time Rendition of Zionism’s Possibilities and Pitfalls

Russia’s efforts to use its Jewish citizens as pawns in a diplomatic dispute with Israel place the practical implications of Zionism in a stark light.
Kobi Gideon/GPO/Creative Commons
Kobi Gideon/GPO/Creative Commons
Michael Koplow is a Senior Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and the Chief Policy Officer of the Israel Policy Forum. Before coming to Israel Policy Forum, he was the founding Program Director of the Israel Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University, where he specialized in political development and ideology, and the politics of Middle Eastern states. He writes Israel Policy Forum’s weekly

“Anyone my age or older heard echoes of the Cold War and the struggle to save Soviet Jewry this week following the Russian government’s efforts to shutter the Jewish Agency offices in the country on claims that the organization is violating Russian law. The Jewish Agency facilitates immigration of Jews to Israel—including the 10,000 who have immigrated to Israel since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February—and closing it down will make it much harder for Russian Jews to leave should they elect to do so. While the Russian Justice Ministry accuses the Jewish Agency of illegally collecting personal data, the uniform consensus among Israeli government officials is that Moscow is retaliating against Israel for its stance on the Russia-Ukraine war by targeting the Jewish Agency and Russian Jews.”

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