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Putin Goes to Israel

The significance of the Red Army Monument at Netanya.

6:10 PM, Jul 5, 2012 • By VICTORIA COATES
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The most recent unexpected twist in the labyrinthine history of the Jewish people commemorated at Netanya may be an increasing rapprochement with the Russian strongman. Having survived so many attempts at extermination, however, the Jews know that they do not always have the luxury of choosing their friends. Given that Russia has significant leverage with both Syria and Iran, while the United States appears to have none, it may seem only prudent to celebrate an example of Russian-Israeli friendship at this juncture. Certainly Israel would prefer to ally with the successor to Washington, Lincoln and Reagan than with a man who considers Joseph Stalin a hero and the break-up of the Soviet Union a catastrophe. The monument at Netanya does not mean the US.-Israel alliance is irrevocably broken. But it is a tangible reminder that we need to take the responsibilities of that relationship seriously, or risk ceding the rights to another—and decidedly unfriendly—party.

Victoria Coates is an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a consulting curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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