January 27, 2020

Behind The Auschwitz Commemorations, A Raw Putin Power Play
JERUSALEM—Before he even headed to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp liberated 75 years ago on an equally icy January 27, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s first task on landing in Warsaw was to make peace with Polish President Andrzej Duda.Kate Middleton’s Secret Photos of Holocaust Survivors UnveiledDuda was of one the few conspicuous absentees from the commemoration Rivlin hosted last week in Jerusalem, when Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, observed the event in the presence of some 50 world leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence and Russian President Vladimir Putin.In fact, Putin was the reason Duda stayed away.The Russian president has advanced a revisionist account of World War II in which Moscow’s notorious non-aggression pact with the Nazi regime is erased, and Poland, which was invaded by both Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin in September 1939, is cast as the guilty party collaborating with the Nazis.In 1941, when Hitler tore up the nonaggression pact and launched his invasion of the Soviet Union, Stalin became an ally of the United States and Great Britain. But he had already murdered, in his own right, millions of his own subjects. In 1940 his troops massacred systematically some 22,000 of Poland’s military officers and members of the intelligentsia.When Polish President Duda heard that Putin would give a keynote address in Jerusalem, he demanded equal time. But Yad Vashem, a public institution, refused, so Duda stayed conspicuously away.But there is more to it than this dispute over Putin’s reimagined Russian history. Behind the controversy lies a web of rivalries and power struggles pitting independent nations once under Soviet dominion against Putin’s broader effort to recover what he sees as the glory—and at least some of the territory—of the Soviet empire.In a parallel channel, the controversy is fed by a feud between two Jewish billionaires leveraging the Auschwitz commemorations to vie for international influence.On one side, is former U.S. Ambassador Ronald Lauder, scion of the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune and president of the World Jewish Congress, based in New York, who has long sponsored the annual memorial celebrations at the gates of Auschwitz in Poland.On the other is the oligarch Viatcheslav “Moshe” Kantor, a Moscow-born fertilizer magnate who is close to Putin. Kantor heads the European Jewish Congress and its subsidiary, the World Holocaust Forum Foundation.Rivlin is Israel’s titular head of state. When he dreamed of Israel hosting an event to mark the Nazi defeat, he did not imagine that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of government, would still be running for office more than a year after dissolving the parliament, or that Netanyahu would be managing a campaign while facing criminal indictments.Netanyahu’s Big Win Means His Party Is in Real TroubleAs the event approached, and Netanyahu encroached, hoping the moment would bolster his candidacy as “Israel’s face to the world,” Israel’s low-budget presidency found itself in want of a sponsor.Enter Kantor, for whom the commemoration became a platform to prove his international usefulness to Putin.“It wasn’t Yad Vashem’s event, nor Rivlin’s, nor even the ministry of foreign affairs’,” said Ofer Aderet, history correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, who has followed Israel’s increasingly fraught relations with the eastern European nations in which much of the Holocaust took place. “It was a one man show run by Moshe Kantor, a guy whose name is not known to Israelis, who understood this to be an Israeli event, something official.”Rivlin’s office estimated that the event cost about $5.7 million, but acknowledged paying only “several hundred thousand shekels”—a sum ranging anywhere from $60,000 to $260,000—for Wednesday night’s formal dinner for heads of state.Jonathan Cummings, Rivlin’s spokesman, said it was “accurate” to report that Kantor had, in effect, footed the entire bill—an undisclosed sum—for a three-day event Israel billed as one of the most important diplomatic showcases in its entire history.The question of why Israel would outsource a major diplomatic achievement to a Russian oligarch remains officially unanswered. But it was vigorously debated in Israeli cafés in recent days, especially by Israelis of Russian origin, many of whom, having left post-Soviet Russia for Israel, are no great fans of Putin or of the loose cast of ultra-rich men who surround him.“It’s all about propaganda,” says tour guide Igor Schwartz. Now 46 years old, Schwartz has lived in Israel for 21 years, but was born in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, which was still called Leningrad in those days.He was unmoved by the 25-foot tall sculpture Putin and Netanyahu unveiled in Sacker Park, Jerusalem’s largest green space, to honor about 1 million Russians who died during the Nazi siege of his old hometown.“Here and in all the world,” Schwartz said, “Putin is the enemy. He’s been the leader of Russia in one way or another for about 20 years, and what has happened during that time? Russia has gone only down.”In a message to followers, an exultant Netanyahu summed up the diplomatic whirlwind in Jerusalem as “the morning with Vladimir Putin, midday with world leaders at Yad Vashem, and the evening with Vice President of the United States.”But the result was clear: “It was a huge victory for Putin,” Aderet said, a triumphant prance around the jewel of Jerusalem, in which he publicly cemented his role as the new face of power in the Middle East.In a Jerusalem speech that left many stunned, and made no mention of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Putin said that worse than the Nazis, were their “accomplices… often crueler than their masters. Death factories and concentration camps were served not only by the Nazis, but also by their accomplices in many European countries.”“He won,” Aderet said. “He succeeded in creating a situation in which he was transformed into the supreme hero, a revered king to whom everyone here pays obeisance, as if he himself opened the gates of Auschwitz.”Greeting Putin at Ben Gurion airport, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, the son of Polish-Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, said, “Israel is appreciative of the great sacrifices the Russian people made in World War II and the overwhelmingly important contributions of the Red Army in defeating the German Nazis and liberating the concentration camps, among them Auschwitz.”“We know exactly who did the liberating. We know the historical truth,” Katz said.The Soviet Army did liberate Auschwitz—but in fact, Russian troops did not. The Red Army’s First Ukrainian Front opened the gates of hell, commanded by Ukrainian officers then subordinate to the Soviet command. In an elegant gesture, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ceded his delegation’s seats at the Jerusalem event to Holocaust survivors, few of whom secured invitations. Space was so tight at Yad Vashem, and so many personalities had to be accommodated, that only 30 out of the 780 seats at the ceremony were reserved for those who had endured the horrors of the death camps.“Israel comes off as a miserable failure,” Aderet lamented, “prepared to bend history for any immediate domestic interest.” He noted that in recent years, Poland’s right-wing populist government has indulged in its own revisionism, even passing a law criminalizing any comment implying Polish collaboration with the Nazi final solution, such as the term “Polish death camp” instead of a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland. Putin’s tactic is to suggest that he and those he supports, especially separatists in Ukraine, are still fighting the old fight against modern fascists and Nazis. And on Monday, Putin boycotted the ceremony at Auschwitz, where Lauder and Duda are the hosts.Rivlin’s first act upon landing there was to lay a wreath at a memorial to Witold Pilecki, a Polish hero who, as a leader of the anti-Nazi underground, volunteered to be imprisoned at Auschwitz and gather intelligence, which he transmitted to the west.Then, expressing sorrow that Polish-Israeli ties have been harmed in the past by “political intervention in questions of history,” Rivlin attempted to repair some of the wounds opened by the week’s jamboree of remembrances.“We remember that Poland and the Polish people are victims of the Second World War,” he said, in formal remarks.Israel, he said, remembers that “over one million Jews were exterminated at Auschwitz,” and that “Nazi Germany initiated, planned and implemented the genocide of the Jewish people in Poland… and takes full responsibility for its actions.”“We remember that during the war the Polish people fought with courage and strength against Nazi Germany. But we also remember that many Poles stood by and even assisted in the murder of Jews.”The diplomatic statement, acknowledging both Poland’s truth and the truth of Europe’s Jews, is typical of Rivlin, a fellow member of Netanyahu’s nationalist Likud party who has spent a significant part of his presidency mitigating damage caused by the prime minister’s headstrong determination to hold onto power. On Monday, Netanyahu was in Washington, D.C., with his great political ally President Donald Trump, who has promised to settle the long, painful Israeli-Palestinian dispute by unveiling “the deal of the century,” which most analysts believe will die aborning.At the very moment that Netanyahu tweeted on Monday that he was “At the White House. Making History. Keeping Israel safe,” Rivlin made his way along rows of about 200 Holocaust survivors who attended the commemoration at Auschwitz, slowly shaking hands, exchanging words with each of them, and finally marching with other world leaders on the dark path the Nazis forced on the Jews.  
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Israel at War

Israel has entered its fourth week of war against Hamas after the group infiltrated the country on October 7.

Israel conducted its most intense ground operation in Gaza overnight, attacking about 150 underground targets, according to IDF.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Media
Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
READ MORE
Watch It
Timothée Chalamet Addresses Date Night With Kylie Jenner at Beyoncé’s Concert | E! News
December 20, 2023
B3z63vdSZ6Q
How Cher REALLY Feels About Kelly Clarkson’s Cover of Her Song | E! News
December 20, 2023
kf7fwJHnaxU
Ryan Gosling Drops NEW Holiday Version of ‘I’m Just Ken' | E! News
December 20, 2023
FsBATnrFv6w
The Top 10 TV Shows of All Time | Variety
December 20, 2023
mwZnVmsQNAs
Ava DuVernay & Michael Mann l Directors on Directors
December 19, 2023
qBRTngfdqZ8
Ari Aster & Yorgos Lanthimos l Directors on Directors
December 18, 2023
BXYD3UISwCs
2023's Top TMZ Sports Interviews: Shaq, Gronk, Tyson, Derulo & More! | TMZ Sports Full Ep - 12/25/23
December 20, 2023
LuSEtAJ1Dms
Aaron Rodgers' Season Over and Lakers' Unique Banner Celebration! | TMZ Sports Full Ep - 12/19/23
December 20, 2023
_SZM5laBY1I
#SelenaGomez is standing by her man, #BennyBlanco, amid backlash from fans over their relationship
December 20, 2023
3OAOi6VvLnQ
Inside Brad Pitt’s whirlwind 60th birthday weekend with Ines de Ramon: Romantic Paris to festive LA
December 20, 2023
o9clvkwWVPI
Inside Brad Pitt’s whirlwind 60th birthday weekend with Ines de Ramon: Romantic Paris to festive LA
December 20, 2023
inNYH5LILUM
When Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce would likely get engaged, according to NFL WAG Hannah Ann Sluss
December 20, 2023
kFWOyZlTJFc
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
Latest Events
02
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Alaves
02
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Rayo Vallecano
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Newcastle United
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Rotherham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
QPR - Cardiff City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Middlesbrough - Coventry
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Swansea City - West Bromwich Albion
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Ipswich Town
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Hull City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Southampton
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Leicester City - Huddersfield
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Bristol City - Millwall
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Plymouth - Watford
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Leeds - Birmingham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Sunderland - Preston NE
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Bournemouth
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Arsenal
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Roma
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Nottingham Forest - Manchester United
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Luton - Chelsea
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Sheffield United
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Sassuolo
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Brentford
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Everton
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Salernitana
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Burnley
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Lecce
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Bologna
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Empoli
29
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
29
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Monza
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Tottenham Hotspur
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Crystal Palace
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester City
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Aston Villa
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Liverpool
24
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Chelsea
23
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Arsenal
23
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Napoli
23
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Everton
23
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Manchester United
23
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Sevilla
23
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Lecce
23
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Frosinone - Juventus
22
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Salernitana - AC Milan
21
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Alaves - Real Madrid
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.