Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia - Israel an Interesting Relationship

Pardon for my sporadic posting. My life has been very busy lately, hoping things will settle down in the next month and I can devote a little more time, and effort, to the blog.

Now, back to the subject at hand.

As mentioned in my previous post, the Israelis have been training Georgian troops and supplying arms to the country for almost 8 years now. The brutality of the attack on the Ossetian capital are certainly evidence that the 'best' of Israeli methods have been employed: Targetting Civilians. Just as the Israelis targeted scores of civilians during the Lebanon War, shooting at carloads of fleeing people - the same has occured in South Ossetia. Never mind targetting any kind 'militia', nah - just target the people - so they will leave. Ethnic cleansing at its best, learned from the Masters. We shoudn't be surprised here either, as the gentleman (I use the term loosely) who assisted in training the Georgians was none other than General Gal Hirsh:

According to media reports, Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, a senior commander in the 2006 Lebanon war who resigned after the release of a highly critical report on the way the war was conducted, served as an adviser to Georgian security forces.

Given the similarity of the approach, there is little wonder. But the Ossetians aren't Lebanese and the Russians are not Hezbolla, just as the Israelis were sent packing in the disasterous Lebanon Invasion - so too the Georgians have been utterly smacked down by the Russians - protecting the ethnic minorities of South Ossetia. Keep in mind though, the Georgians are the pawn in this event, the chesspiece being used by both the Israeli and American admninistrations. Their motivations may be somewhat different, but certainly they are allied in the use of their puppet, Saakashvili. The Israelis for the pipeline, the Americans for the continuing circling of Russia by NATO (just a wing on the US/Israeli military machine). However, I'm sure that there are those in Israel who would enjoy a nice shot at the Russians for reasons best left for another post.

Of course, now that the going is getting tough - the 'tough' are getting going - home that is. Israelis and Georgian Jews are fleeing via airlift and overland - literally scrambling to get out of the country.

Georgia has enjoyed a large Jewish population, many of whom are in the upper echelons of society and rarely experience any kind of anti-semetism. Will that change? Is that partly what these people are afraid of? When the Georgians realise who helped to orchestrate the brutal, unprovoked attack on South Ossetia, will there be backlash? The numbers of Georgian Jews seeking Aliyah is increasing exponentially. How convenient for them to have an ersatz country to run too when their involvements turn sour. If anything it is this sort of behaviour by both the Israelis and the Americans which turn the worlds sentiments against them: Meddling. Underhanded dealings. I have always held to the belief that the greatest threat to the Jewish diaspora comes from the actions of Israel herself - professing to speak for all Jews everywhere. By best estimates, there are about 20,000 Jewish Georgians, many with a very long history in the region. Interestingly:

Overall, since 1989, 21,134 Jews have moved to Israel. Once numbering as many as 100,000, today the Georgian Jewish population is approximately 13,000. Tbilisi has the largest Jewish population at 11,000 out of 1.5 million. Jewish communities are located in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Oni, Achaltische, Ahalkalaki, Surami, Kareli, and Stalin's hometown of Gori, and synagogues are located in most of these cities. The provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are virtually void of Jews due to the military conflicts in these areas.

Interesting, so South Ossetia and Abkhazia are devoid of Jews. These are the two 'provinces' who wish to separate and declare soveriegnty. Coincidence? Probably not.

A little farther back in time we find this:

In the beginning of the 19th century, Ashkenazi Russian Jews were forced to move to Georgia by the Russian government. The Ashkenazi Jews and the Georgian Jews began establishing contact with each other, but relations were strained. Georgian Jews viewed the Ashkenazim as godless and secular, while the Ashkenazim looked down on the Georgian Jews.

Zionism was the only uniting cause for the two groups, and Ashkenazim joined Zionist organizations and began to spread their ideas to the Georgian Jewish communities. In 1897, the first Zionist organization was established in Tbilisi. On August 20, 1901, the First Congress of Caucasus Zionists was held in Tbilisi. Rabbi David Baazov led Georgian Zionism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1903, Baazov attended the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel. In 1918, the All-Jewish Congress in Tbilisi took place and included representatives from every Georgian and Russian Jewish community in the country, except for Kutaisi, which had become the center of Anti-Zionist activity.

Orthodox leaders, the Hakhams, also fought against the spread of Zionism in the Georgian Jewish communities.

Beginning in 1863, groups of Jews began making aliyah, mostly for religious reasons. By 1916, 439 Georgian Jews lived in Palestine, mostly in Jerusalem near the Damascus Gate. Very few hakhams immigrated to Israel due to their staunch Anti-Zionist stance, and most Jews who made aliyah were poverty-stricken and worked as freight-handlers in Jerusalem.

So, as one can see there is a long history of Israel/Georgian relations. It has also been reported that the number of Jews in Georgia wishing to make Aliyah in the past few days is more than the total of the last full year. What does this tell us? Things are most likely going to get worse before they get any better.

It's also been hinted at by Saakashvili that Israel is continuing to supply military aid, he praises the Israeli weaponry: The president added "the Israeli weapons have proved very effective".

Well, there you have it. Again, make of it what you will. Just don't forget Israel's role in all of this - as it won't be reported on in the North American Dead Tree Press.

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