Ukraine Attacks Journalists Who Reported Israeli Weapons Flow to Its Neo-Nazi Militia

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel has attacked Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal by name and indirectly implicated this writer, Grayzone contributor Ben Norton, for reporting on Israel’s arming of Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

While the Ukrainian government has falsely accused us of spreading “fake news,” it has ironically spread fake news itself, incorrectly alleging that Blumenthal has been writing under the pseudonym “John Brown” — based on a “quick search on the internet.”

The Ukrainian government has also denied that Israel has armed Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militia the Azov battalion, even after Azov posted a video on its own YouTube channel showing it using unmistakably Israeli weapons.

On June 10, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel published an open letter to Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of the major Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Kiev condemned Haaretz for publishing a June 9 news report titled “Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine.”

Посол України в Державі Ізраїль 🇺🇦 Геннадій Надоленко спростовує fake news в ізраїльській 🇮🇱 газеті “Haaretz”.
The Ambassador of Ukraine 🇺🇦 to the State of Israel 🇮🇱 Hennadii Nadolenko refuted fake news in the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz".

— Ukr Emb in Israel (@UKRinIsrael) July 10, 2018

The Haaretz article was written by John Brown, a pen name used by an Israeli writer. The piece reported that more than 40 human rights activists filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice calling for an end to Israeli weapons exports to Ukraine.

The article is very similar to a report published on July 4 at The Electronic Intifada. That explosive exposé by journalist Asa Winstanley documented how far-right extremists from the neo-Nazi militia the Azov Battalion have been using Israeli Tavor rifles in the field.

Although the John Brown article in Haaretz repeated many of the same facts cited by Winstanley, Brown had also tweeted on July 3 — before the Electronic Intifada piece was published — that he had been working on a piece about the selling of Israeli weapons to neo-Nazis.

Blumenthal has reported on the plague of neo-fascism and Nazism in post-Maidan Ukraine for years; however, he did not write either of these stories.

Despite a total lack of evidence, Kiev decided to implicate Blumenthal in an intricate conspiracy, by pointing to an interview he conducted with me on June 6 at The Real News Network, in which we discussed how both Israel and the United States have armed neo-Nazis in Ukraine. (This was part of a two-part interview with Blumenthal; the other was on his video report on the US Congress inviting Ukrainian fascist Andriy Parubiy to speak.)

The fact is, John Brown and Max Blumenthal are not the same person. Yet this inscrutable nuance escaped the Ukrainian government, which immediately jumped to conclusions and accused Blumenthal of being the secret writer.

How did Ukraine come to this outlandish conclusion? According to its ambassador to Israel, Hennadii Nadolenko, it conducted a “quick search on the internet.”

In his letter to the Haaretz editor-in-chief, Amb. Nadolenko pointed to the report in the Electronic Intifada (by Winstanley, not Blumenthal), as well as Blumenthal’s interview with me at The Real News.

With his non-existent evidence in hand, Nadolenko concluded, “This suggests that Max Blumenthal is hiding behind the pseudonym of John Brown, attributed to the authorship of the mentioned article republished by ‘Haaretz.’”

The Ukrainian embassy tweeted a copy of the letter, which it characterized as a refutation of so-called “fake news.” Kiev also published it on the official Ukrainian embassy website.

This farcical attempt at connecting-the-dots surprised both Brown and Blumenthal.

כבר קרו לי דברים מוזרים, אבל זו פעם ראשונה ששגרירות מדינה זרה ממציאים לי זהויות.

— John Brown (@brown_johnbrown) July 10, 2018

For starters, the idea that Haaretz would even let Blumenthal submit such a piece is quite comical, given that the liberal Zionist Israeli newspaper has published dozens of articles maliciously smearing Blumenthal, and has printed lie-filled screeds attacking me as well.

Moreover, the Ukrainian embassy’s insistence that “since 2014 there was no weapon supply to Ukraine from Israel, and in particular to Azov battalion, as well as no plans for such cooperation in the foreseeable future” is simply bizarre.

As Asa Winstanley noted in his report at the Electronic Intifada, the Azov battalion itself published a video on its official YouTube channel showing a member using two Israeli Tavor rifles. This is a uniquely Israeli weapon that, with its distinctively thick stock, cannot be confused for any model from any other country.

The language in the Ukrainian embassy’s letter deserves careful examination, as it is in the twisting of language where Kiev attempted to conceal the shocking reality.

Ukraine insisted that “there was no weapon supply to Ukraine from Israel.” But as Winstanley pointed out, “The weapons are assembled in Ukraine, but made under licences from Israel Weapons Industries, approved by the Israeli defence ministry.”

Here is my latest story: Israel is arming the Azov Battalion, one of Ukraine's most heavily armed and violently anti-Semitic Nazi militias

— Asa Winstanley (@AsaWinstanley) July 5, 2018

Winstanley added, “Israel’s interior minister Aryeh Deri met with Ukrainian interior minister Arsen Avakov last year — Avakov is well known to be the government funder and patron of the neo-Nazi militia Azov.”

This story is wild: Azov even has a "review" video of two models of Israel's "Tavor" rifles on its Nazi @YouTube channel. The weapons are assembled in Ukraine, but made under licences from Israel Weapons Industries, approved by the Israeli defence ministry.

— Asa Winstanley (@AsaWinstanley) July 5, 2018

“The Ukrainian govt claims that I’m hiding behind the pseudonym ‘John Brown’ to expose how Israel is arming its neo-Nazi Azov Battalion,” Blumenthal tweeted.

“They’re correct that I’m a John Brown fan, but I do all my work exposing the Nazis in their ranks under my own name.”

Human rights activists petition Israeli high court, demanding Israel stop arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine. This is an excellent survey of the fascistic, #GloryToUkraine-chanting plague burrowing within the heart of the country’s military and political system:

— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) July 10, 2018

The Ukrainian govt is also correct that @AsaWinstanley and @intifada deserve the ultimate credit for bringing the story about Israel arming its neo-Nazi Azov Battalion to light. There are photos of Israeli Tavors and Defense Ministry records to prove it.

— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) July 10, 2018

Top Photo | A photo of the Azov Battalion – a regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine. (Photo: Twitter)

Source | Grayzone Project

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