Israeli publicist and public person Avigdor Eskin in his interview to ArmInfo speaks about the purposes of his visit to Armenia and Artsakh. He talks about geopolitical transformations in the Middle East as a catalyst for trends towards the establishment of Iranian-Israeli relations. He shares his vision of the policy of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, internal and external problems of Azerbaijan, the origin of the pitfalls in the development of relations between Israel and Armenia.
At the Yerevan press conference you identified geopolitical transformations in the Middle East as one of the main reasons for the visit to Armenia and Artsakh. Would you describe the chain of interconnection between the Middle East tendencies, Armenia and, by all accounts, Iran?
After Khomeini came to power in Iran as a result of the Islamic Revolution and people of his circle, they set themselves the task of turning Iran into the leader of the radical Muslim world. For this, they playing with Al-Qaeda, still playing with Hezbollah, Hamas. However, the situation today is that Iran has not become a leader of the Muslim radical world. The latter, on the contrary, turned against Iran. The same Hamas movement, at least for the last 20 years financed by Iran, in Syria fought against Assad and against Iran. And they can see all this in Tehran anyway. Noting the difficulties of changing the policy and rhetoric on the same day, I would note also that all the prerequisites lead to the fact that today there are no essential geopolitical contradictions between Iran and Israel. And the Israelis do not care what kind of regime will be in Iran: the ayatollahs, Zoroastrians or Persian nationalists. Armenia could play the role of a certain bridge, especially due to the presence of a very strong and influential Armenian community in Iran, while maintaining very good, constructive business relations with Iran, which is very important for us. In my opinion, for Israel these relations are not a minus, but a plus. I think that we could talk about this very seriously and in details.
In Yerevan you criticized Ilham Aliyev all out to e dust. That is, you did what is strictly prohibited to do in Azerbaijan, and that, as a rule, ends with being sent to well known in places. I do not think that the only reason for such criticism could become just one Baku meeting of Alexander Prokhanov with the Aliev-Pashaev authorities. What is the real message of your criticism and what are the real problems between Israel and Azerbaijan caused by it?
To my regret, regret when there are business deals in Turkish and Azerbaijani business culture, should it be weapons or oil sales and cooperation at the level of defense ministries, they can be negotiated and cooperated rather efficiently. In the political, compound relations in their culture, for some reason, there is always a need to spoil everything, to try to humiliate one's own partner if not an ally. I still do not understand why Erdogan needed to send a flotilla to the shores of Israel in 2010. I think that Israel's political rapprochement of Israel with Turkey is harmful, and the newly opened Embassy in Turkey is engaged in subversive activity against Israel. As you know, Israel does not have the benefits of such cooperation, and we had very good economic relations when there were no diplomatic relations. The same thing is happening now in Israel's relations with Azerbaijan. At the background of political crisis in Aazerbaijan, unfriendly notes are increasingly heard about Israel. The position of Azerbaijan refusing to open its embassy in Israel until the creation of Israel by Palestinian state as initially incomprehensible. This is the same as if we would refuse to open an embassy in Baku until they create a Kurdish, Tallish and a couple more Armenian states on its territory. We need to start with peace and mutual friendly communication. Azerbaijan has repeatedly invited Russia from the Black-Hundred, fascist-minded figures like Alexander Sevostyanov, emphatically cooperating with people of this kind. This says something, Baku is even ready to forgive Alexander Prokhanov, despite he has described the Azerbaijanis as worthless
And why should Aliev hug against the anti-Semite Prokhanov right now?
Inviting anti-Semite Prokhanov Alexander to Baku, Ilham Aliev wanted to demonstrate independence to Israel and do everything he wanted. And, of course, at the same time favoring Iran somehow. Azerbaijan is currently playing pretty complicated game, and Aliev has now pulled the country into the Sunni world, and his visit to Saudi Arabia was aimed specifically at encouraging Sunnism inA zerbaijan, while he is trying to maintain some kind of relations with Iran and Turkey. He has complicated relations with everyone, but the main thing is that he has a difficult situation inside his own country.
On June 28 at a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Ara Babloyan in Seoul, the speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani said that "Israel's participation in the Karabakh conflict will lead to negative consequences." The Iranian politician also stressed the need to resolve the problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan without external interference. From where do you think the roots of this alarm originate? Do those really rise from your visit to Artsakh?
I think there is really a certain connection with his visit to Artsakh. This statement accurately reflects Iran's position on this issue, but it is rather difficult to hear something more ridiculous than what Larijani said. The people of Artsakh have not seen Israelis for several years and the position of Jerusalem, the side that Israel supports in the dispute over Karabakh, is not even familiar, as they are not familiar on the other side of the line of contact, that is, Jerusalem in general does not participate. Manwhile, relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are always strictly unconcerned in respect to Armenia.
Does not participate or does not seek to participate?
Clearly does not participate. As a person related to Russian media, I can come to Armenia, Artsakh and if I have smart thoughts, I will certainly say them." So far, I try not to say stupidity, because others usually use to tell perfect nonsense
In 2011, in an interview with one of Azerbaijani media, you described the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel as "not proceeding and directly contradicting the interests of the country." Have the interests of Israel changed over the past six years and do you continue to adhere to the position voiced at that time?
I think that only by starting from what the Azerbaijani media are writing about me today, you could refrain from quoting my words from the media. Understand, even correctly quoting A, they will have always crossed B off. In real, my position on the issue Armenian Genocide is very simple. I always said that every normal person knows that hundreds of thousands innocent people, Armenians, died in Turkey on the basis of their ethnicity. And the world knows about it first of all thanks to four people, four pioneers, and they are not Armenians, they are Osip Mandelstam, Henry Morgenthau, Franz Werfel and Raphael Lemkin, and no one has done as many as Jews for the world to know about the tragedy of Armenians. The policy of Armenian state on recognition of the genocide as a political move is erroneous, considering that it was not necessary to do this initially. Noting that no country in the world recognizes Israeli Holocaust at the official political level, Jews never demanded it. It was recognized by Germany and Israel need no more recognition. Instead of establishing any kind of relations with other countries, demanding decisions of a political nature, Armenia requires them only to recognize the genocide." It is not in the interests of these countries and Armenians, instead of lobbying for the recognition of the genocide, to do absolutely other things. You do not know, I will say that there is a powerful Armenian lobby in Israel, it does nothing to bring Israel closer to Armenia, it only lobbies the bill on recognizing the Genocide.I f this law is adopted in real relations between Israel and Armenia, nothing will change. At the same time, personally, I do not stand nothing against this bill. But the topic of genocide, in his opinion, should be properly used. So, Armenians need to raise the issue of genocide when in a country, for instance Ukraine, domestic crisis begins. You must come to Armenian community and say-friend, understand that the genocide already happened in Turkey 100 years ago, it can happen again, return to your homeland. This I think is the right presentation.
Do not you think that today the development of the Armenian-Israeli relations among other things is hampered by external factors as well. First of all by Iran and Russia?
I do not think so. I think that I came to Armenia for an exact reason. And if there are people from Armenian side who wanted to hear me, I think that we will move on. Moreover, the direction is quite clear. The Iranians are well aware that their anti-Israeli policies, their stakes on the extremist, Sunni radical world have failed. All these people are killing them today in Syria. Therefore, enough to live somewhere out there on the moon, you need to start aligning the political line with reality. As for Russia, Israel and Moscow have rather constructive relations both in Syria and other vectors. By the way, it is Russia that could play a positive role in the development of the Armenian-Israeli relations.
What obstacles need to be removed from the path of these relations?
Armenia simply must begin to pursue a more active foreign policy. It's all. People in Armenia who understand what is really happening in the world today, who knows who has what strength and what intention, need simply to sit down and to calculate whether Armenia has any way and reason for cooperation with Israel in one direction or another. For example, think about whether Israel offered Armenia to buy weapons, before selling it to Azerbaijan. And Israel - one of the most powerful, influential countries in the world, is one of the directions that Armenia needs to think about.