Avigdor Eskin And The National Question In Israel
the hard right Israeli activist, is a fascinating
Eskin, who makes his living consulting for
companies that do
business with Russia, has been an ally of
1980s` American conservatives, Russian nationalists, and
Afrikaner rights activists.
He has been attacked and harassed by both the
Soviet KGB and the
Israeli Shin Bet for his activities.
He is probably the only Zionist activist who has
been declared persona non grata and deported from
America. He`s a case study of the National
Question—whether a nation, an ethnocultural entity, can
find political expression in a state—in a particularly
Eskin was very enthusiastic about
explaining his views to me, and about introducing
himself to VDARE.com readers, who will certainly find
him of interest.
Avigdor Eskin was born in 1960 at
the height of
Soviet power and raised in a secular
Moscow Jewish family.
But at the age of
eleven, Eskin began covertly to listen to the
"Voices"—Western radio stations like the
Voice of America, Voice of Israel, and the BBC
Russian service (then and even now largely free of the
politically-correct toxicity of its English-language
Eskin began attending synagogue soon afterwards,
becoming interested in religion under the influence of a
Ukrainian Catholic friend.
The young Avigdor became an Orthodox Jew and a
dedicated Zionist activist determined to leave the
Soviet Union for Israel.
Despite harassment from the KGB,
Eskin persisted in his activism, becoming the youngest
underground Hebrew teacher in Moscow and translating
Rabbi Meir Kahane`s hard-line Zionist manifesto
Never Again into Russian via samizdat.
After years of trying, he was allowed to leave
for Israel in 1978.
Right before he left, Eskin took a trip to the
Kolyma region of Siberia to show his support for the
Iosif Begun, a Russian Jew
exiled there for daring to apply for emigration to
Israel. Eskin now lives in Jerusalem with his wife and
Right after arriving to Israel,
Eskin became active in the late Rabbi Meir Kahane`s
Kach (Hebrew for
"[Only] Thus") political
party which called for the annexation of the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank, Israel`s permanent refusal of
American and any other foreign aid, and the removal or
the Palestinian Arabs from Israel.
The latter part of Kahane`s platform was arguably
the most controversial and still causes discomfort, even
for the traditional Right (e.g. the
response to Robert Locke`s
support of the
Eskin makes the
famously hawkish Deputy Prime Minister
Avigdor Lieberman look like a milquetoast peacenik.
He has even accused Lieberman of selling out,
by coming up
with a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that
involves Israel giving up land for peace—Arab-majority
towns inside pre-1967 Israel for large settlement
blocks, as well as handing over parts of Jerusalem.
Eskin also accuses Lieberman
of being more
concerned about the
standard of living in Israel than maintaining it as
a Jewish state.
Eskin says he does not see anything
"racist" or "inhumane"
about the Transfer. In an email exchange with me, he had
this to say on the issue
"There is no tragedy whatsoever for a person to move
Detroit to Lansing or from
Bradenton to Tampa. So why not to move 30-40 miles
from Hebron and
and to keep living among the same people? Maybe it is
not a convenient, but a very humane solution, because it
spares tens of thousands of killed and wounded."
He also pointed out that the
population exchange between Greeks and Turks in
Thrace, Anatolia, and Cyprus worked reasonably well.
Unlike so many American Zionists,
fight Israel`s wars from
the comfort of an Upper New York East Side penthouse, Eskin
volunteered for combat duty
when he came to Israel.
As a member of an artillery support unit for a
paratrooper detachment, he participated in the 1982
invasion of Lebanon and was wounded in battle against
the PLO and the Syrians on the shores of Lake Qaraoun in
In the 1980s, Eskin visited America
and met the late
Jesse Helms, one of the
most conservative members of the Senate, best
remembered for his vigorous opposition to
race-based quotas (the
"white hands ad" that so infuriated the
Martin Luther King holiday, and the
Originally, Helms was an acerbic critic of
Israel. He demanded that Israel return the West Bank to
Jordan and wanted America to break off diplomatic
relations with Israel after its invasion of Lebanon.
But after befriending Eskin, Helms became a
supporter of Israel, seeing in the Jewish State, an ally
against communism and the
anti-Western Arab regimes.
He visited Israeli settlements in 1985 and became
a dedicated supporter of Israeli control over the West
Bank and Gaza.
It must be emphasized that Eskin,
like his mentor Rabbi Kahane, has always opposed
foreign aid for Israel—from any country—and is
forthrightly critical of America`s current role in the
admires true American conservatives, like Jesse Helms,
but criticizes America for its
globalist, interventionist, Wilsonian foreign
policy, as manifested in the
bombings of Yugoslavia—and in pressure on Israel to
give up land to the Palestinians.
Further, Eskin blames American
liberals, like the loathsome
George Soros, for exporting leftist,
multiculturalist ideas and destroying traditionalist
values all over the world.
As Eskin told me in the same email exchange:
saw in the past and I see today American conservatives
as close allies and dear friends.
Unfortunately, the foreign policy of the USA and
the world policy of economic and pop-culture expansion
are prevailing and not the ideas of American patriots.
But I hope for the day when the school of the
late Jesse Helms will dominate American politics and we
anti-globalist right] will be your real allies."
interview with the Russian ultra-nationalist
newspaper Zavtra ["Tomorrow"], Eskin asserted that the U.S. State Department is
"under the control of the world financial oligarchy"
and that liberalism is like the biblical serpent that
causes man to be immoral and self-centered.
Eskin characterizes the current
multiculturalist consensus as the sign of what is known
in Judaism as the erev rav—"the
great mixing" or
multitude"—a time of widespread immorality and
deracination, when individuals devoid of all tradition
and values are in power.
Avigdor Eskin is also active in the
Eurasia movement of Russian traditionalist conservative
Aleksandr Dugin, whose ideas are strongly influenced
Alain De Benoist of the French New Right.
The Eurasianists believe in an alliance between
traditionalist Christians, Jews, and Muslims (especially
Shiites and Sufis) against the
"Atlanticist" leftist-liberal-neocon ideology represented by the
rulers of America and the EU.
Dugin believes in a greater Russia that will be
closely allied with Iran, to which peripheral
territories like Ukraine, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia
will be annexed.
Dugin`s views led the Hoover Institution`s John
B. Dunlop to
accuse him of
Of course, Eskin, as a committed
Zionist does not agree with all of Dugin`s ideas—for
support for anti-Israel regimes like
Venezuela and Iran.
However, Eskin has always been strongly
pro-Russian. He argues that Israel needs to be more
closely allied to Russia and end its
attachment” to America.
He argues that Israel should deal with America
from the position of a strong independent state, not
that of a heavily subsidized and groveling military
Needless to say, Eskin`s
uncompromising views raised the ire of both Israeli and
Eskin characterizes the current climate in the
"Unfortunately, there is no full freedom of speech in
the West today . . .
The liberals feel their intellectual impotence
those who try to tell the truth."
The Israeli authorities had
harassed Eskin ever since the mid 1990s, when he dared
to criticize the secular saint of Israeli society,
Yitzhak Rabin, and campaigned against the Israeli
surrender of the West Bank and Gaza to Yasser Arafat`s
In 2000, Eskin was declared
persona non grata and deported from the
United States, most likely at the suggestion of the
Israeli government and its American supporters.
Eskin was accused of plotting to bombard the Al Aqsa
mosque with pig heads, to place a pig`s head
on the tomb of Palestinian guerilla
Izzedine Al Qassam who fought against the Jews and
the British in the 1930s, and to set fire to the offices
of a far left Israeli organization, Based on the
allegedly torture-induced, of another rightwing activist
Serbian Jew Damjan Pekovic—Eskin was sent to
jail for two and a half years. [Pig`s
head extremist jailed, BBC, April 16, 1999]
placed in the same cell with a convicted rapist and
an Ethiopian immigrant serving time for beheading his
the first months of his imprisonment, Eskin was forced
to sleep on the floor because the prison administration
claimed they could not find a bunk for him.
After worldwide protests—especially vocal in
Russian nationalist circles e.g. Eskin`s friend
Aleksandr Dugin—Eskin`s prison conditions were somewhat
Even now, Avigdor Eskin is subject
to periodic campaigns of harassment from the Israeli
Eskin is not afraid to acknowledge
the large role Jews have had in leftwing and liberal
He had the following to say on the issue, echoing
the late Rabbi Kahane:
"Most of the Jews in the West are not observant and far
from being ardent Zionists. So, it is natural that a
person who has no national and traditional identity
cannot understand the people who do have it.
The solution is very simple: all the Jews must be
encouraged to go home to Israel."
Recently, Eskin became very active
in the Afrikaner Rights movement led by his close friend
Back in the 1980s, Eskin made a trip to
South Africa and met with members of the Afrikaner
military establishment as part of his campaign to lobby
on behalf of South Africa in Israel.
Israel and South Africa were close allies ever since
the 1960s, during the late 1980s, the Israeli Left
succeeded in turning the Israeli public opinion in favor
Eskin made a ten-day trip to South Africa last year.
He met with
Dan Roodt and other
Unlike other supporters of
Afrikaner rights, Eskin makes no secret of his feelings
and is distinctly blunt in expressing them.
He blames Desmond Tutu for "pav[ing] the way
the destruction of the Afrikaner people"
in an interview with
quipped in the same interview that
"It`s true that during apartheid there was separate
public transportation for whites and blacks, but today
transportation only for the blacks.
No white person would dare to get on a bus
won”, May 11, 2010
In his interview with me, Eskin
made this comment about the Afrikaners and today`s South
deeply love the
Afrikaner nation and I can testify that the state of
Israel had no better friend than the White South Africa
. . . My
hope and prayer is to be a part of the future victory of
Eskin, like Dan Roodt, means not the restoration of
White rule, but a separate, sovereign homeland for the
Afrikaners in South Africa.
Unlike many other
rightwing activists, Avigdor Eskin is optimistic
about the future of Israel and the West as a whole.
He concluded his email exchange with me by
inevitable weakening of the Arab world, the end of
American dependence on
Arab oil, and the victory of Israel.
Eugene Girin [email
him] immigrated legally from the Republic of Moldova in
1994 at the age of 10. He has been published by
Front Page Magazine,
Alternative Right and currently