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Newspaper in Russia’s Jewish Region Stirs Outrage for Pro-Palestine Message

Israel Defense Forces / flickr

An online news outlet in the Russian Far East’s Jewish autonomous district has stirred controversy for speaking out in support of Palestine following the deadly Hamas militant attack on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip.

A banner on Nabat’s homepage reads “No to the aggression of the Israeli military against the Gaza Strip! Freedom to the people of Palestine!”

Nabat, which describes itself as an independent “socialist” online newspaper, is based in the regional capital of Birobidzhan some 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

In an opinion piece published Friday, Nabat editor-in-chief Vladimir Sakharovsky said the publication has started receiving threats for its “principled position against the imperialist aggression of the Israeli military.”

“We won’t remove or delete anything,” wrote Sakharovsky, who also serves as a deputy in Birobidzhan’s city legislative assembly.

He stressed that Nabat is “in no way endorsing Hamas atrocities.”

“[Nabat expresses solidarity] not with terrorists and Islamic radicals, but with ordinary people who… endure periodic aggression from the Israeli military.” 

He characterized Nabat’s critics as “those who once traded the Far East for the Middle East in search of paradise, as well as adherents of Zionist propaganda.”

Russia’s sparsely populated Jewish autonomous district was established near the border with China by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1928.

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