"We are in trouble when petty parochialism denies us vital leadership in the midst of a global crisis," commented US representative Alcee Hastings, chair of the bipartisan Helsinki Commission in a statement from Washington.
"Now more than ever, reliable multilateral institutions are needed to forge solutions during and after the current pandemic."
As the only security-focused organisation that involves Russia, the US and other major Western nations – all on an equal footing – the OSCE does have unusual leverage.
But the cracks emerging in its structure form part of a broader decline of multilateralism, as witnessed by institutions like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, whose members also hail from diametrically opposed political camps.
But while the sway of multilateral groupings is weakened, authoritarianism and declining public freedoms are a worldwide problem.
In off-the-record comment to journalists, embassy spokeswoman Adi Farjon said Israel had no interest in full normalization of relations with Germany.
Embassy spokeswoman Adi Farjon made the comments in a closed briefing session with journalists at the embassy.
“We were all in shock,” said a female journalist present at the briefing. “The spokeswoman clearly said it was an Israeli interest to maintain German guilt feelings. She even said that without them, we’d be just another country as far as they’re concerned.”
Others present at the event confirmed the journalist’s account.
Some added that the Israeli ambassador himself, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, was present for some of the briefing, as were other embassy workers who don’t speak Hebrew. Another journalist commented, “It was so awkward. We couldn’t believe our ears. We’re sitting there eating peanuts, and behind the spokeswoman there are two German women sitting there who don’t understand a word of Hebrew – and the embassy staff is telling us they’re working to preserve the German guilt feelings and that Israel has no interest in normalization of relations between the two countries.”
“I don’t remember saying that,” Farjon told Haaretz in response. “I can’t vouch for any particular quote, she added. “It was an off-the-record conversation, a briefing talk. The way I speak with Israeli journalists is a little different. These things aren’t intended to get out. I can’t reveal the principles I work by. For example, I don’t say who I go to in order to get good stories out here, or who I pay for things like that.”
Jeps den måde man taler til sine egne er anderledes end til fremmede. Sandheden plejer at være mere sandsynlig.
Such dynamics are likely to be accentuated further as Russia’s demographics shift in the coming decades. Currently, Muslim communities as a whole make up at least 10% of Russia’s population of 142 million people, which is already 2-3 times the size of the largest Muslim populations in many European countries. However, that number is projected to increase to as much as 30% of the population in the coming decades because birth rates among ethnic Russians (1.3 children per woman) are on average far lower than those of Muslim communities (2.3 children per woman). According to U.N. estimates, Russia’s overall population is projected to decline by nearly 7% by 2050, so Russia’s Muslim population can be expected to continue to grow in both absolute and relative terms.