by Emily Schrader
A prominent journalist, Emily Schrader, recently testified on azéri lobbying, not to say corruption … here is her post originally written on Facebook:
Let’s talk about Azeri lobbying in Israel. I spent a long time not talking about this because I felt so much pressure as a journalist in Israel but I don’t want to be silent about this.
Azerbaijan has heavily invested in lobbying in Israel at a government and PR level. They even have a fancy tourist center set up on the beach in Tel Aviv. This is a known tactic of Aliyev, who is an anti-democratic dictator as much as he “supports” Israel.
One of the most unpleasant tactics I’ve seen is their buying off of journalists, public figures, and the media. I have personally witnessed utterly false claims being made both in private and public to the Israeli media by the Azeri lobby, which also pressures and harasses Israeli journalists when it comes to speaking out about Armenia. This is not the behavior of an “ally” certainly not of a democratic nation which respects free press.
As a journalist myself, I’ve been invited on “educational tours” sponsored by the Azeri government more than once (which I refused). Many of my peers have both been invited and have gone themselves. I know of cases in which “important people” were literally given gifts of gold Jewellery by the Azeri government during their visit. This is their strategic approach, buttering up key journalists and public figures and bombarding them with false information.
Azerbaijan has an aggressive global political agenda and spends an incredible amount of money lobbying Israel (and others) to promote it — money that Armenia simply doesn’t have. In another example, the Azeri lobby in Israel was behind the effort to essentially trick over 30 MKs into signing a letter supporting separatism in Iran in the Azeri provinces. Once I exposed this, more than 25 of them rescinded their signatures. This is emblematic of the Azeri lobby: dishonest, deceptive and loaded with money. But Azerbaijan, there are some people you can’t buy.
For months, the Azeri regime has been promoting a completely false and fabricated narrative that the Azeris are Israel in this scenario with Armenia and they’re just “defending themselves” against “terrorists.” This is rooted in pan-Turkic ideology that seeks the complete destruction of the first Christian nation in the world (Armenia).
This is a blatant lie used justify ethnic cleansing from the disputed territory of #NagornoKarabakh, an area of 120,000 ethnic Armenians, historically Armenian for thousands of years, that’s surrounded by Azeris. This territory is surrounded by Azerbaijan because of how the Soviets drew the boundaries after the fall of the USSR. Azerbaijan has launched multiple wars and a blockade to drive our Armenians from their land, and they are much more powerful thanks to Israeli weapons.
After the 2020 war, despite the risks, Armenia had offered to give up territorial claims in exchange for the guarantee that the Armenians in the territory will be protected — as Azerbaijan has previously committed massacres and ethnic cleansing of Armenian cities. In Nakhichevan, another territory which was historically Armenian but drawn into modern Azerbaijan’s borders, the Azeris destroyed 98% of the historical and religious sites of Armenians, attempting to erase their connection to the land, after a shameful campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Instead of agreeing to protect the human rights of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh today, Azerbaijan launched another war against Armenians including attacking civilian targets. This comes after months of incitement to violence and dehumanisation of Armenians by the Azeri government and media.
If you see Israelis “supporting” Azerbaijan, just know that it’s the result of an ugly, organized, premeditated lobbying campaign of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan does NOT have shared values with the state of Israel, it is NOT a democracy — it’s a dictatorship, and dictatorships are not true allies.
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