Natan Sharansky on Today’s ‘Evil Empires,’ the War in Ukraine, Soviet Communism, and the New Antisemitism


“When there is nothing to die for, there is nothing to live for … and that’s why I think that nationalism is a very good word when it goes together with freedom and human rights. The moment you separate them, you’re getting awful dictatorship or empty, shallow, decadent life.”

I sit down with former Soviet political prisoner Natan Sharansky. He is what they call a “refusenik”—a Jew who was once forbidden from emigrating to Israel from the Soviet Union.

“This connection between the desire of people to belong and the desire of people to be free, in Israel is much more full—much more deep—than in any other parts of the world,” says Sharansky.

Sharansky now lives in Israel, where he advocates on behalf of the Jewish people and continues to speak out against the threat of communist and totalitarian regimes.

“Many dissidents, including myself … we were very often upset, and even infuriated, by the readiness of the free world to buy the lies of the communist leaders,” he says.

Sharansky shares his thoughts on Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Israel, and China, and explains his “3D test of antisemitism” and why calling Israel an “apartheid state” is merely a new version of a very old hatred.

“What apartheid? Arabs are sitting on the Supreme Court. In fact, [an] Arab judge sent [an] Israeli president to prison for sexual harassment. And 25 percent of all the doctors are Arab. There is nothing to discuss about,” says Sharansky.

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