Rising Anti-Semitism, Ultra-nationalism in Ukraine Raises Concerns – Newsmax

Posted By on July 24, 2017

Non-governmental organizations, civil libertarians, and business leaders warn that Ukraine appears to be sliding toward an increasingly nationalistic, anti-Semitic era characterized by hooliganism, threats, and i,n some cases, outright violence to Jews.

The precise degree of the cultures drift toward a nationalism bordering on fascism -- with a strong anti-Jewish drift -- is difficult to determine. The situation there has been clouded by Russias recent invasion and annexation of Crimea, an act that has drawn support for the Kiev government across Europe and the United States.

But the Simon Wiesenthal Center has complained about the growing anti-Semitism in Ukraine and filed several protests in recent months over the direction this nation of 42.5 million souls appears to be taking.

In May, anti-Semitic Facebook posts attributed to a retired Ukrainian general, Vasily Vovk, shook Ukrainian society and triggered alarm bells in democratic nations around the globe.

I am completely against Jews, Vovk stated. You are not Ukrainians and I will destroy you along with Rabinovich.

Rabinovitch is believed to be a reference to the respected Jewish Ukrainian businessman and politician, Vadim Rabinovich. The promise to destroy Jews generally recalled the dark era of Nazi persecution and the Holocaust.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to that broadside with a letter to Ukraines ambassador to Israel, urging the Ukrainian government to send a clear message that in democratic Ukraine there will be no tolerance whatsoever for anti-Semites and bigots of any type.

The ADL joined calls for Vovk, who holds a senior reserve rank with Ukraine security forces, to be fired.

Concern over rising anti-Jewish bigotry in Ukraine escalated further with the news the Ukrainian capital of Kiev intended to name city streets after Ukrainian nationalists Stefan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych.

According to the Wiesenthal Center, Bandera was a nationalist who at one point cooperated with the Nazis. Shukhevych was a general for the WWII-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which has been linked to ethnic cleansing in Nazi-occupied Poland that resulted in at least 76,000 deaths.

The Weisenthal Center responded that We absolutely oppose and condemn any attempt to turn murderers in the service of the Nazis into Ukrainian heroes. Such a policy is not only an insult to the memory of their innocent victims, but an affront to human dignity and historical truth.

As with much of Europe, anti-Semitism has waxed and waned for centuries in Ukraine, where Jews have periodically suffered pogroms, assaults, and persecution.

Based on recent events, watchdogs fear Ukraine may be slipping into another phase of bitter intolerance. Among the incidents underlying those concerns:

Alan Dershowitz, the famed constitutional attorney, has strong ties to Ukraine and follows events there closely. He told Newsmax that anti-Jewish bigotry once again appears to be on the rise in Ukraine.

Ukraine was among the worst areas of anti-Semitism throughout modern history, Dershowitz tells Newsmax, particularly in the western Ukraine. It abated -- there was kind of a moratorium on anti-Semitism more or less from the end of the Holocaust, to fairly recent years.

Were seeing the return of classic anti-Semitism, coupled with hyper-nationalism. With hyper-nationalism also comes denial of complicity in the Holocaust. So were seeing a lot of Holocaust denial in these areas.

Dershowitz blames the current anti-Semitic trend on the rise of nationalism and populism.

I think its dangerous, he says of the growing Ukrainian anti-Semitism. I dont think its Holocaust-dangerous. I dont think its likely to lead to the kinds of acts of silence on a broad governmental scale, because the governments today would stop that.

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