Category Archives: Ukraine

Election of Jewish Prime Minister doesn’t immune Ukraine from anti-Semitism

They may have elected Volodymyr B. Groysman as their first Jewish Prime Minister but that doesn’t immune Ukraine from the evil of anti-Semitism.

The mayor of Kiev has now tasked authorities to identify a group of people who were filmed burning an Israeli flag at the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial.

images-1Babi Yar is a ravine near Kiev where between 100,000 and 150,000 of Jews were massacred by the Nazis throughout the Holocaust.

The flag-burning incident is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents targeting the memorial and took place on the occasion of Israel’s national remembrance day for the Holocaust, Yom HaShoah.

“It is intolerable to brutalize the memory of the victims. Especially at the place that which is globally known as one of the symbols of a terrible crime of fascism, at Babi Yar, where tens of thousands of people of different nationalities, the majority of them Jewish, were killed,” Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a statement.

 

Ukrainian hotel refuses to take bookings from “Jews”

Every year, tens of thousands of Jews make a pilgrimage to Uman, a central Ukrainian city where the Ohel of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is situated. Buried there after his passing in 1810, the main pilgrimage is every Rosh Hashana, when tens of thousands of Hasidim flock to the city.

uman62072Despite the influx of Jews being good for the Uman economy, there is the inevitable anti-Semitism, which has even manifested itself in violence.

However, in the latest anti-Semitic twist, an Israeli who tried to book at the Uman Plaza Hotel, received this message back via the online booking agent, Booking.com:

uman-plaza

 

“Sorry, but we do not accommodated (sic) Jews”

When challenged over this disgraceful behaviour of the hotel, Booking.com provided a shockingly bland Twitter statement saying it, “Does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.We actively support the affected customers. Booking team.”

uman-plaza4-690x378What does that mean? Have they immediately stopped allowing the Uman Plaza to trade via their account? Have they insisted the hotel management apologise and investigate the matter?

This is far too serious a matter to be providing such nondescript answers.

‘Kill the Jews’ painted on Ukrainian synagogue

Vandals have daubed “kill the Jews” on a synagogue in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy. In a separate incident, unidentified persons torched a wreath that an Israeli cabinet minister had placed for Holocaust victims in Kiev.

The incident involving a synagogue was discovered on Wednesday in Cherkasy, Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, wrote on Facebook. In addition to spray-painting the message of incitement to violence against Jews on an external wall, the perpetrators wrote: “Jews annexed Ukraine.”

The vandals used the word “zhyd,” which many Ukrainian Jews consider derogatory.

Eduard Dolinsky
Eduard Dolinsky

Dolinsky sarcastically described the inscription as “traditional congratulations for Purim.”

On Tuesday, Dolinsky wrote that the wreath placed earlier this month by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Babi Yar Holocaust monument had been torched hours after she left it there. The attack was the seventh case of vandalism against the monument since 2015. During the Holocaust, Nazis and local collaborators killed 50,000 Jews there.

Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations of anti-Semitism since relations between the countries deteriorated in 2014. That year, protesters brought down the government of former president Viktor Yanukovych, whom critics said was a corrupt Kremlin stooge.

Russia reacted by annexing the Crimea from Ukraine, citing a need to protect minorities, including Jews, from post-revolution Ukraine, which Russia said was led by anti-Semitic fascists. Denying and mirroring the accusation, Ukraine’s new government accused Russia of oppressing its minorities.

In both countries, the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported annually is lower than 50 — a figure which is more than 10 times lower the data from France and Britain.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Ukrainian Jews flee to Israel over anti-Semitism amid war

Reported in The Jewish Voice: Over 100 Ukrainian Jews fled war-torn Ukraine and arrived in Israel on Tuesday. Many Ukrainian Jews have been leaving their country of birth due to violence and frequent anti-Semitic attacks. They were assisted by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), which has been spearheading a project of bringing Jews to Israel from countries engulfed by war.

Sisters Marina and Alexandra Prokopovych, aged 17 and 15 respectively, were among the new immigrants who arrived in Israel. They had lived in the small suburb of Rakytne. Both were severely beaten at their high school in what began as a nationalistically-motivated attack, but which spilled over into overt anti-Semitism.

IFCJ Director of Communications Tali Aronsky told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the girls were called “separatists” and “Zhids” [Jews] prior to the assault because they spoke Russian instead of Ukrainian.

“The girls sustained serious injuries as a result. One suffered concussions and had to get stitches. Even the teachers joined in the beating. The father remembers similar things that happened when he was younger, but he decided that it was time to leave when it happened to his daughters,” she said.

Dmytro Prokopovych, the girls’ father, also remembers that he had switched schools three times due to his ethnicity. He himself suffered fourteen concussions from similar attacks during his childhood and he maintains that anti-Semitism is still very prevalent in post-Soviet Ukraine.

“I recently discovered that my family’s real surname is Evenbach and not Prokopovych. It was my grandfather’s surname. My father would not be admitted to university with this surname in Soviet times so he changed it to his mother’s maiden name,” Dmytro recalls.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

IFCJ founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein decided that efforts to rescue Jews in countries with prevailing anti-Semitism were insufficient. The IFCJ then began actively searching for Jews suffering in countries affected by war. Many of the immigrants receive additional funds since they were forced to leave behind homes that have become essentially worthless due to the conflicts.

“We don’t wait for the Ukrainians to call us up. We go to them and we also give them more support. We offer them $1,000 per family and $500 for every child in addition to what they get from the government,” Aronsky told TPS.

The new immigrants will be given guidance and career advice. Aronsky said that the organization has also reached out to other countries such as Venezuela, Uruguay, Turkey, and even several Arab countries and has managed to bring some 2,355 Jews to Israel. Aronsky was unable to divulge the identities of the Arab countries due to security concerns for the Jews involved.

Latest AntiSemitismWatch.com global update

coollogo_com-23172872In the latest of our well received global news round-ups:

 

Poland: The city of Olkusz in southern Poland has decided to set up security at its Jewish cemetery and build a high wall around the site after an Israel Hayom report exposed vandalism and anti-Semitic graffiti defacing some of the headstones.

Israel Hayom reported on April 7 that the old Jewish cemetery in Olkusz had been the target of vandalism. Dozens of headstones were smashed, some were burned, and others were sprayed with graffiti, including the Polish words for “Jews out.”

The report sparked a backlash in Poland, where many expressed anger that the cemetery was unprotected. When the criticism reached Olkusz Mayor Roman Piasnik, he announced that the situation was unacceptable and decided to take immediate action to protect the cemetery from anti-Semitic gangs.

Read more here.

France: French police are investigating an attack on a 53-year-old Jewish man on his way out of synagogue Saturday afternoon, the French edition of The Local reported Monday.

One of three assailants pulled out a knife and the others urged him to stab the Jewish man, saying, “Go on, stab him, Jew,” the victim of the attack told Le Parisien. The incident took place as the man was leaving the Saint-Ouen synagogue in the Seine-Saint-Denis area, north of Paris.

The victim, who owns a supermarket and has lived in the area for 15 years, told the French media the first assailant went for the knife after repeatedly calling him a “dirty Jew” and spitting at him.

Read more here.

Ukraine: The head of the European Jewish Congress donated $100,000 to strengthen Jewish communal security in Kiev, the country’s chief rabbi told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Speaking by phone, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich thanked EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor for the grant, which he said has allowed for constant coverage of institutions in the Ukrainian capital.

Kantor has done “great things,” Bleich said, explaining that since the 2013-2014 Euromaidan Revolution “there have been issues and problems, and he was forthcoming in helping the Jewish communities strengthen their security infrastructure and maintain round-the clock security for the schools and synagogues in Kiev.”

“We have gone from the height of insecurity after the [revolution] to a very calm and serene atmosphere where parents feel safe sending their children to school and where young people feel safe coming to synagogue because of the security that we have implemented,” he said.

 

 

Read more here.

USA: As tension between religious groups grows throughout the world, one community in Southern Bronx is trying to bring more peace between the various faiths by joining together to renovate a synagogue.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim volunteers recently came together to restore the “Shul in the Mosque,” a synagogue housed inside of a mosque, located in an area of the Bronx that is home to an Islamic community, according to CBS News.

The doors between the communities opened when Young Israel Congregation was hosting a drive for needy families a few years back, and Masjid Al-Iman founder of Sheikh Moussa Drammeh offered a donation.

The Parkchester neighborhood was once Jewish, but over the years the dynamic has changed due to an influx of African immigrants. Drammeh is also originally from Gambia.

The synagogue and mosque were both in dire need of repair. This encouraged friend Rabbi Bob Kaplan, founder of the New York City Center and Coalition of the Jewish Community Relations, and Drammeh to unite the community. The goal was to teach volunteers and witnesses the value of shared space and working together with other religious cultures.

“We decided to bring together students from the Riverdale Y, from the synagogue, from the mosque here, and from Manhattan College to come together – Christians, Jews and Muslims coming together to make a more beautiful place for folks to pray in,” Kaplan said.

As one volunteer said to News 12, “We live in a time of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and what today could be seen as ordinary becomes special because it’s against that horrific backdrop.”

 

 

Read more here.

ASW Examines…… Consequence of Antisemitism in Europe

coollogo_com-23172872ASW previously reported that in response to the rising tide of Antisemitism, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for mass immigration into the country particularly from Europe. This solicitation  was reinforced by a $46 million plan to facilitate the absorption.

ASW further posted that no doubt taking their cue from the Prime Minister, Israel’s Foreign Ministry claimed that the Jews of Europe had been “abandoned” making a mass Jewish migration “inevitable”.

Interestingly, Aliyah (Jewish immigration into Israel) figures just released suggest that such a move is already underway. 2014 saw more immigrants arrive in Israel than at any other time in the last 10 years, a 32% increase on 2013.

More telling is that for the first time France tops the list of countries of origin since the establishment of the State.

Other European countries with increase rates of Aliyah are:

– United Kingdom, 20% increase

– Italy, 50% increase

– Russia, 100% increase from 2013

– Ukraine, immigration has tripled since the start of the conflict.

Aliyah from Latin America and from the USA remained stable.

ASW16The Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, expects another immigration record for the current year: “We expect that some 10,000 new immigrants will come from France alone next year, and we will surpass 30,000 immigrants from around the world.”

While some European Jewish community leaders have loudly and robustly criticized Netanyahu’s approach, the real question, in light of the above news, is whether they are the ones out of touch with the reality of the strength of community feeling and reaction to the growth of Antisemitism?

Have you made Aliyah or thinking about doing so? Let us know your story.

Ukraine conflict and Antisemitism

coollogo_com-23172872

As the fighting in eastern Ukraine continues to escalate, one of the overlooked aspects of the conflict is the presence of anti-Semitism. The separatist forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics have long claimed to be at war with a fascist regime in Kiev, yet they count among their ranks volunteers pulled from the Russian far right, people often much closer to fascists than anyone in the Ukrainian government.

Alexander Zakharchenko, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic announced on 2nd February, a mass mobilization in the de facto republics. He disparagingly called the current regime in Kiev, “Jewish”. More specifically, he referred to the supposedly Jewish Ukrainian leaders as “miserable representatives of a very large, great nation.” He described this situation as farcical — Jews who “have never held a sword in their hands” commanding Cossack warriors — and suggested that Ukraine’s historic heroes would turn over in their graves if they caught wind of this.

The Donetsk leader was clearly attempting to tap into Ukraine’s latent anti-Semitism, a prejudice that historically has been endemic to the Eastern European region.

In April 2014, several masked men waving Russian flags and claiming to represent the separatists gathered near a Donetsk synagogue to hand out fliers ordering local Jews to register with the separatist authorities or face deportation.

Read  Matthew Kupfer’s full report here.