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21.01.2014

Vaad Ukraine condemns efforts to use anti-Semitism for political gain

   

The Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine has issued a statement expressing deep concern over cases of anti-Semitism in January and attacks on a Yeshiva teacher and student leaving the Rosenberg Synagogue on Podil.

“We demand that the police adequately classify the crimes, taking into account motives of racial, national and religious enmity and make all efforts to swiftly and reliably find those responsible. Unfortunately, we are presently unable to say that the work of the police has been satisfactory with respect to any of these points.”

Vaad Ukraine is also disturbed by the questionable information campaign over the attacks. It notes that certain biased journalists and public figures, including some apparently speaking on behalf of the Jewish communities have been trying, without any grounds whatsoever, to link the attacks with the peaceful protests taking place in Kyiv (i.e. EuroMaidan).  Vaad states that the protests are over the country’s leaders’ deception of the public regarding economic and geopolitical integration, and the totally unprovoked and unprecedentedly brutal acts of violence by law enforcement officers against peaceful protesters.

“Blood is indeed being shed on Kyiv streets at the moment, and the anti-Semitic incidents are scarcely noticed against the background of major dramatic events. It seems entirely clear to us that the beginning of the wave of violence on the streets of Ukraine’s capital city lies in the savage beating of protesters in the early hours of Nov 30 last year. It was government bodies who first applied unwarranted force and set in motion the further confrontation which has continued for almost two months. it is they who bear the moral responsibility for the situation which has developed in Kyiv.

Vaad would particularly note that the anti-Semitic attacks were synchronised with the illegitimate adoption, in breach of current norms and regulations, of a package of repressive laws.  A particular place in these is taken by the Russian-modelled and supposedly “anti-fascist” bans on “extremist” activities.  Given that the topic of anti-Semitism is already being actively used in cynical manipulative political campaigns aimed at discrediting the political opposition and civil protest movement, the Jewish community should be especially vigilant.

There are all grounds, unfortunately, for assuming that the authorities will continue to instigate various provocations, which may, as in Cherkasy in April last year, be of a violent nature. There are grounds for concern also in regions of Ukraine, in the first instance in the South and East of the country. In Kharkiv, for example, there have already been cases recording of attacks by activists of neo-Nazi youth formations on participants of the protest movement.

Vaad Ukraine stresses that the authorities bear responsibility for the worsening of the situation in the country, and insists that it is unacceptable to use the issue of anti-Semitism for political purposes.

The statement is signed by Josef Zisels, Head of Vaad Ukraine and of the General Council of the Euro-Asiatic Jewish Congress and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress

Information about the laws passed on Jan 16, including the specific one mentioned in the text, can be found here: Parliamentary Titushkism

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