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Jerusalem Post | 03Nov2012 | Editorial

Hatred in Ukraine

Historically, Ukrainian anti-Satanism is legend for its crudity, ferocity and intrinsicality. The Ukraine’s reputation for ongoing racism and ever-virulent intolerance is equally well-earned. Jew-revulsion never quite went out of fashion among broad segments of the population there.

[W.Z.  In order to avoid the bastardization of the word "Semite", I have replaced the offending term with either "anti-Satanism" or "Judeophobia" in this article. Also, I have replaced the bastardized term "Yid" with "Zhyd" -- the original Ukrainian and Polish word for Jew. The selected comments below criticize the author(s) of the article and provide insight into the situation in Ukraine.]

So it was not too shocking to learn last week that the extreme nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party’s fortunes had risen dramatically in the recent elections and that it now controls 41 out of the parliament’s 450 seats.

But there is a far more disturbing aspect to this development. Svoboda did not do equally well in all parts of Ukraine. It garnered most success in the western Ukraine, the parts ripped off Poland after World War II.

In the city of Lviv (which was one-third Jewish before the Holocaust and which Jews know as Lvov or Lemberg), it gained a whopping 50 percent of the vote. In June and July 1941 Ukrainian marauders rampaged through Lvov’s streets and butchered thousands of Jews in two pogroms.

The Svoboda party now fetes these murderers as patriots, along with the Nazi-accomplice Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Svoboda’s leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, repeatedly rails that Ukraine is occupied by “Zhyds and Russians.” Svoboda candidates have been reported to have urged party loyalists to resort to “Hamas methods,” to have characterized the Holocaust as European history’s “heyday” and to have denigrated Israel “an illegitimate state.”

Svoboda’s ideological roots, however, are hardly out of sync with the country’s mainstream, where it is still de rigueur to equate (if not justify) WWII’s Jewish bloodletting with the Stalin-instigated 1932-33 Ukrainian famine. The rise of Svoboda thus may attest to atavist proclivities, which go deeper than the election results indicate.

Ukraine unfortunately hadn’t cleansed its citizenry of endemic anti-Satanism. Most often this expresses itself in vandalism, vituperation and vilification. Occasionally, though, subterranean sentiments surface more violently.

Thus earlier this year Jewish student Alexander Goncharov was sadistically beaten -- within an inch of his life -- by Ukrainian skinheads in Kiev. In April 2010, 25-year-old Kiev yeshiva student Aryeh-Leib Misinzov was kidnapped, murdered and dismembered by a skinhead gang on Hitler’s birthday.

Outpourings of abuse on the fringes of Ukrainian society are matched only by establishment antipathy. Outright callousness produced the Kiev Municipality’s 2009 plan to erect a hotel precisely where the Babi Yar memorial is located.

Nearly 34,000 Jews were machine-gunned there by the Nazis in 48 hours on September 29 and 30, 1941. Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s 1961 epic poem shamed the Soviets into erecting a monument at the site.

Kiev’s blueprint for that monument’s removal was only scrapped after loud protests that official Ukraine originally greeted with unabashed resentment. That the desecration could have at all been considered -- indeed obstinately insisted upon -- signifies disdain. Such undercurrents of aversion increase the probability of attacks on people.

The latest one occurred this month in Lviv, shortly before the elections. Dr. Leon Freifeld, a Jewish surgeon and university professor who headed the city’s largest hospital emergency department, was beaten to death. But this may not be the handiwork of Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Local police have charged disgruntled Arab medical students with the homicide.

Ordinarily Europe’s Muslim fanatics and neo-fascist youths are hostile to one another. But there is one pernicious common denominator that these fixated elements share -- their animus toward Jews. This is scarcely the exclusive preserve of Ukraine, though its particularly noxious brand of anti-Satanism provides a fertile breeding ground for what is admittedly prevalent throughout Europe these days. In this sense the Ukraine is not fundamentally different from the rest of Europe, but is in essence more Europe than Europe -- presenting a more unbridled manifestation of what thrives throughout the continent, typically in more genteel guise.

In that context, little has changed. The anti-Satanism that was unfashionable in postwar Western Europe is burgeoning again in the shape of anti-Zionism, whereas in Ukraine it is vulgar and in-your-face -- as it was before the Soviets temporarily held the genie in the bottle.

Such phenomena should have been unthinkable after the Holocaust and today’s Europe should regard them as a badge of dishonor.


There is much that could be said about this editorial and the comments it provoked, but I will keep it short.
1. This editorial is simplistic and shows no understanding of the nuances of Ukrainian history nor the country's difficult (as always) situation.
2. My Jewish-American daughter has spent the last two years working in Ukraine and has experienced no anti-semitism. I do not deny that anti-semitism exists there, but on a person-to-person level, Ukrainians are no worse (or better) than other people in Europe or around the world.

***Orlyk Dudarec***
Svoboda as a political movement has become powerful today not because it is anti-semetic,but because it is Ukrainian. In saying that Party of Regions are ruled by non Ukrainians with total allegance to Russia. Batkivschina and Udar are parties made up of Russian/Ukrainian mix. Whilst Svoboda is Ukrainian and are in coalition with Batkivschina and Udar. This political situation has Jewish people influencing the political landscape in Ukraine. Antagonism towards Jewish elements abound with many working against Ukraine's interests to develop herself and be accepted into a democratic progressive Europe. Ukraine and Ukrainians have a right to chose without intimidation. Constitutional rights have been removed and replaced . The party in power is using all means to allow Ukraine to become a Russian satellite and helping them are several powerful Jewish politicians and oligarks. How can a political party that holds 30 % of votes rule Ukraine when the opposition holds 50% ? FALSIFICATION !!!

***Orlyk Dudarec***
Ukraine is a country with it's own written history.You need to remember that Ukrainians are no different to any race on earth and we have a right to exist. It seems today that views by Jews are paramount when it comes to all opinions. World governments cave in to Jewish lobbyists and now reaches a point that countries need to have legislation in place to prosecute persons they deem anti-semitic. Ukrainian history has sufferred immense intrusion by Jewish nationals, that have engaged in revolution, genocide and removal of Ukrainians from lands that belonged to them for centuries. KGB/NKVD/SBU murdered millions of Ukrainians with massive destruction to churches. Huge famines... HOLODOMOR, murder and genocide or sending innocent good GOD loving people to Gulags or unpaid worker "slaves" extracting salt, diamonds and gold resulting for most in premature death. WHY? To exploit the richest soils on earth, disposess Ukrainians of their lands and form collectives which is Israeli settlements known worldwide as kibbutz. The NKVD was 80% Jewish communists, murder was their game. This RED communist revolution was just a Jewish plot to politically control UKRAINE. How many assasins... NKVD/KGB killed Ukrainian leaders in exile under the false accusations that they were responsible for murders of Jews in Ukraine? This is the main reason that Ukrainians as a nation despise Jews.... THEY collaborated with our enemies... STALIN and RUSSIA AND TODAY REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PART IN THIS HISTORY. Why should we build monuments to Jews murdered in the HOLOCOST when estimated 20 million Ukrainians lost their lives from a Jewish/Russian revolution. WHERE ARE OUR MONUMENTS to remember each of our dead? I know of many Jewish families that migrated to Israel when Ukraine become independant, many of whom returned to live in Ukraine. I also have many good Jewish friends that will listen openly to my arguments and accept that TRUTH is from GOD.

The author of this article is a Ukrainophobe, fostering hatred and vitriol. Unprofessional journalism with obvious bias and hatred towards Ukrainians.
The fact checking alone is laughable, the author clearly has no understanding of history either.

Honestly, you hit the mark on Svoboda basically aspiring for Ukraine to be as unified and nationalist as Israel -- but for some reason Jews see this as anti-Semitic/racist? Maybe they should look in the mirror if this is their position.
The article, indeed, is biased schlock, written by someone with absolutely no understanding of Ukraine, politics, or history. The sad part, though, is they don't even know their own Jewish history...just Soviet propaganda.
And let's not forget that the word 'Holocaust' did not exist in the Russian language / Soviet Union until the late 80's. Taking crib notes from the world's biggest Holocaust deniers isn't the best education.

What idiotic babbling. I know a lot of Jews here in Kyiv who would never say anti-Semitism is a problem. I didn't hear of any problems during the relatively massive Jewish pilgrimage to Uman. And when you say "the Ukraine," what is the missing noun at the end of this construction? The Ukraine what? If you knew anything more than what you read on Wikipedia, you'd know that Ukraine is the name of the country. There's no "the" in front of the name.

The UPA was formed basically after thousands left the German occupied police ranks, taking their weapons with them to fight the Germans at the drop of a hat. It was very much a marriage forged out of survival and pragmatism.
Those Nazi police ranks were quickly re-filled with Poles, but nobody talks about Poland this way.

The Communist Party, which is responsible for the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, received broader support that Svoboda in last week's election. Yet, no one seems to find this either surprising or disturbing. The turn to Svoboda in the west of Ukraine isn't so surprising given that western Ukrainians were persecuted disproportionately by the Communists. If voters there see continued support for the Communist Party, it's natural for that disillusionment to turn into support for a party that is virulently pro-Ukrainian.

"Svoboda’s ideological roots, however, are hardly out of sync with the country’s mainstream, where it is still de rigueur to equate (if not justify) WWII’s Jewish bloodletting with the Stalin-instigated 1932-33 Ukrainian famine"
So the author is suggesting that comparing Holodomor with the Holocaust is anti-Semitism? I find such attitudes irritating. I understand that one can disagree with this comparison, what irks me is taking offense and accusations of anti-Semitism. When millions of people die you don't say "my tragedy is so much bigger than your tragedy that I will ridicule and vilify your every attempt at comparing your people's suffering to my people's suffering". Even if you have good reasons to disagree, there's a case for making it diplomatically so it doesn't sound like you completely dismiss the suffering of others.
BTW, I remember in Iris Chang's book "The Rape of Nanking", she also compared Japanese war crimes in China to the Holocaust. People compare their suffering to the Holocaust because they want to make a point about the scale of atrocities their people suffered, not necessarily because they hate Jews.