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Saturday, August 13, 2005

 

More on anti-Semitic letter in Ukraine

The Jerusalem Post has more detail on the recent open letter calling for the prosecution of Hasidic Jews in Ukraine:

At the Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv, cultural attache Maksym Osavoliuk said on Wednesday that his government would investigate the incident.

"Our official stance is to fight anti-Semitism and xenophobia as much as possible," he said.

Jewish organizations, meanwhile, warned of a possible escalation in anti-Semitism. Only a few weeks ago in the eastern city of Dnepropetrovsk, two synagogues were vandalized.

Those involved are tied to the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (known in Ukraine by its acronym, MAUP), a sizable college and unabashedly anti-Semitic publishing house. MAUP recently presented a blacklist of "media and organizations who distribute and defend or support Jewish racism, Judeo-Nazism and Jewish organized crime in Ukraine." In June, its conference titled "Dialogue of Civilizations: Zionism as the Greatest Threat to Contemporary Civilization" attracted the likes of white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The letter could revive concerns about Yushchenko's commitment to protecting the country's Jewish population.

According to The Kyiv (Kiev) Post, Yushchenko, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk have previously served on MAUP's board of trustees. Some Jewish groups defended Yushchenko, however, noting that he had gone to Auschwitz for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of its liberation, and that he joins a Kiev synagogue each year to light Hanukka candles.
One of Yushchenko's defenders was Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, who told The Jerusalem Post in March that Yushchenko "is definitely not anti-Semitic, but he is maybe too tolerant of people who are."

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