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    Antisemitic Ukrainian Nationalists Pose Threat to Jewish Community: Israeli Publicist

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    Although the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists have temporarily suspended their attacks on Ukraine's Jewish congregation, afraid of losing the support of the West, sooner or later we will see Jewish pogroms there, believes Avigdor Eskin, a prominent Israeli publicist and political analyst.

    MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – Although the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists have temporarily suspended their attacks on Ukraine's Jewish congregation, afraid of losing the support of the West, sooner or later we will see Jewish pogroms there, believes Avigdor Eskin, a prominent Israeli publicist and political analyst.

    "The situation in Ukraine is monstrous and unthinkable. In the center of Kiev on the Opera Theatre building, a memorial tablet [has been placed] dedicated to Orlyk, the Kievan Commandant in 1941, [during the occupation of Kiev by Nazi Germany] who sent Jews to Babi Yar [a ravine where Jews and others were mass-executed]. [OUN-UPA leaders] Shukhevych and Bandera, monsters of the human race, are being praised as heroes.  Their "heroism" was shown in the mass execution of Jews, Russians and Poles, and Ukrainian youths understand it perfectly well.  Sooner or later, we will see Jewish pogroms in Ukraine. Thus, I call upon the Ukrainian Jews to return home to Israel. And I want to say to their leaders that they will go down in history as collaborators if they do not immediately head my plea," Avigdor Eskin told RIA Novosti.

    Indeed, the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist organizations, particularly the All-Ukrainian Svoboda party, have always been known for their tough anti-Semitic stance. Members of Svoboda, which played a crucial role in the Ukrainian coup of February 2014, claim to be the heirs of Bandera and its Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. It should be noted that in 2011-2012, Svoboda party members held anti-Semitic marches against Jewish pilgrims in Uman, who travelled there during the Jewish holiday season to visit the grave of a prominent Hassidic cleric, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. In 2012, Svoboda lawmaker Igor Miroshnichenko made international headlines when he said that prominent Ukrainian actress Mila Kunis was “not a Ukrainian, but a Yid”.

    Unsurprisingly, when the All-Ukrainian Svoboda party entered the Verkhovna Rada in 2012 with 10 percent of the national vote, Israeli experts on anti-Semitism expressed their deep concerns regarding the elections. Vyacheslav A. Likhachev, an expert at the Eurasian Jewish Congress, said that the "party has a very anti-Semitic core in its ideology," as cited by the Jerusalem Post in 2012. In December 2012, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international human rights organization, included Oleh Tyahnybok among its top ten anti-Semites and haters of Israel.

    Avigdor Eskin notes that currently the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists' aggression is directed against Russia. He adds that Ukraine’s Jewish diaspora is relatively small (about 200,000 people). Since Ukraine’s reactionary forces are afraid of ruining their relations with the West, they have temporarily suspended their attacks on Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and community centers, the analyst says. Although there are some sporadic assaults on Jews, conducted by Ukrainian far-right groups, these cases still have not turned into pogroms, according to Avigdor Eskin.

    Meanwhile the Western media is beating its drums regarding the increasing emigration of Jews from Ukraine, torn by the civil war. Some western media outlets are blaming pro-Russian rebels, accusing them of "anti-Semitism." Avigdor Eskin firmly denies these allegations.

    "The militia and people of Southeastern Ukraine are fighting against fascism. They are inherently not anti-Semitic. The people of Donbas are the bearers of the great idea of Russian liberation. They are the heroes of our times," Avigdor Eskin said, stressing that members of the Israeli Alia battalion had actively assisted the militia of southeastern Ukraine.

    Avigdor Eskin also dismisses the rumors circulating in the social media regarding the involvement of the Israeli military and citizens in the training of National Guard or punitive detachments organized by notorious Ukrainian tycoons.

    "There are no officers of the Israeli Army or intelligence servicemen assisting Kiev's authorities or Ihor Kolomoyskiy [a Jewish Ukrainian tycoon]," the Israeli publicist said, "The laws of Israel exclude such a possibility."

    The Jewish community faces numerous threats, triggered by the civil war and the rise of the ultra-nationalist movement. However, it seems the problem is totally neglected by the Ukrainian authorities and media sources.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Jewish, nationalism, elections, anti-Semitism
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