Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine
GENEVA – U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY CALLS DEMANDS THAT JEWS REGISTER IN ONE CITY IN EASTERN UKRAINE “INTOLERABLE … GROTESQUE” and “GROTESQUE” is putting it mildly.
Oren Dorell, USA TODAY. Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.
Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.
Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia.
The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.
Pushilin acknowledged that flyers were distributed under his organization’s name in Donetsk, but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.
Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media. “They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions,” he said.
The leaflet begins, “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.”
It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership.
The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”
Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship being revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said.
Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet. “We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.
Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.
But the Russian side has used the specter of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner since anti-government protests began in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and its allies in Ukraine issued multiple stories about the the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said.
Those stories were based in part on ultra-nationalists who joined the Maidan protests, and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in Ukraine’s new interim government. But the threat turned out to be false, he said.
Svoboda’s leadership needs to be monitored, but so far it has refrained from anti-Semitic statements since joining the government, he said. And the prevalence of anti-Semitic acts has not changed since before the Maidan protests, according to the ADL and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which monitors human rights in Ukraine. Distributing such leaflets is a recruitment tool to appeal to the xenophobic fears of the majority, “to enlist them to your cause and focus on a common enemy, the Jews,” Salberg said.
And by targeting Donetsk’s Jews, they also send a message to all the region’s residents, Salberg said. “The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you,” he said. “Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line.”
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SHIT. HOW IS THIS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN IN A SO-CALLED CIVILIZED WORLD. Are we – especially the Jews among us but everyone else too – going to just sit back and tolerate this?? Are we willing to tolerate this kind of crap rather than rail and/or rally against it in any way we can. Time to head trouble off at the pass.
To be quite honest, I can’t really, truly and completely grasp and understand exactly what I am reading. Registering themselves and their property as well? That being said, remember that there was lots stolen from the Jews in the World War II era – money, homes, art work, jewellery, etc. – and some of this stuff has never been recovered and/or returned to the families of the victims of these thefts.
One more thing: this whole incident brings to mind the PQ’s charter of values which was presented by Marois’ short-lived government as a means of solving non-existent problems while fostering racism and division in our society.
This is similar to what is transpiring in this Ukrainian town with the Jews being forced to register themselves and their property or face having their goods confiscated, their citizenship effaced, with potential deportation being their final ignominy. The Olga Reznikova person saying that she had not experienced anti-Semitism until the leaflet came out brought to mind some of the small-mindedness that accompanied the issuance of the Drainville Chartre des valeurs.
Do you remember the following incidences of unpleasantness? A man upbraids a hijab-wearing woman on a Montreal bus, telling her to remove her “hat” or the government will force her to do so. A couple of Quebec mosques are vandalized and that idiotic eighty-nine year old Janette lunatic is trotted out to decry the take-over of the swimming pool in her building by so-called rich McGill students with beards. Gimme a fucking break.
There remains one question which requires pondering and that is this: Is it better for the racism that underlies ours and I’m certain most other post-industrial societies to remain hidden, swept under the rug as it were, or is it more advantageous for something to happen which brings it to the forefront so that we can recognize it, confront it and finally deal with it once and for all? I believe that the latter is the way to go, by the way because burying something as evil and ugly as racism and keeping it entombed while at the same time allowing it to fester cannot be healthy for the future well-being of any civilization.
Eventually, in the above-mentioned scenario, there will be something – an incident, large or small, which will start a chain of events with dire and extremely dangerous consequences. See also: the forced registration of Jews in Donetsk.
Thanks to Mr. Mark Altman for bringing this to my attention. Your input is appreciated.
What we all need is a good dose of harmony and peace.
Tomorrow: An instructional video on hash-coffee
Wednesday: The plan is for Jerry to play harp with Amanda Marshall on record.
Peace. Really. Give peace a chance.