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Nazis in Ukraine, Hypocrisy Elsewhere, Including Israel

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[6]

Babi Yar Mas­sacre

COMMENT: Address­ing the Knes­set (Israel’s par­lia­ment), Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko recent­ly gave a pro-for­ma apol­o­gy for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Ukraini­ans in the Holo­caust. The fact that he escaped sig­nif­i­cant crit­i­cized in Israel (or any­where else for that mat­ter) for lay­ing a wreath in trib­ute [7] to the OUN/B at Babi Yar speaks loud­ly for the over­whelm­ing hypocrisy con­cern­ing the true nature of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and the forces that brought it into being.

It would be impos­si­ble to exag­ger­ate the role of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions in Ukraine’s “new” gov­ern­ment, with Svo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor deeply involved with that benight­ed coun­try’s mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence estab­lish­ments [8]. Fur­ther­more, the post-Maid­an polit­i­cal land­scape has fea­tured OUN/B par­tic­i­pants such as Roman Svarych [9] (per­son­al sec­re­tary to Ukraine’s World War II col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment chief Jaroslav Stet­sko) serv­ing as an advi­sor to Poroshenko, after hav­ing served as Ukrain­ian min­is­ter of jus­tice under the Yuschenko regime and both Tim­o­shenko gov­ern­ments.

Poroshenko’s gov­ern­ment passed a law crim­i­nal­iz­ing the accu­rate telling of World War II his­to­ry in Ukraine and his gov­ern­ment and intel­li­gence ser­vice have insti­tu­tion­al­ized [10] the fun­da­men­tal revi­sion [11] of Ukraine’s his­to­ry in that con­flict.

[12]

Valen­thyn Naly­vaichenko, head of the SBU (Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice)

Now, Israelis and Ukrain­ian Jews are “shocked, shocked” that a Nazi could get elect­ed major in a Ukrain­ian town or that a mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment could sing songs prais­ing Hitler. They should­n’t be.

Note the ref­er­ence in the sec­ond arti­cle below to the four­teen words [13], mint­ed by Amer­i­can Nazi David Lane, who drove the get­away car in the mur­der of Den­ver talk show host Alan Berg.

“Ukrain­ian Leg­is­la­tor Toasts Adolf Hitler”  [14]by Sam Sokol; The Jerusalem Post [14]; 12/27/2015. [14]

A video of a Ukrain­ian oppo­si­tion law­maker salut­ing Adolf Hitler made its way online this week­end, only days after his country’s Pres­i­dent apol­o­gized for Ukrain­ian col­lab­o­ra­tors’ role in the Holo­caust dur­ing a state vis­it to Israel.

In the video, Arty­om Vitko, the for­mer com­man­der of the gov­ern­ment backed Luhansk‑1 Bat­tal­ion and now a mem­ber of the Rad­i­cal Par­ty of Oleh Lyashko, can be seen sit­ting in the back of a car wear­ing cam­ou­flage fatigues and singing along to a song by a Russ­ian neo-Nazi band extolling the virtues of the Nazi dic­ta­tor.

“Adolf Hitler, togeth­er with us, Adolf Hitler, in each of us, and an eagle with iron wings will help us at the right time,” Vitko sang, salut­ing the cam­era with his water bot­tle as the car’s sound sys­tem blared “Heil Hitler.”

Vitko’s pro-Nazi sen­ti­ments emerged imme­di­ately on the heels of par­ty leader Oleh Lyashko denun­ci­a­tion of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko for for his recent com­ments apol­o­giz­ing or Ukrain­ian com­plic­ity in the Holo­caust.

[15]

Ukrain­ian Aux­il­lary Police, OUN/B Nazi Col­lab­o­ra­tors

Speak­ing before the Knes­set last week, Poroshenko said that “we must remem­ber the neg­a­tive events in his­tory, in which col­lab­o­ra­tors helped the Nazis with the Final Solu­tion.”

“When Ukraine was estab­lished [in 1991], we asked for for­give­ness, and I am doing it now, in the Knes­set, before the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of the vic­tims of the Holo­caust... I am doing it before all cit­i­zens of Israel,” he added.

“This kind of humil­i­a­tion of Ukraini­ans has not been record­ed in our his­tory yet. Dur­ing a vis­it to Israel, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko apol­o­gized for the ‘Ukrain­ian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Holo­caust,’” Lyashko post­ed on Face­book on Thurs­day.

“This is exact­ly sit­u­a­tion if we would accuse Geor­gians and Jews in the Holodomor, appeal­ing to the atroc­i­ties of Dzhugashvili, Beria, Kaganovich, etc,” he said, refer­ring to a mas­sive famine that result­ed from the forced col­lec­tiviza­tion of farms in the Sovi­et Union dur­ing the 1930s.

The Holodomor, as it is known in Ukraine, killed mil­lions and is seen by many in that coun­try as a geno­cide on par with the Holo­caust.

“The Knes­set has not rec­og­nized the Holodomor as the geno­cide of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple. That is a goal for Ukrain­ian author­i­ties vis­it­ing the Holy Land rather than belit­tling Ukraini­ans [and] pro­claim­ing infe­ri­or­ity of his peo­ple on the inter­na­tional lev­el,” Lyashko added.

...

“I would say that this is the rea­son Poroshenko is Pres­i­dent and not Lyashko. Lyashko is a pop­ulist only say­ing what he thinks peo­ple want to hear,” said Ukrain­ian Chief Rab­bi Yaakov Dov Ble­ich.

The Jew­ish com­mu­nity, Ble­ich said, dis­agrees with the pop­ulist politician’s def­i­n­i­tion of humil­i­a­tion, see­ing dis­grace as when “one can­not face up to his­to­ry.”

“Pride is to look back, and learn from mis­takes. No one accused the Ukrain­ian peo­ple of caus­ing or cre­at­ing the Holo­caust. How­ever, the fact is that there were Ukraini­ans who par­tic­i­pated in the mur­der and per­se­cu­tion of Jews. They are wor­thy of con­dem­na­tion.”

“The sight of a mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian Par­lia­ment singing a song prais­ing Hitler, under­scores the extreme­ly deep prob­lem in today’s Ukrain­ian democ­racy regard­ing the ongo­ing efforts in that coun­try (and else­where through­out post-Com­mu­nist East­ern Europe, espe­cially in Lithua­nia, Latvia, Esto­nia and Hun­gary) to rewrite the nar­ra­tive of World War II and the Holo­caust,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter.

“The fact that the Ukrain­ian author­i­ties hon­or groups which active­ly par­tic­i­pated in the mur­der of Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust and glo­rify their lead­ers sends a mes­sage that dele­git­imizes the accu­rate his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive, and paves the way for dis­gust­ing scenes like this one. The Ukrain­ian lead­er­ship should not feign sur­prise or aston­ish­ment, they’re the ones at least par­tially respon­si­ble.”

Ear­lier this year Ukraine’s par­lia­ment has extend­ed offi­cial recog­ni­tion to a nation­al­ist mili­tia that col­lab­o­rated with the Ger­mans dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

How­ever, many Ukrain­ian Jews have appeared rather san­guine, explain­ing that they believe that such moves are more like­ly the result of a need to build up a nation­al ethos and raise up heroes dur­ing a time of con­flict rather than a cel­e­bra­tion of such fig­ures’ anti-Semit­ic atti­tudes. Despite that, such moves have been wide­ly panned by Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions wor­ried about the long term effects of the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of anti-Semi­tes.

Asked about the deci­sion to hon­or such groups, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko told the Post that the gov­ern­ment was pay­ing trib­ute to those who fought for nation­al inde­pen­dence.

“Let’s not try to find the black cat in the black room, espe­cially if there is noth­ing there,” he said.

“Local Jews in Shock after Ukrain­ian City of Kono­top Elects neo-Nazi May­or” by Sam Sokol; The Jerusalem Post; 12/21/2015. [16]

Two months after local elec­tions were held across Ukraine, res­i­dents of the small north­ern city of Kono­top are express­ing shock and dis­may over the behav­ior of new­ly cho­sen May­or Artem Semenikhin of the neo-Nazi Svo­boda par­ty.

Accord­ing to reports, Semenikhin dri­ves around in a car bear­ing the num­ber 14/88, a numero­log­i­cal ref­er­ence to the phras­es “we must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren” and “Heil Hitler”; replaced the pic­ture of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko in his office with a por­trait of Ukrain­ian nation­al leader and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera; and refused to fly the city’s offi­cial flag at the open­ing meet­ing of the city coun­cil because he object­ed to the star of David embla­zoned on it. The flag also fea­tures a Mus­lim cres­cent and a cross.

Svo­boda, known as the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine until 2004, has been accused of being a neo-Nazi par­ty by Ukrain­ian Jews and while par­ty lead­ers have a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Semit­ic remarks, their rhetoric has toned down con­sid­er­ably over the past years as they attempt­ed to go main­stream.

While it man­aged to enter main­stream pol­i­tics and gain 36 out of 450 seats in the Rada, Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, the party’s sup­port seemed to evap­o­rate fol­low­ing the 2014 Ukrain­ian rev­o­lu­tion, in which it played a cen­tral role. It cur­rently holds six seats in the leg­is­la­ture.

The par­ty man­aged to improve its stand­ing dur­ing recent munic­i­pal elec­tions, how­ever, obtain­ing some 10 per­cent of the vote in Kiev and gar­ner­ing sec­ond place in the west­ern city of Lviv. For the most part, how­ever, Svo­boda is far from the major wor­ry for Ukrain­ian Jews that it was only two years ago.

“It is a sad, but a real­ity when anti-Semi­tes are being elect­ed in local gov­ern­ing bod­ies, even may­ors pro­mot­ing hate and intol­er­ance.

Kono­top is a clear case,” said Eduard Dolin­sky of the Ukrain­ian Jew­ish Com­mit­tee.

For the Jews of Kono­top, how­ever, wor­ries per­sist, with Ilya Bezruchko, the Ukrain­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the US-based Nation­al Coali­tion Sup­port­ing Eurasian Jew­ry, say­ing he believed res­i­dents, who gen­er­ally get along well with local Jews, vot­ed for Semenikhin because he pro­jected an image of some­one who could bring change and reform a cor­rupt sys­tem.

How­ever, Semenikhin him­self has a his­tory of fraud, hav­ing been arrest­ed for pos­ing as an elec­tric­ity com­pany work­er in order to extract pay­ments from busi­nesses in Kiev in 2012, Bezruchko charged.

Bezruchko, whose late grand­fa­ther was the head of the com­mu­nity and whose moth­er cur­rently works for the city coun­cil, said Semenikhin and his assis­tant have left angry com­ments on his Face­book page in response to crit­i­cal arti­cles that the Jew­ish activist had post­ed on his blog.

He claimed that some­one close to the may­or claimed that he would be hos­pi­tal­ized if he returned to the city from Kiev, where he cur­rently lives, and that the may­or him­self post­ed to say that his moth­er was cor­rupt and should be fired from her job.

“The reac­tion of [the] com­mu­nity is shock. Peo­ple are shocked it could hap­pen in [a] city and nobody believed it could hap­pen here but it hap­pened some­how,” com­mu­nity activist Igor Nechayev told The Jerusalem Post by phone Mon­day.

While there have been a cou­ple of instances of anti-Semit­ic graf­fiti over the past decade and one occa­sion­ally hears ref­er­ences to con­spir­acy the­o­ries iden­ti­fy­ing Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal lead­ers as Jews, for the most part, rela­tions between the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and their non-Jew­ish neigh­bors are cor­dial, he said.

How­ever, while the may­or attempts to make sure his state­ments nev­er cross over into out­right anti-Semi­tism, many things he says can be inter­preted in such a way, he con­tin­ued. As an exam­ple, he referred to a recent state­ment by Semenikhin in which the may­or refused to apol­o­gize for anti-Jew­ish actions tak­en by far-right nation­al­ists in World War II, inti­mat­ing that it was because those respon­si­ble for the Holodomor famine of the 1930s were large­ly Jew­ish.

The Holodomor was a man­made famine that came about dur­ing the col­lec­tiviza­tion of agri­cul­ture in the Sovi­et Union and which led to the starv­ing deaths of mil­lions. Ukraini­ans con­sider it a geno­cide.

“The com­mu­nity is dis­cussing the sit­u­a­tion and they under­stand that the may­or is bal­anc­ing between anti-Semi­tism— – he isn’t cross­ing a red­line with state­ments but say­ing bor­der things that can be under­stood as anti-Semit­ic,” he explained.

...

Speak­ing to the Post, Vyach­eslav Likhachev, an anti-Semi­tism researcher affil­i­ated with the Vaad of Ukraine and the Euro-Asian Jew­ish Con­gress, said “Ukraini­ans are afraid of the Russ­ian threat, not the threat of nation­al rad­i­cal­ism,” and that “Semenikhin has suc­cess­fully cre­ated him­self an image of a defend­er of Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence, and vot­ers were able to sup­port him, not pay­ing atten­tion to the rad­i­cal­ism of his views.

Unfor­tu­nately, Likhachev said the cur­rent Ukrain­ian leg­is­la­tion does not allow to for­bid those with right-wing views to take part in the elec­tion, or to remove them from the elect­ed posi­tions.

“The spe­cial anti-com­mu­nist and anti-Nazi law says about ban­ning the sym­bols of the Nation­al Social­ist (Nazi) of the total­i­tar­ian regime, which includes sym­bols of the Nazi Par­ty and the state sym­bols of the Third Reich only,” he said. It is impos­si­ble to inter­preted in legal terms sym­bols like 14/88.”

(It is impos­si­ble with­in the scope of this post to cov­er our volu­mi­nous cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis. Pre­vi­ous pro­grams on the sub­ject are: FTR #‘s 777 [17]778 [18]779 [19]780 [20]781 [11]782 [21]783 [22]784 [23]794 [13], 800 [9]803 [24]804 [25], 808 [26]811 [27]817 [28]

818 [29]824 [30]826 [31]829 [32]832 [33]833 [34]837 [35]849 [36]850 [37]853 [38]857 [39]860 [10]872 [40]875 [41]876 [42]877 [43]Listeners/readers are encour­aged to exam­ine these pro­grams and/or their descrip­tions in detail, in order to flesh out their under­stand­ing.)