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January 20, 2014 5:55 pm

Two Violent Anti-Semitic Attacks Alarm Ukraine’s Jewish Community

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Protests in Ukraine. Photo: Wiki Commons.

JNS.org Two violent anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in Kiev over the course of a week have alarmed the Ukrainian Jewish community. On Jan. 11, two men attacked 26-year-old Israeli teacher of Hebrew and Jewish tradition Hillel Wertheimer after he left a synagogue at the end of Shabbat. He did not suffer serious wounds. On Jan. 18, a 33-year-old yeshiva student from Russia, Dov-Ber Glickman, was also attacked after he left a synagogue.

The men hit Glickman with their fists and their legs. According to the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress General Council (EAJC), the men’s combat boots may have been outfitted with blades. Glickman dragged himself to a nearby ritual bath, where he was discovered and taken to a hospital. In an additional incident, yeshiva students who organized a night patrol Saturday detained a suspicious individual who, according to the students, looked like a skinhead neo-Nazi and was found to possess a detailed plan of the surrounding neighborhood.

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Sam Kliger, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) director of Russian Jewish community affairs, believes the incidents could be a “sinister sign indicating that some are trying to use anti-Semitism in political confrontation in Ukraine.”

When the Maidan protests began in November 2013 against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to freeze plans to join a free trade agreement with the European Union, there was little indication of anti-Semitism among protesters, despite the fact that ultra-nationalist Ukrainian political opposition party Svaboda was participating in the protests.

Yet historically, “in this part of the world, a political confrontation sooner or later starts to exploit the ‘Jewish question’ and to play the Jewish card,” Kliger told JNS.org. “The question is: Who is using it? There are several versions. One of them suggests that some pro-governmental forces are behind the attacks in order to then blame the nationalists and ultra-nationalist groups associated with Maidan protesters to denounce their legitimacy. Yet another version suggests the opposite, namely that some radical groups like neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists are behind the attack, which they then can blame on the government,” Kliger said.

“We at AJC strongly condemn these vicious and dangerous acts of anti-Semitism regardless of what forces are behind them. We call for full investigation and we hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. We shall closely monitor the unfolding political drama in Ukraine, especially in light of recent anti-Semitic attacks,” he added.

The National Conference Supporting Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia (NCSJ) also issued a statement condemning both attacks. NCSJ Executive Director Mark Levin told JNS.org that “no one really knows the full truth” about who is responsible for the attacks.

Levin, however, he was not surprised by the incidents. “Anti-Semitism unfortunately remains an issue in Ukraine. It ebbs and flows,” he said.

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  • Chiam Goldstein

    good goyim

  • Martial

    The “protesters” set a police officer on fire; not even the Egyptians, with far greater grievances with their government, did that. Just watch – there will be more anti-Jewish attacks, as well as attacks on Russian ethnics.

    They had an “orange” revolution that gave them their own country. Then they declared themselves victims of a supposedly intended famine by the Soviets, one which afflicted many other parts of the USSR at the time, a notion rejected by US investigators at the time. Then they celebrated Stepan Bandera, an incredibly foul twentieth century murderer, one so evil as to be designated by Poles as being responsible for a Polish genocide. They decided to arrest, on trumped up charges, a Russian ethnic prime minister. Now, having basically cleansed themselves of Jews (although insufficiently so for their tastes) & proven they can push Russians around any way they want, the only ones left are themselves.

    I once had an online conversation with a Ukrainian. When his statement that he would shoot me on sight if he could became upsetting to me, he said it really should not disturb me. Yes, he said, Jews were certainly on the kill list; but to comfort me, he said the ones they really want to slaughter at this time are Turks. After what that monster did in London recently, I believed the conversationalist meant what he said.

  • Michael Brytan

    If you just do a small amount of investigation you would have realized that it’s not just Jews, but also Christians, atheist, and all assortments of citizens in Ukraine are being attacked. Ukraine’s dictator Yanukovych routinely sends out thugs to beat people up, not just in Kiev, but around the country. Ukraine has become a de facto dictatorship / police state. The American ambassador would have conveyed that to any Jewish American representatives who rightly are concerned about their fellow Jews in Ukraine. The American ambassador would have also told anyone inquiring about the safety of Jews that the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox priests who are participating in the demonstrations would NEVER tolerate or condone ANY violence or other antisemitic behavior on the part of any of the demonstrators. They would pack up and leave if any such acts were being committed by the demonstrators.

    • Peter Irwin

      Mr. Brytan’s view is correct. Stamping an entire nation and culture as antisemitic is reverse bigotry. The reprehensible actions of a few ought not be used to generalize about the thousands in Maidan, especially when the few may well be government-sponsored instigators. This is a red herring issue that ought not divert attention from the basic concern – will Ukraine remain in the sphere of a corrupt totalitarian regime posing as a democracy, or will it move into the sphere of Europe and the NATO alliance? Will protestors be able to effect a real change in the direction of the Ukrainian government, or are the current barbaric attempts to intimidate the protestors simply a restrained temporizing, in order not to scotch attendance at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and will unbridled barbarism reign once the Olympics are past?

  • Mike

    The Ukrainians are some of the biggest Jew haters in history. They couldn’t wait to help Hitler round up and kill them. Why
    would Jews live there?

    • Caleb ben Habakuk

      Becaue they were born there.

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