Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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

January 20, 2014 5:55 pm 6 comments

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.

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.

6 Comments

  • Chiam Goldstein

    good goyim

  • 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.

    • 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?

  • 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?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →