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May 5, 2014 4:57 pm

Jewish Mayor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Gennady Kernes, Awakens

avatar by Alina Dain Sharon / JNS.org

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Kharkiv's Choral Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Ukraine. Photo: WikiCommons.

Kharkiv's Choral Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Ukraine. Photo: WikiCommons.

JNS.org – The Jewish mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine, who has been slowly recovering in an Israeli hospital after being shot in the back by an unidentified gunman, has woken up, according to new report by Chabad.

Gennady Kernes, 54, “woke up, and he’s speaking a little. G-d willing, I hope to visit him soon,” said Kharkiv’s chief rabbi and Chabad emissary, Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz.

“After the recent [tumultuous] news in Odessa, people are more worried because of how suddenly the situation disintegrated there,” he added. “We hope that everything remains calm here, and a stable peace returns to this country.”

Meanwhile, Jewish organizations in the Ukrainian city of Odessa are preparing evacuation plans in case the violence worsens.

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  • Julian Clovelley

    I was uncertain as to whether you would post my previous contribution. But what I am trying to say is that I think the Jewish community is being pushed off course and it worries me because I see this in some of Algemeiner’s contributors

    Other people might think I am wrong, but I would like to know why.

    My fear is that what has happened is about pragmatism and expedience in a difficult situation, rather than an ideological direction being adopted out of conviction

    Therein I believe lies the error. I believe the community is better than the help and alliance it mistakenly seeks. From time to time I hear criticisms of Jewish Business that are a disturbing echo of the past

    One last point, please do not make the mistake of thinking that philanthropy can replace a progressive social policy. Opponents will always say (whilst accepting the bounty) that what pays for the philanthropy is profits, and the labour of others

    If one has percieved the need for philanthropy, one has in fact perceived the need for social change.

    Keep the money and make the changes. It will bring you far greater acceptance and recognition. In difficult political times the good should stick together, always in the name of Righteousness. How about supporting the call for a decent living wage by joining the call for a decent living wage that does not rely on tips? How about making that an international call for social justice? No working man should receive less than the cost of his family’s subsistence. Not here – not in America, not in Palestine or Israel – not anywhere.

  • Julian Clovelley

    There is one cause of the rise of antisemitism in Europe and one only – and it is not so different to the situation in Europe after the Great War. It is the inability of Capitalism in its past, and its current incarnation to provide for the people in the areas in which it operates as an economic system, combined with the unwillingness or impotence of the democratic Governments of those regions to make the essential adjustments to the distribution of wealth and services, that under the system of representative democracy taxation is supposed to supply

    This situation has been made even worse by the American Right – whose thinking dominates Corporate America – having an obsession with free trade and globalised competition in the raw materials and energy resources supply, purchasing and selling of completed products, and worst of all in the labour markets. Free Trade policy seeks to impose regulations that over-rule local sovereignty

    When price becomes the sole criteria, then it is the cheapest price that rules. That is why women and children work in slave like conditions in countries like Pakistan and Bangla Desh. It is why men can no longer provide for their families in so many countries, and the local national Governments can do nothing about it – many of them being assisted into Fascist policy by Alliance with American Foreign and Corporate policy. As commentators are beginning to ask, just how much difference is there in America between Government policy and Corporate policy – structures which, when working in total association, create Mussolini’s own definition of Fascism?

    Free trade in the labour market makes slavery – which continues to exist – the ruling standard for the master-servant relationship. The removal of tariff protection opens local markets to the import of cheap labour produced items – which people in their personal economic desperation are forced through impoverishment to buy, undermining further their own local businesses.

    In my own country of Australia the situation has been worsened by the influx of money printed at an alarming rate overseas, and given value through the incompetence of present day Capitalist money markets. This money, largely emanating from China, purchase houses and apartments in our Capital cities as investment properties. Many are left empty as “Capital Investments” – the total number of empty domiciles in Sydney alone is believed to be over 125 thousand, of which around 25 thousand are foreign owned. We have enough accommodation to house our entire population – but instead vast numbers of people are homeless or underhoused, and the new hard working generation cannot afford homes – A decent house will cost you around 1 million dollars in Sydney, rental will cost you around 750 dollars a week. You cannot afford either on the Australian average wage – let alone the minimum wage. Land and Rural services and businesses such as mining are also within the sights of foreign investors. And already our new Government, with its policies of withdrawing and privatising services, increasing the pension age, cutting back welfare, and encouraging the use of cheap labour, is beginning to be hated by much of the populace. It has long not been like this. The atmosphere has changed.

    Market Capitalism – dominated by the senile dementia Reaganite and Thatcherite ethos – can think of no solution to the problems it is itself creating than “Austerity”. Whilst this Austerity in Europe is continent-wide it contains a regional component. A decent life is still available for many working people in Germany – but elsewhere whole nations are going to the wall

    Where is the difference with the post Great War situation? An incompetently applied private enterprise system results in the undermining of national Governments’ ability to represent and provide for the people. Economic problems arising are dealt with through the imposition of tyranny and violence, under the polite name of “Austerity” or the politer name of “restraint”. In all this the people see the rich getting richer and more callous. They see compassion and sharing disappearing, to be replaced with the Orwellian nightmare of “the boot stamping in the human face forever”

    But there is another factor that completes the picture – it is a populist and irresponsible media that starts playing the political game with its own Corporate agenda. Tell lies often enough and the people will believe you. Cross media ownership makes this task even easier

    The population has first become unprotected, secondly it has been decimated by impossible competition in the labour market, thirdly it watches as the products of local labour – the farms, factories, mines, and homes are bought up by overseas investors, fourthly it sees its medical, educational and general services downgraded, and finally it sees even its unemployment and aged pensions delayed, reduced or curtailed. What was it they fought against and for seventy five years ago? Remind me. I thought it was to bring an end to tyranny, and to create nations fit for heroes to live in

    Then one day the population explodes in fury. With no lead from a compassionate private enterprise system, it forms polarised insurrectionist groupings which themselves lead to militias. And this is when the underlying ancient prejudices select the last excuse for a failed Capitalism – they target the Jews and other minorities.

    Stop and stop it now. Get out of the ghastly Right Wing, Free Trade, Globalised, national Government interfering ethos. Get back to recognising the need for adequate welfare, good quality public housing, tariff protection of local businesses and workforces. Understand that the “minimum wage” is not a “Socialist plot” – that the threat of Climate Change is real and increasing social pressures already. Comprehend that it matters what commercial stations broadcast, that broadcast fanaticism is not the exercise of “free Speech” but the curtailment of it

    There is so much more. The Jewish community – like any community – will always require a degree of protection. But you cannot have protection in a society where the ethos is total individual non protection, unregulated economics, and disdain for the poor to enhance the power and prosperity of the already obscenely rich and powerful. Forget “user pays” and start thinking “need”

    The price of failure to reform that ethos for many who read this paper, will be the nation of Israel itself, and in one area after another the security of the Jewish community and other minorities. Capitalism needs not just your intelligence, but also your abundant humanity, your righteousness – That is what is lacking. That is what the collapse of Ukraine and the writings on the walls are really about. My question is, as “America Puts The Clock Back” can you come to your senses in time? The distance between the first stirrings and the beginning of calamity in the twentieth century were barely even a decade. The period that led to the full horrors of the Holocaust was but twenty years. You have time to reform the private enterprise system so that it no longer becomes a matter of Fascism versus a Left Wing Totalitarianism, both of which would be lethal to your community. But you have less time to wake up to yourselves than you think. We are ultimately all in this together. Let the process continue and we will all go down together into a new chaos

    Capitalism as a whole really has but one choice and that is “Reform” on a colossal internal scale. It has to become a system that instead of creating classes, ameliorates the effects of class and caste systems inherited from the past, and progressively evolves them out of existence. Religion had its 95 theses nailed to the door of the Church of Wittenberg five hundred years ago. Capitalism faces similar internal challenge. Private Enterprise is being told in the streets of Europe that is has to change. It is the same message throughout the Third world – its failures underscore the rise of theocratic terrorism and social disintegration, and it inspires the writing of hatred on the wall

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