Russian Jews complain about alleged Ukrainian antisemitism


RIA Novosti, 21 December 2016


The desecration of a synagogue in Uman in Ukraine is the consequence of Kiev's policy directed at the glorification of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Rabbi Alexander Boroda, told RIA Novosty.


Police of Cherkassk province reported earlier that a case has been opened on the basis of the "hooliganism" article after unidentified persons poured paint and scattered pieces of pork in a synagogue in Uman. The grave of Rabbi Nakhman is located there, who was one of the founder of Hasidism, a strain of Judaism with numerous followers throughout the world. Israeli politicians called the incident an example of monstrous antisemitism and called the authorities of Ukraine to find the guilty persons and ensure the security of the building.


"This is very sad news. We are talking about the desecration of a place that is sacred for many people. Unfortunately, one can say that such an incident is a predictable consequence of that policy of memorial that has been conducted in Ukraine for the past several years. The construction of monuments to people who either demanded the eviction and even destruction of all 'non-Ukrainians' or embodied these ideas in life could not but exert an influence on minds," the rabbi said.


As an example, he cited the erection in Uman of a monument to leaders of the uprising in right-bank Ukraine in 1768 against the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth (Rech Pospolita)—the Koliivshchina. He said that the uprising (the Uman massacre) was marked by the "brutal massacre of thousands of Jews right in this city." The head of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia noted that "even soviet authorities, with all their antisemitism, chose to refrain from constructing such a monument."


"Ceremonial unveilings of monuments and exaltation of such people incite a certain portion of the population to the thought that when these people are glorified that means that their misanthropic ideology is also something permissible and the desecration of synagogues, graves of rabbis, and monuments to victims of the Holocaust are fully 'allowed,'" Boroda suggests. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 December 2016)

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