The Holocaust is a historical event that occupies a significant part of the collective memory of the Western world, as it ought to. There are many lessons to learn from that period, including the dangers of unbridled state power, the consequences of racism inflamed by propaganda, and the terrifying things that otherwise reasonable people will do when encouraged by “authority”.
Unfortunately, Americans seem to have let their vigilance slip precipitously, as the events over the past year or so in Ukraine have proven.
Particularly as a Jew, but more generally as a human being, I am deeply disturbed by the complete lack of attention there has been to the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine. Even more disturbing is how this rise has been actively encouraged by the US government, and how the government and media have been actively suppressing this information.
The Obama administration and its lapdog media have dismissed the claims about neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine as Russian propaganda, but spending a minute or two looking at the facts reveals this to be a blatant and dangerous lie. While it is certainly true that the government in Kiev is not solely controlled by Nazis, they do have a significant presence and influence.
My intention here is to demonstrate, for those in the Western world who are unfamiliar with the situation, the significance of the role played by neo-Nazis in Ukraine and document at least some of the direct support that the US has provided to them.
The Jews of America and the Western world need to condemn US actions in Ukraine or else be hypocrites of the highest order.
Neo-Nazis In The Ukrainian Government
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called the government in Kiev a bunch of “neo-Nazis, Nazis, and anti-Semites.” We could dismiss his accusations as pure propaganda, and certainly he is exaggerating. But the inclination in American media and policy circles now seems to have swung in the exact opposite direction, alleging that the extreme nationalist and neo-Nazi segments of the new government are virtually non-existent.
Enter Svoboda, formerly the Social-National Party of Ukraine (compare to the Nazis, otherwise known as the National Socialists), and Ukraine’s preeminent far-right party. Less than a year before the Western-backed coup that toppled the democratically elected pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, the World Jewish Council called upon the EU to ban several neo-Nazi parties in Europe, including Svoboda. If you do a Google search on Svoboda, neo-Nazis in Ukraine, or the like, you will see plenty of articles from around 2012 condemning them.
Now, they are a powerful force in Ukraine, one that the US government is staunchly supporting, and the EU is doing nothing about. According to investigative journalist Robert Parry (who broke the Iran-Contra scandal, by the way):
“In December 2012, barely a year before the coup, the European Parliament expressed concern about “the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine” represented by Svoboda, whose founders included admirers of World War II Nazi collaborators, such as Stepan Bandera and Adolf Hitler’s Ukrainian auxiliary, the Galician SS.
A parliamentary statement from Brussels noted “that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles” and urged “pro-democratic parties” in Ukraine’s parliament “not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with” Svoboda.
After the coup, which was strongly supported by Svoboda and spearheaded by its associated neo-Nazi militias from the west, Svoboda and other far-right political groups were given several ministries in recognition of their crucial role in the anti-Yanukovych putsch.
Now with Svoboda at the center of power in Kiev, the EU has muted its alarm, all the better to maintain the white hat/black hat scenario favored by Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media. That narrative portrays the Kiev regime as the blameless white hats and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the ethnic Russian rebels in the east as the evil black hats.”
Whether you agree with the narrative presented in the last paragraph or not, it is indisputable that neo-Nazis were able to procure for themselves significant power in Ukraine after the coup. In fact, some of the first actions by the interim government were to make Ukrainian the only official language of the nation (and people wonder why the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the East were upset…) and making moves to remove a law on the books which forbids “excusing the crimes of fascism.”
Known neo-Nazis have also taken prominent positions in Ukraine’s government:
- Andriy Parubiy, co-founder of Svoboda, is the secretary of Ukraine’s security council. He is in charge of everything related to national defense in Ukraine.
- Dmytry Yarosh, leader of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector (which, according to historian Timothy Stanley, “flies the old flag of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators at its rallies”), is his deputy.
- Oleksandr Sych, a Svoboda parliamentarian who tried to ban all abortions in Ukraine, including those resulting from rape, was made deputy prime minister for economic affairs.
- Oleh Makhnitsky, a prominent member of Svoboda, was named prosecutor-general of Ukraine.
- Serhiy Kvit, also of Svoboda, was put in charge of the Education Ministry.
- Andriy Makhnyk of Svoboda was put in charge of the Ecology Ministry.
- Ihor Shyaiko of Svoboda became the head of the Agriculture Ministry.
- Tetyana Chernovol, previously involved in the anti-Semitic Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO), was named chair of the government’s anti-corruption committee.
- Dmytro Bulatov, also with UNA-UNSO connections, was appointed minister of youth and sports.
In other words, neo-Nazis were given control over Ukraine’s military and security apparatus, their justice system, the economy, the education system, and other areas. This is not something that can be simply written off as an irrelevant, lunatic fringe – these people have real power.
On October 26th, 2014, there was a parliamentary election in Ukraine. The US government and its media have seized upon the results of this election to argue that, in fact, the neo-Nazis are marginalized, and to reaffirm that these concerns are all just “Russian propaganda”.
The far right, ultra-nationalist parties did not do well in the elections, true. But the views of many of the major parties are similar, and neo-Nazis have won seats as members of the more “mainstream” parties. As Roger Annis reports:
“Much has been written about the seemingly poor electoral outcomes of two of the largest extreme-right parties — Svoboda and Right Sector. Both failed to reach five per cent. Svoboda received 742,000 votes (4.7 per cent, compared to 10.4 per cent in 2012) while Right Sector received 250,000. But the numbers alone understate the situation with the extreme right.
Svoboda elected at least six candidates. Party distinctions were blurred by a field crowded with neo-conservative and extreme-right candidacies and by cooperation agreements between the parties. Thus, a leader of the fascist Social-National Assembly–Andriy Biletsky (an Azov Battalion commander) — won direct election as an “independent” when no candidate of the Poroshenko or Yatsenyuk blocs ran in his district in Kyiv. Some extreme rightists ran as candidates of the two large blocs.
Yatsenyuk’s bloc stood aside in the district in Dnipropetrovsk where Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh won. Two other Right Sector candidates were elected in the city, Ukraine’s fourth-largest.”
There’s more. While Svoboda and Right Sector are likely the most high profile of the neo-Nazis, there are other extreme nationalists with questionable associations that get less attention. For instance:
“The third place finisher was another, new electoral bloc, “Samopomich” (Self Reliance). It won 1.7 million votes (11 per cent) and 34 seats. It is headed by the strongly pro-Europe mayor of the city of Lviv in the west of Ukraine, Andrii Sadovyi. Sadovyi’s Lviv is a stronghold of the extreme right.
Another Samopomich leader newly elected to the Rada is Semen Semenchevo. He is a commander of the Donbas Battalion, one of the dozen or so rightist and fascist paramilitary battalions that have sprung up this year to fight alongside the conscript Ukraine army in the east of the country.”
Then there is the Radical Party, which got 1.7 million votes and 22 seats. The leader of this party, Oleh Lyashko, is a paramilitary commander who Amnesty International has called out for kidnapping and brutalizing important supporters of political autonomy in eastern Ukraine. Take a look at one of his campaign posters:
Last I checked, impaling a caricature of some rich Jewish oligarch with a trident seems…well, a little bit anti-Semitic. Reminder: this party received 1.7 million votes.
While the US media is severely downplaying the role that neo-Nazis are playing in Ukraine by only considering a small slice of the neo-Nazi pie, all the major parties are fairly similar, according to an investigation by VoxUkraine. Consider the current president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who is fully backed by the US. In December, he granted Ukrainian citizenship to a Belarusian neo-Nazi who is a prominent member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Society, an organization whose primary goal “is to prepare for a race war.” Why was he granted citizenship? Because of his valiant service fighting with the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, of which we will be investigating next.
The Nazi Presence In Ukrainian Militias And Police
The Ukrainian government since the US-backed coup on February 22, 2014 is the first government to dispatch neo-Nazi storm troopers (aka death squads) since the fall of the Third Reich. Most prominent among the various death squads (in the western media: “volunteers”) is the Azov battalion.
Take a look at the helmets that these Azov soldiers are wearing:
On the left, you can clearly see a swastika. That lightning-bolt-looking-thingy on the right? That was the symbol of the German SS, the organization tasked with carrying out the Holocaust.
You would think that if the media caught wind of this, it would be a huge story. A moral outrage! There would be investigations, firings, and so on. But when the Washington Post covered this, they buried that detail in the bottom few paragraphs, and dismissed the use of Nazi symbols as “romantic”:
“A former school here is now a training ground and barracks for the men of the Azov, who receive a $70 a month salary as well as minimal training and aging firearms from the government. One platoon leader, who called himself Kirt, conceded that the group’s far right views had attracted about two dozen foreign fighters from around Europe.
In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt, a former hospitality worker, dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers — many of them still teenagers — embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of “romantic” idea.
He insisted the group’s primary goal is defending its country against Russian aggression.
“It’s like 1924,” he said. “Putin is the new Stalin.””
Do you see that? It’s basically a big “who cares?” followed immediately by changing the subject and demonizing Putin. This is simply unacceptable. It isn’t just some “romantic” idea, but a known part of their ideology. Here is Robert Parry paraphrasing some of the Telegraph’s coverage of the Azov battalion:
“Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.
Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a recent commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”
The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight.”
We need not just rely on the more anecdotal evidence by Azov members. What about their actual printed materials? According to the BBC, an online publication of the Social National Assembly (remember, the head of Azov, Andriy Biletsky, is the head of this umbrella organization as well) states its aims: “To prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital,” and “to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man.”
And this guy Biletsky was given an “Order For Courage” award by (US backed) president Poroshenko.
The Azov battalion has been very successful in their military campaign in eastern Ukraine. Perhaps as a result of this success, Vadim Troyan, former deputy commander of Azov, was appointed Kiev’s chief of police. In other words, the guy who is ostensibly supposed to be keeping Ukraine’s capitol city safe from crime is in fact an avowed neo-Nazi.
Next, let’s meet the appointed head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) “Department of Propaganda”, Yuri Michalchyhyn. As reported by Justin Raimondo:
“Michalchyhyn is a real piece of work: as the former head of the “Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center,” he isn’t shy about his advocacy of National Socialism. “We are against diversity,” he told the Guardian. “Ukraine is for Ukrainians.” Among his political activities: organizing a torchlight parade replete with Nazi symbolism. Michalhyhyn considers the Holocaust “a bright episode in European civilization.”
One can only imagine what kind of propaganda Michalchyhyn will be turning out on behalf of the Ukrainian SBU – paid for with American tax dollars.”
Neo-Nazi War Crimes
Of course, actions speak louder than words, and we ought not to rush to conclusions merely because of copious amounts of written and spoken evidence that these monsters are, in fact, monsters. In a chilling article by Chris Ernesto, we learn some more about the kinds of things these scumbags support:
“In October of 2014, Azov Battalion servicemen took part in a march organized by Right Sector to commemorate the anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army who infamously undertook to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944.”
But the neo-Nazis of the Ukrainian government don’t merely support extreme violence and ethnic cleansing; they practice what they preach, and have been doing so in eastern Ukraine for the past year with the full support of the United States government.
For instance, the Ukrainian government has been indiscriminately firebombing parts of eastern Ukraine that have no military value, including with the use of illegal white phosphorous (click the link to see images and videos of the carnage). Actually, it’s not indiscriminate; artillery target maps show that the Ukrainian army, including the neo-Nazi “volunteers”, are specifically targeting civilians.
The atrocities committed by these Nazis are not isolated occurrences. They have been happening consistently for the past year. Taking a page out of ISIS’s book, the Ukrainian nationalists are even beheading some of their victims. As Vox reports, the neo-Nazis are blocking off roads and preventing humanitarian aid (food, medicine, etc.) from entering eastern Ukraine:
“These groups pose a serious threat to Ukrainian civilians as well. In December 2014, pro-Kiev militias blocked humanitarian aid from reaching rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine. Amnesty International researcher Denis Krivosheev said in a statement that the militias were starving civilians as a weapon of warfare, calling the tactic a war crime.
Another militia, the Aydar Battalion, has kidnapped and tortured civilians in eastern Ukraine. On dozens of occasions, militia members abducted civilians, tortured and interrogated them, and stole their money and valuables before either releasing them or handing them over to the Security Service, Amnesty International reported in 2014. The battalion was also reportedly running a secret detention center in the city of Severodonetsk, in which “detainees were forced to recite the Ukrainian national anthem and beaten if they failed.””
But if you get your information from western media sources, you would only be hearing about the atrocities committed by the “pro-Russian separatists” or “terrorists” in eastern Ukraine, and nothing about the vastly more prevalent war crimes coming from the pro-Kiev side. This is an incredible double standard, and one which is intolerable given the stakes in this war.
Maidan Square – Sniper Massacre
On February 20th, 2014, during protests against the democratically elected, pro-Russian leader of Ukraine, snipers shot and killed well over 100 people from both the police side and the protestor side.
In nearly all reporting on this massacre in the west, it was simply assumed that the snipers were from the government side. As such, the coup that occurred two days later was hailed, somehow, as a “victory for democracy”, despite the overthrow of a constitutionally elected leader (say what you will about Yanukovych, but at least he was actually elected).
But this was all incredibly premature, even though it was wrapped up nicely for western consumption by the media. People failed to ask the all-important question when it comes to these kinds of things: cui bono? Who benefits? Without even taking a look at the evidence, it is clear that the government had far more to lose by ordering this massacre than, say, neo-Nazi elements among the protestors.
According to a leaked phone conversation on February 26th, 2014, between foreign-affairs chief of the EU, Catherine Ashton, and her investigator, Urmas Paet, it was in fact elements from the protestors’ side who were responsible for the massacre. This call was largely ignored by the mainstream media.
But most damning of all is an incredibly thorough study done by Ivan Katchanovski at the University of Ottowa, taking into account all the available evidence, which concluded that the massacre was in fact perpetrated by members of the protestors’ side, and that the post-coup government covered the whole thing up. Here is a summary of the findings:
“The analysis and the evidence presented in this academic investigation put the Euromaidan and the conflict in Ukraine into a new perspective. The seemingly irrational mass shooting and killing of the protesters and the police on February 20 appear to be rational from self-interest based perspectives of rational choice and Weberian theories of instrumentally-rational action. This includes the following: the Maidan leaders gaining power as a result of the massacre, President Yanukovych and his other top government officials fleeing on February 21, 2014 from Kyiv and then from Ukraine, and the retreat by the police. The same concerns Maidan protesters being sent under deadly fire into positions of no important value and then being killed wave by wave from unexpected directions. Similarly, snipers killing unarmed protesters and targeting foreign journalists but not Maidan leaders, the Maidan Self-Defense and the Right Sector headquarters, the Maidan stage, and pro-Maidan photographs become rational. While such actions are rational from a rational choice or instrumentally-rational theoretical perspective, the massacre not only ended many human lives but also undermined democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Ukraine.”
In other words, the United States has been supporting a government that came to power through a false flag attack that involved slaughtering over 100 of their own people. Echos of the Reichstag fire, anyone?
On May 2nd, 2014, clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups broke out on the streets of Odessa. This culminated in a large skirmish outside the Trade Unions House, which was then set on fire, resulting in the deaths of 42 pro-Russian activists and six more on the streets outside.
Unsurprisingly, the western media reported this as though the details were murky, but that evidence strongly supported the idea that it was in fact pro-Russian elements that were behind this.
And unsurprisingly, they were (and continue to be) wrong; Right Sector thugs were the responsible party, and it almost seems as though the western media’s false coverage was deliberate. From an insightful article on Alternet, here is a description of the carnage:
“On May 2, 2014, following a match between two football teams, radical football fans along with Right Sector neo-Nazis brought in from outside Odessa joined forces. According to various testimonies and videos, the pro-Kiev protesters set on fire the tent of federalization-supporters of citizens who want to ensure that their rights will be protected in a federal Ukraine. The pro-Federation activists rushed into the historical trade union building hoping to find a refuge and barricaded themselves. The perpetrators ran into the building and beat people. They attempted to break into one of the rooms, but failed. They then left the building only to continue to throw Molotov cocktails (prepared by Ukrainian nationalist girls), shot at survivors who attempted to jump out from the windows, and beat to death those who managed to make their way out. Ambulances did not arrive to treat the survivors for hours and Israeli medical students offered first aid. The Odessa police did not stop shooters from firing at those trapped in the building. Some of the police were wearing the same red bands worn by Right Sector members and were seen talking to them. At the same time, however,Reuters and BBC falsely portrayed fascists who shot at pro-Federation activists inside the Trade Union building as “pro-Russian militants”.”
And as described by Robert Parry:
“This brutal Nazism surfaced again on Friday when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.
“Burn, Colorado, burn” went the chant.
As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading “Galician SS,” a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front.”
For more evidence, including grisly photographs and videos of the massacre, see this and this. The content of those pages is truly horrific, so do not open them if you are uncomfortable with the grotesque.
One week later (May 9th), there was a similar massacre in Mariupol. This event received far less attention, but is worthy of mention as long as we are discussing neo-Nazi atrocities in Ukraine. More from Robert Parry:
“This tactic of torching an occupied building occurred again on May 9 in Mariupol, another port city, as neo-Nazi paramilitaries – organized now as the regime’s “National Guard” – were dispatched to a police station that had been seized by dissidents, possibly including police officers who rejected a new Kiev-appointed chief. Again, the deployment of the “National Guard” was followed by burning the building and killing a significant but still-undetermined number of people inside. (Early estimates of the dead range from seven to 20.)
In the U.S. press, Ukraine’s “National Guard” is usually described as a new force derived from the Maidan’s “self-defense” units that spearheaded the Feb. 22 revolt in Kiev overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych. But the Maidan’s “self-defense” units were drawn primarily from well-organized bands of neo-Nazi extremists from western Ukraine who hurled firebombs at police and fired weapons as the anti-Yanukovych protests turned increasingly violent.
But the mainstream U.S. press – in line with State Department guidance – has sought to minimize or dismiss the key role played by neo-Nazis in these “self-defense” forces as well as in the new government. At most, you’ll see references to these neo-Nazis as “Ukrainian nationalists.””
The point I’m trying to make here is that these are bad guys. Evil human beings, who are willing to brutalize others, largely for racial reasons, in order to attain power. And, despicably, the west is actively supporting this.
The Western World Is Supporting These Neo-Nazi Thugs
Many of the people behind the events in Ukraine are neo-Nazis willing to murder anyone who gets in their way. The US and EU are giving them full support. The corporate media is whitewashing their crimes and manipulating the public into believing that Putin is responsible.
Anyone who is paying any attention to the news knows that the US is openly backing the government of Ukraine against those who want autonomy in eastern Ukraine. For instance, the US government has already sent heavy weaponry to Ukraine and has earmarked $19 million to help build up the Ukrainian military. Andriy Parubiy, the avowed neo-Nazi and co-founder of Svoboda discussed above, has just come to Washington in order to ask for even more weapons assistance. The fact that a neo-Nazi was even allowed to speak in front of Congress is terrifying.
But it isn’t just weapons. The Pentagon has confirmed recently that US troops will be deploying to Ukraine this spring in order to help build up the Ukrainian National Guard (which has been heavily infiltrated by these neo-Nazi militants). They will be stationed in Lviv, well known as a stronghold of neo-Nazi sentiments.
In case I haven’t made myself clear: the United States is both training and providing weapons to people who are unabashed neo-Nazis so that they can fight a war against nuclear armed Russians.
This is not an exaggeration, nor am I falsely conflating the current government in Kiev with neo-Nazis. While there are certainly many people in the current Ukrainian government who are not Nazis, they are not even close to a fringe group, as I’ve shown above. And in fact, the US is specifically being extra kind to the more extreme elements within the Ukrainian establishment. Consider Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, who has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish Mafia”. Here is a picture of him doing his party’s salute, eerily reminiscent of the sieg heil:
And here he is with US Senator John McCain:
And here is Oleh with US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, of “Fuck the EU” fame (for those of you who don’t know, this is a reference to her intercepted phone call where she was caught discussing who ought to lead Ukraine, just a few weeks before the coup which put her top choice in power. Listen to the recording here and read the transcript here):
The US’s Historical Support Of Nazis
The current events in Ukraine are far and away the most blatant example of US support for Nazism, but this is not the only instance (and not even the only incidence of supporting Ukrainian Nazis, specifically).
During the tail end of World War 2 and its immediate aftermath, US intelligence agencies helped exfiltrate over 1000 Nazi scientists from Europe and brought them to America in order to aid in the cold war against the Soviet Union. This was codenamed “Operation Paperclip”. Among these scientists were monsters who performed tortuous experiments on living humans.
The US government went to great lengths to hide this, and prevented many of these Nazis from being prosecuted. Information was deliberately withheld about these people so that Nazi-hunters wouldn’t be able to find them.
Some of these scientists did in fact contribute to meaningful scientific advances (like Wernher von Braun), but many also turned out to be liars, useless to US intelligence, or even Soviet double agents.
The Jewish Response
One would expect the US and the western world to condemn the goings-on in Ukraine, and to do everything possible to stop the menace of a resurgent Nazism in Europe. Of course, if you are a cynic/libertarian like me, then you would understand that these things are more about politics and power, and less about doing what’s right.
But even I would have expected the response from the Jewish world to be more appropriate to the seriousness of the situation. Was there not a collective agreement among world Jewry to ensure that never again would we allow the horrors of something like the Holocaust to happen? A part of this agreement means preventing the ideologies that would breed genocide or ethnic cleansing from gaining any kind of foothold or traction.
Somehow, however, world Jewry is failing in this regard. The rest of the world may not speak out against Nazism, but this just makes the need for Jews to stand up and protest ever stronger. Instead of trying to prevent the Nazi power grab in Ukraine, the Jewish world is ignoring it at best, and supporting it at worst.
For Ukraine’s Jews, this is a somewhat challenging issue. Many of them are more western leaning, and thus were a part of the opposition that overthrew Yanukovych a year ago. Of course, the opposition at that time was made up of a diverse cross-section of Ukrainian society. As such, many of these Jews were on the same side as the neo-Nazis, though they of course did not support them in any way. For Ukrainians, the question is more complicated than it should be for the rest of world Jewry; they have their own political concerns, whereas the rest of us are far removed from the political battles of a foreign country. As people with no stake in and no business participating in Ukrainian politics, our focus ought to be on anti-Semitism, not whether the government of Ukraine is “pro-Western” or “pro-Russian”.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Despite world Jewry condemning the rise of Nazism in Ukraine in the years before the coup, Jews have been fairly silent in the year since. Considering how the danger to Jews is now orders of magnitude higher, this is absurd.
While the Jewish response has mostly been muted or somewhat indifferent, some Jewish organizations have actually worked against Jewish interests and safety in Ukraine. Representative John Conyers had written an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was intended to prohibit US assistance, training, and weapons to neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
But the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center didn’t support blocking funding for neo-Nazis, and they should be held accountable for their stance on this issue. As AlterNet reports:
“If passed, Conyers’ amendment would have explicitly barred those found to have offered “praise or glorification of Nazism or its collaborators, including through the use of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, or other similar symbols” from receiving any form of support from the US Department of Defense.
The amendment was presented by congressional staffers to lobbyists from Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, two of the country’s largest established Jewish pressure groups. Despite their stated mission to combat anti-Semitism and violent extremism, the ADL and Wiesenthal Center refused to support Jeffries and Conyers’ proposal.
According to Democratic sources in Congress, staffers from the ADL’s Washington office and the Simon Wiesenthal Center rejected the amendment on the grounds that right-wing Ukrainian parties like Svoboda with documented records of racist extremism had “moderated their rhetoric.” An ADL lobbyist insisted that “the focus should be on Russia,” while the Wiesenthal Center pointed to meetings between far-right political leaders in Ukraine and the Israeli embassy as evidence that groups like Svoboda and Right Sector had shed their extremism.”
Why are Jewish organizations which are intended to combat anti-Semitism taking a political stance on the Ukrainian conflict rather than acting to combat anti-Semitism?
Israel has been largely silent on the Ukraine issue, which is also disturbing. Does not Israel consider itself the defender of world Jewry? To be fair, Israel did vote for the UN resolution that condemned racist fascism and Nazism, but you would think that to be something obvious to vote for, something to take for granted. I suppose it wasn’t actually so obvious, since the US, Canada, and Ukraine all voted against it. What the hell?
What I’ve outlined in this article is disturbing to say the least. But I do want to temper my comments with a caveat or two. The fact is, there are many different organizations operating in Ukraine right now, and they may have differing ideologies. In addition, these groups are made up of individuals, and not every individual believes the same thing that their group affiliation might suggest.
As such, I apologize for any errors that may result for having conflated certain organizations with each other. For instance, Right Sector and Svoboda are different organizations and may have different goals or philosophies, though both are clearly ultra-nationalist and possess elements of racism and anti-Semitism. I’m sure there are some subtle differences between these organizations, and surely some individuals within these groups are not as virulently anti-Semitic as this article may have suggested. But there is no doubt that the neo-Nazi threat in Ukraine is real and significant.
In addition, I want to make clear that the current national government of Ukraine is NOT committing state-sanctioned acts of anti-Semitism. It seems as though the government is actually trying, to some extent at least, to counter anti-Semitism in the country. And as I alluded to in the previous section, many Jews in Ukraine support the government and say that it is not sanctioning anti-Semitic action.
But while there may not be state-sanctioned anti-Semitism now, this should not lull the Jewish people into a false sense of security. What do you think would happen if the fascist neo-Nazis actually took complete control of the government? They already have significant political power, significant grassroots support, and are the most battle-hardened segment of Ukrainian society. We must listen to their rhetoric. Perhaps once they’ve taken care of the separatists in eastern Ukraine (using American weapons and training), they will then turn on the more moderate elements and begin to execute the more racist and anti-Semitic aspects of their political program.
Many Jews that I know voice the opinion that countries like Israel and America help to ensure that world Jewry is safe. They believe that without these benevolent nations, Jews somewhere may fall prey to the kinds of dangerous anti-Semitism that fueled Hitler’s Germany.
Well…perhaps that isn’t enough. If anything, it seems that, at least on some level, many Jews may be worse off because of America. While that may not be a generally true statement, it is clear that right now, the United States government is deliberately aiding and abetting Nazism in Europe.
You may wonder why this is the case. It may sound too absurd to be true. But this is politics, and in the realm of the political, morality flies out the window. Anything goes. That’s how John Kerry could accuse the pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk of making Jews register with authority figures there or face deportation based on a rumor which turned out to be a complete hoax. You see, the White House felt no need to do any fact checking on something that proves useful for their own propaganda purposes. Accusing the other side of anti-Semitism is politically beneficial, but supporting Nazis can be as well, particularly if they can keep Americans in the dark about it.
Fellow Jews, please do not become complacent. Even countries that have historically been good to Jews, such as the US (despite some exceptions, like not allowing Jews to come to America during the 30s and 40s), are not permanent bulwarks against the horrors of Nazism and anti-Semitism. We ought to appreciate that our lives are far better as Jews than they have been in many other times and places. But if we are to take the slogans “never again” and “never forget” seriously, we must be eternally vigilant; unfortunately, we are currently failing in this regard.