By Melanie Nathan, April 17, 2014.
Ukrainian and Israeli media are reporting actions that smack of Nazi Germany as Jews in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings, were told it is complusory to “register” as Jews and pay special taxes with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia.
Taking a report from Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.
Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia. The news was carried first by the Ukraine’s Donbass news agency.
The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the reports.
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Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship being revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said.
Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.
“We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, the oldest pro-Israel group in the USA, said the leaflets should be seen in the context of a rising tide of anti-Semitism across Europe and the world, and that it should prompt a strong response from the White House.
Several anti-Semitic attacks, including a stabbing and the attempted torching of a synagogue, have occurred in Ukraine since the eruption in November of a revolution over the perceived pro-Russianpolicies of former President Viktor Yanukvych. He was ousted from power in February.
Pro-Russian separatists from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine denied any involvement in the circulation of these fliers calling on Jews to register with separatists and pay special taxes. However there have been confirming reports which can be found on the internet.
They’re demanding ID, passports, “religious documents,” and documents related to real property, as well as a $50 registration fee. Failure to comply means revocation of one’s citizenship in Ukraine — or “Novo Russia,” as Putin referred today to the eastern part of the country — and deportation. No word yet on armbands, but stay tuned. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen conflicting reports on whether Pushilin, the local thug whose name is on the flyer, admits that it came from his group or not. The USA Today story quoted above, citing Ynet, says he did; the JTA, however, cites a Russian website that claims Pushilin denies the flyer came from the group at all and is actually some sort of false-flag provocation. It would be a clever ruse for Ukrainian nationalists to do something to cast Putin’s admirers as the real Nazis, after so much propaganda from Moscow to the contrary. (In fact, the Russian-backed Yanukovych regime liked to rile up its riot police by accusing the maidan protesters of being led by Jews.) But the element of revanchism here, in wanting to punish the city’s Jews for their ancestors’ support for independence from Russia decades ago, is right in line with the tide of Russian irredentism towards Ukraine generally. It probably did come from Pushilin’s group. No wonder Natan Sharansky expects aliyah from Ukraine to double this year.
We still seek to reconcile our past and now this! As Jew whose family fled the pogroms and suffered the Holocaust I am sick to my stomach. I hope President Obama does indeed take a bold stride here. We cannot allow this to happen again. SEE DOCUMENTARY – https://www.facebook.com/FeigasChoice