A retired Ukrainian general still closely linked with the intelligence services this week openly called for the "destruction" of his country's Jewish community. The outrageous comments, which alarmingly seem to have won no other English-language coverage, are brought to light by a May 11 report in the UK's Jewish Chronicle—which makes clear that this was not an isolated incident, but part of a deepening and deeply disturbing trend in Ukraine…
In a post since deleted from Facebook, Vasily Vovk—a general who holds a senior reserve rank with the Security Service of Ukraine, the local successor to the KGB—wrote that Jews "aren't Ukrainians and I will destroy you along with [Ukrainian oligarch and Jewish lawmaker Vadim] Rabinovych. I'm telling you one more time—go to hell, zhidi [kikes], the Ukrainian people have had it to here with you."
"Ukraine must be governed by Ukrainians," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian war hero-turned-lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko came under fire in March after saying during a television interview that Jews held disproportionate control over the levers of power in Ukraine.
More recently, opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko was forced to apologise after being filmed laughing at an antisemitic comedy act at a gathering of her Fatherland party, and Volodymyr Viatrovych, director of the state-run Institution for National Memory accused Jewish activist Eduard Dolinsky of fabricating antisemitic incidents for money.
Viatrovych is also running a public awareness campaign whitewashing the participation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a Ukrainian nationalist militia, in the Holocaust.
We've also noted the ominous rehabilitation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in contemporary Ukraine. But we already anticipate that these statements will be exploited by pro-Moscow propagandists (including many on the international "left") who seek to portray Russian aggression in Ukraine as "anti-fascism." The countdown is on: How long before "leftist" websites, that are the first to dimiss anti-Semitism as even existing anywhere else in the world, will cynically jump on these reports from Ukraine? Such propaganists conveniently ignore all countervailing facts… E.g., that Ukraine last year got its first Jewish prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman…. That Ukrainian progressives have repudiated the far-right element now coming to fore in the country, while certainly not cutting any slack for the Russian aggression… That Russian politicians held in as much esteem in the Russian Federation as the vile Vovk is in Ukraine have issued equally noxious Jew-hating rhetoric… That Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine are accused of ethnic cleansing of Roma, a people whose persecution has nearly always in modern times presaged that of Jews…
The use of accusations of anti-Semitism to score points against political enemies has been seen time and again in the Ukrainian conflict, and we must emphasize that this stratagem is itself anti-Semitic. There is fascism on both sides in the Ukrainian war—and probably more on Russian side… So, while we hereby again help spread the alarm about the growing fascistic tendency in Ukraine, we also warn against propagandistic exploitation thereof. When the concern about anti-Semitism extends to both sides in the war, we will consider it authentic.
Until then, it is more fascist pseudo-anti-fascism, and a part of the problem.