KRAKOW – President of the All- Ukrainian Jewish Congress Vadim Rabinovich claimed last week that Ukrainian authorities were attempting to take away his Jewish News One TV channel.

In a statement posted on the website of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, Rabinovich – who is also vice president of the European Jewish Union – accused Ukrainian authorities of threatening him, including with physical violence, to force him to transfer ownership of his TV channel to them within a week.

“A senior official in the government visited Rabinovich on January 17 and threatened to harass him and physically harm him, should he not transfer the JN1 television channel to them within a week,” the statement said.

The official’s name was not published but the local TV channel News One identified the man as Boris Podolsky Evseevich, a famous Ukrainian businessman known for his close ties to the Ukrainian power elite.

Rabinovich also added that he believes that the official’s visit was not sanctioned by the government and that he already submitted an official complaint to the General Prosecutor’s Office in Kiev regarding the threats made to him.

“I believe that what is happening is an individual racketeering attempt by a single representative of the government,” he said.

JN1 is a 24-hour international independent network which covers world news and emphasizes Jewish and Israeli current affairs. It was founded in 2011 by Rabinovich and Jewish- Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, who is president of the European Jewish Union. Its headquarters are located in Brussels and it has bureaus in Tel Aviv and Kiev, and its owners have announced plans to open offices in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin and Moscow.

The channel’s managers say they are very proud of being “a fully independent news network not associated with any nation, government or political party.”

Since the parliamentary elections last October when the farright Svoboda party experienced a significant surge, there has been a growing concern among the Jewish communities in Ukraine about the increase of anti-Semitism. The Jewish community’s leaders have recently launched a public appeal to the international community regarding the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and asked that measures be taken to stop the increasing anti-Semitic rhetoric in Ukraine before the situation worsens and the Jewish community is in danger.

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