(photo credit: HELGI [CC BY-SA 3.0 OR GFDL] / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Amid international pressure on Ukraine over its perceived tolerance of antisemitism, a local mayor and a diplomat were documented engaging hate speech against Jews.
Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, posted a video on Facebook Monday of Mayor Vlodimyr Moskal’s address to city councilmen in which he railed against Jews. Moskal is mayor of the village of Skole, located 60 miles southwest of Lviv.
Quoting Henry Ford’s antisemitic writing about Jewish schemes for world domination, Moskal said: “A lot of that work is devoted to the death of the goyim,” Hebrew for non-Jews. “Christians, Arabs, Buddhists, they are not people to them after their reaching world domination, which they are clearly trying to do through cosmopolitanism and liberalism in order to destroy all nations, to leave the political nation, to mix everyone into one lump, migrants, blacks,” the mayor said. He also called the government, whose prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, is Jewish, “Muscovite Jews”– an insult in a country where anti-Russian sentiment is rife.
Separately, screenshots shared online show that Vasyl Marushchynets, who works at Ukraine’s consulate in Hamburg, Germany, blamed Jews for World War II and said “death to the anti-fascists” on his private Facebook page, Reuters reported Monday. Marushchynets and the Hamburg consulate did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed his suspension.
“Antisemitism and those who stir up inter-ethnic discord can have no place either in civilized society or in the foreign ministry,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Twitter.
Ukraine in recent weeks has seen a spate of antisemitic incidents, including vandalism at two monuments for Holocaust victims. One of the monuments was firebombed, and on another unidentified parties wrote neo-Nazi slogans.
Last month, hundreds of people in the Ukrainian city of Lviv attended a nationalist march featuring Nazi symbols that commemorated a Waffen SS unit with many local volunteers.
On May 4, President Petro Poroshenko condemned “any manifestations of intolerance and antisemitism” in his country.
These incidents and the march coincided with reports in the Ukrainian media of a letter signed by 57 US congressmen condemning what they called Ukrainian legislation that “glorifies Nazi collaborators.” The letter, the harshest public rebuke in years of Ukraine’s antisemitism by US elected officials, also says that the world is seeing a “rise of this hateful ideology.”
In Ukraine, a revolution in 2013 that ended the rule of a key Kremlin ally ushered in a wave of nationalism that coincided with what Israeli researchers of antisemitism in January called a massive increase in antisemitic incidents amid government inaction.
The glorification of fighters who allied with the Nazis against Russian domination increased considerably in volume after 2013. In 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a law that criminalizes denying the “heroism” of some of these allies of Nazi Germany, which oversaw the near annihilation of the region’s Jews.
The German Foreign Ministry said it had been in touch with its Ukrainian counterpart to express its concern over the consul in Hamburg.