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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chief Rabbi of Donetsk now says leaflet was a hoax

The Chief Rabbi of Donetsk now says that he believes that an anti-Semitic leaflet that was handed to the town's Jews as they left synagogue on the first night of Passover was a 'hoax.'
A Ukrainian rabbi whose congregation was the target of an anti-Semitic leaflet that drew global media interest and condemnation from the US government believes it was a hoax and wants to put the matter to rest.
But five days after the incident in the restive eastern city of Donetsk, Ukraine's prime minister, anxious to maintain US support against Russia, issued a statement accusing Moscow and told a US TV channel he would find the "bastards" responsible.
Pinchas Vishedski, chief rabbi of the Donetsk area's 15,000 Jews, told Reuters on Saturday that while it was initially shocking, he was now satisfied it was a political hoax - "a crude provocation" - though its authorship was still unclear.
"I'm asking those behind this not to make us tools in this game," he said. Anti-Semitic incidents in the Russian-speaking east were "rare, unlike in Kiev and western Ukraine," he said.
Quoted on the community's website, Vishedski had said on Thursday: "Since it's only a smear, we should react responsibly - draw a line under it and close the matter."
On Saturday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk vowed to use "every legal means" to prevent the "import" of anti-Semitism and xenophobia and indirectly blamed Russia.
"The ideology and practice of pogroms, exported by a neighbouring state, will not be allowed into Ukraine," he said.
Anti-Semitism remains a feature of militant nationalism in both Ukraine and Russia. During unrest that saw the overthrow of Kiev's Kremlin-backed president in February, several attacks on Jews and synagogues were blamed on Ukrainian far-right groups.
Yatseniuk also spoke of "reports of pro-Moscow terrorists" conducting "pogroms" against Roma near Donetsk - an allegation repeated by the interior minister, who, like the SBU state security service, also issued a press release promising action.
Asked about the "ghastly reports" by a US television interviewer, Yatseniuk pointed to his statement and told NBC's "Meet the Press" program he had urged troops and police "to find these bastards and to bring them to justice."
 I don't find this particularly comforting. It still means that there are anti-Semites out there - plenty of them - who apparently fear nothing.

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