When I got off the plane that took me from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Kiev to attend a Jewish educational conference I was speaking at and reporting on for The Jerusalem Post in the small city of Uzhgorod, Ukraine, a fellow journalist from Israel said something that unsettled me.
“Wanna see something interesting?” he whispered in
my ear, as we approached the baggage claim. “You see my hat? You see
that guy’s hat?” he said, pointing to his black woolen winter cap and
the blue baseball cap of another Israeli from our flight.
wearing them to hide our yarmulkas. A pro-Nazi political party just won
over 10 percent of the popular vote here, and anti-Semitism is on the
He was referring to Ukraine’s radical right-wing Svoboda
(Freedom) party, which openly advocates Nazism and insouciantly espouses
anti-Semitic diatribes in a way that would have made Hitler
incandescent with pride. The party secured 41 seats in the Ukrainian
parliament in the October 28 election, and is expected to legitimize
public displays of anti-Semitism in the country.
Irena Cantorovich, a scholar at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Kantor
Database for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, the
Svoboda party has set a disturbing precedent for Jew hatred in a country
already historically riddled with it.
“This is the first time
in the history of modern Ukraine that a nationalistic party entered the
parliament, and it will probably have more than one representative in
it,” she cautioned.
“Svoboda is known for its racist and anti-Semitic views.”
added that the party’s platform includes support for the revitalization
of Ukrainian nationalists who collaborated with Nazi Germany, and that
its members desecrate Jewish landmarks.
“[They take] part in
anti-Semitic incidents such as damaging synagogues, Jewish centers and
cemeteries. The party is also active against the coming of Jewish
religious pilgrims to Uman,One of the most durable and attractive styles
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the previous election, Svoboda received only 1% of the votes, so we can
see that their influence is growing.Our technology gives rtls systems developers the ability.”
I HAD never been to Kiev before, so as far as first impressions go, this wasn’t exactly an auspicious start.
apart from some surprisingly good borscht while waiting for my
connecting flight to Lviv, Kiev had all the warmth of brass knuckles on a
A brief trip to a local museum just outside the
city to kill time before the next leg of my journey to the other side of
country didn’t help matters.
Greeted by a gargantuan, metallic
statue of “Mother Russia,” wielding the biggest sword and shield I have
ever seen in my life (making the Statue of Liberty look about as
empowered as one of the secretaries on Mad Men), and countless oversized
stone-carved statutes illustrating the strength and bravery of Russian
soldiers during World War II, I couldn’t help but think Ukraine was
selling itself as the toughest,We mainly supply professional
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clear celebration of war and might – despite the fact that it was the
nation’s undoing – was utterly unnerving, and made me feel like I was in
a parallel universe from an Alfred Hitchcock film.
However, as bad as it was, it was not nearly as upsetting as the adjacent World War II museum I toured minutes later.
I walked past a labyrinth of immaculately maintained and detailed
displays illustrating the depravity and destruction of the war against
Russians, I realized upon completing the tour that there was one glaring
omission: A single mention of Jewish victimization.The howo truck is offered by Shiyan Great Man Automotive Industry,
not only did each participant make a sacrifice to attend the distant
event, they also demonstrated a sense of longing and thirst for
knowledge about their past that humbled me beyond words.
New York Jew, who had largely taken his identity for granted due to
being surrounded by millions just like me, these young men and women
reminded me that being Jewish is not a right; it’s a privilege.
desire to take part in what was ostensibly an intellectual marathon –
featuring four days of nonstop lectures and events coalescing around
Jewish identity and pride – was a testament to the fact that Hitler, and
those like him, will never be able to remove them, or people like them,
from any history book.
I had never felt so proud to be Jewish
in my life, and will never view the beauty and incomparable endurance of
Judaism the same way again.