Ukraine. Abraham Foxman is a patient man. When protests began in November after now-deposed leader Viktor Yanukovych jettisoned an arrangement with the EU in favor of joining Russia’s orbit, he waited. And the world was silent.
On February 18, 20,000 protestors in Kiev marched from Independence Square to parliament to demand Yanukovych be removed. Riot police then assaulted the primary camp on the square, The Maiden. Police breached the defensive perimeter and destroyed barricades before being repelled in a counterattack of men armed mainly with rocks, bats, knives, and homemade ordnance. 28 people are said to have died. Abraham Foxman waited…and the world was silent.
On February 20, government forces opened fire on protestors in the square as fighting intensified. 82 lives are consumed, including 15 police. Two days later, Yanukovych flees the presidential palace as opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is released from prison. Parliament votes to hold early elections and denounces the former president. A day later Oleksandr Turchynov is elected interim president. Abraham Foxman waited…and the world was silent.
Now Crimea’s pro-Russian leader has claimed control of the police and military in the region, as Russian troops arrive in country. Again Putin and the West stare warily nose-to-nose, proxies rotating like a geopolitical Rubik’s cube. The potential for military conflict, social conflagration, death, and privation escalate as neither side withdraws from the brink.
And finally Abraham Foxman can wait no longer: Won’t someone think of the Jews?
The Ukrainian Jewish community is nervous.
Yes and 80 years ago the Ukrainian-Ukrainian community was hungry.
Dmitro Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, met with Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Reuven Din El, and told him that their movement rejects anti-Semitism and xenophobia and will not tolerate it. He said their goals were a democratic Ukraine, transparent government, ending corruption, and equal opportunity for all ethnic groups.
More succinctly: Here comes the diversity.
Or it (the new government)can be inspired by the Ukrainian nationalist Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, who wrote on July 1, the day after the state was declared, that the new government should exercise – quote — “wise, just leadership and measures that would take into consideration the needs and welfare of all citizens who inhabit our land, without regard to what faith, nationality, or social stratum they belong.”
So he would find palatable a nationalism “without regard” to nationality. Abe, you’re not even trying.
it is up to Prime Minister Yatsenyuk to ensure that anti-Semitism is not tolerated and that democratic norms are adhered to. By sending that message to the people of Ukraine now, the prime minister will reassure the Jewish community and set an admirable example.
Anti-Russian sentiment to be addressed later. Though as for admirable examples, I’m certain this is one upon which everyone can agree.