Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What on earth is going on in the FSU?

There's been a lot of attention given to anti-Semitism in the UK and France over the past couple of years, but there is no doubt that the most anti-Semitic place in Europe at the moment is the Former Soviet Union, where a concerted anti-Jewish campaign is being waged, with no let-up.
After the call to ban Jewish organizations and the investigation into the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in Russia, we now have a letter signed by the leaders of the Ukrainian Conservative Party and editors-in-chief of some Ukrainian media organizations (which ones? No one's saying) calling for criminal action against the 'Judeo-Nazis' (!) of Chabad for distributing the Tanya:
‘We demand to bring a criminal action against the Habad rabbis Asman, Dov Blaih and others… for the dissemination in Ukraine of the Judeo-Nazi teachings from the Book of Tania, for teaching it in the Jewish schools and synagogues, and for the involvement of Jewish children and teenagers in this misantrophic religious system.’
In Russia-proper, Chabad cosied up to Putin and in the Kitzur SA investigation, defended the government against accusations of anti-Semitism and according to early accounts, were the reason the investigation was lifted (it later emerged Ehud Olmert had done the heavy lifting). Curious they are being specifically picked on in the Ukraine. What kind of relationship does Chabad have with Yushchenko (who, as I seem to recall from before the election, is not known as a friend of the Jews -- indeed, the Jews were worried that his election would strengthen the ultra-nationalists in the country, resulting in the exact kind of anti-Semitic actions we see above)? Shmarya, we're relying on you to tell us and to add some perspective.
And Mr. Yushchenko: we're watching.

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