News / Europe

US Condemns Anti-Semitic Leaflets In Ukraine

FILE - People lay flowers at a menorah monument close to the Babi Yar ravine where the Nazis machine-gunned tens of thousands of Jews during WWII, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sept. 30, 2012.
FILE - People lay flowers at a menorah monument close to the Babi Yar ravine where the Nazis machine-gunned tens of thousands of Jews during WWII, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sept. 30, 2012.
Kent Klein
Leaflets ordering Jews in eastern Ukraine to register with a self-proclaimed local authority have drawn the condemnation of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.  Jewish organizations also are denouncing the action.

Jewish groups in eastern Ukraine say official-looking documents were circulated late Tuesday in the city of Donetsk,  calling on Jews to register with the Nationalities Commissioner and pay $50 or lose their citizenship and be deported.

The leaflets were said to be handed out by three people wearing ski masks and carrying Russian flags, near the synagogue in Donetsk.

The pro-Russian Donetsk Republic denies any involvement. It says the leaflets are fake.

Pro-Russian gunmen have seized Ukrainian government buildings in several eastern towns and cities.  Ukrainian troops are conducting operations to retake the buildings.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the distribution of the leaflets.

"In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled in all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it's grotesque, is beyond unacceptable.  And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities, from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of, there is no place for that," said Kerry.

Kerry spoke in Geneva, after diplomats from the United States, the European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement on steps to calm tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

He also sharply criticized apparent threats to members of the Russian Orthodox Church from members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Here in Washington, Executive Director Mark Levin of the Jewish organization NCSJ says Jews in Donetsk are very concerned about the distribution of the leaflets.

"They and we see the distribution of these leaflets as a provocation.  From whom, and why, we're not exactly sure, but it certainly had its intended effect," said Levin.

Levin says anti-Semitic incidents have been building in eastern Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian Jewish community has tried not to get caught in the middle of this conflict, or to be used as a scapegoat by either side.  The level of anti-Semitism has been sporadic, at best, over the last four months in Ukraine," he said.

The U.S. State Department says it is investigating the incident, and takes the threat seriously, regardless of who produced the leaflets.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid