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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More