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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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