Jews in east Ukraine are being threatened, but by whom?

In all of his 20-year service in Donetsk, Rabbi Pinhas Vyshedski said, he could never imagine that anything as “cynical” and “anti-human” could ever happen to his community. The text of the leaflet read like an accusation against Ukrainian Jews for their supposed support of the “Bandera Junta” in Kiev, which is what many Russian-speakers call the government that took over in February after ousting pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. The irony, of course, is that Bandera was for a time a Nazi collaborator. …

Later Pushilin publically denied that he had ever signed such a letter, and indeed it could have been the work of provocateurs hoping to discredit the pro-Russian movement. But Pushilin’s statement was not enough to comfort the alarmed Jewish community, which has other reasons to suspect it could have been issued by at least some members of the pro-Russian faction.

According to Rabbi Vyshedski, the press secretary of the self-proclaimed republic, Aleksander Kriakov, is “the most famous anti-Semite in the region.” Vyshedski wondered how separatists who are trying to position themselves as “anti-fascist” and claiming it’s Kiev that’s run by neo-Nazis could pick Kriakov as their spokesman.

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