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Update: ‘Ukraine Is Not Ordering Its Jews to Register’

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Posted on Apr 17, 2014

    The leaflet demanded the city's Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own or have their citizenship revoked. Photo by The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

“Today, the Western press caught up with the Ukrainian rumor mill,” The New Republic reports. “Apparently, the People’s Republic of Donetsk had ordered all Jews over the age of 16 to pay a fee of $50 U.S. and register with the new ‘authorities,’ or face loss of citizenship or expulsion.”

Truthdig reported the existence of the fliers as well as the denial of involvement by Denis Pushilin, the man the leaflets identified as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government.”

The New Republic continues:

[The orders were] laid out in officious-looking fliers pasted on the local synagogue. One local snapped a photo of the fliers and sent it to a friend in Israel, who then took it to the Israeli press and, voila, an international scandal: American Twitter is abuzz with it, Drudge is hawking it, and, today in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the fliers as “grotesque.” 

The Donetsk Jewish community dismissed this as “a provocation,” which it clearly is. “It’s an obvious provocation designed to get this exact response, going all the way up to Kerry,” says Fyodr Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs. “I have no doubt that there is a sizeable community of anti-Semites on both sides of the barricades, but for one of them to do something this stupid—this is done to compromise the pro-Russian groups in the east.” 

Why? The Russian government has been playing up the (real but small) role of fascists and neo-Nazis in the victory of the EuroMaidan in Kiev. The Ukrainian government, utterly powerless to fight off the Russians and their local stooges, have had to rely on other methods, like leaking taped phone calls of allegedly local separatists getting their commands from Moscow. This may be just another tactic to smear the so-called anti-Maidan in the east of Ukraine: you think we’re fascists? Well, take a look at these guys.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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