The Donetsk anti-Semitic leaflets – what should not be overlooked
Google the words “anti-Semitic leaflet” and the first pages will be only about Ukraine following the appearance this week of scandalous anti-Semitic leaflets purporting to be from the self-styled pro-Russian “Donetsk Republic”. Most accounts mention “separatists” and then consider who could hope to gain from them. Since not all reports demonstrate due skepticism, and many go on to repeat unsubstantiated claims about supposedly rising anti-Semitism in Ukraine, the likely fall-out and inevitable mileage to be gained by the Kremlin seems clear. Nor is this mileage only in the future. The Joint Diplomatic Statement on Ukraine signed on April 17 by the EU, US, Russia and Ukraine successfully avoids mention of Crimea at all, but does strongly “condemn and reject all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism”. A gift to the Russian propaganda machine.
Whoever was behind the leaflets, the Jewish people who saw them outside the Donetsk Synagogue on April 15, the eve of Passover, must have been distressed by clear echoes of the text posted around Kyiv on 28 September 1941. That had ordered all Jews to assemble near Babi Yar, then a ravine near Kyiv. Over the following days Nazi Einsatzgruppen and local collaborators stripped naked and murdered 33 thousand Jewish men, women and children.