Sunday, 10 April 2011

U.S. Department of State: Ukraine sees less acts of anti-Semitism

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State has noted that the number of acts of anti-Semitism in 2010 in Ukraine has decreased.The U.S. Department of State said this in the "2010 Human Rights Reports: Ukraine" published on its Web site on April 8.

The report says there were a number of acts of anti-Semitism, some involving vandalism of Jewish property. According to the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine's (VAAD) there were nine incidents of vandalism during the year compared with 19 incidents in 2009, and 13 in 2008.

There were no reports of violent incidents of anti-Semitism.

The report lists last year's desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Ternopil, Pavlohrad, Sumy and desecrations of Holocaust monuments in Kirovohrad and in Sevastopol, and paint thrown on the walls of a synagogue in Sumy.

At the same time, there were no reports that the authorities had identified suspects or made arrests in cases of vandalism against Jewish property in 2009, including swastikas on the walls of Jewish Charity Center in Melitopol, Nazi symbols on the front door of the Kyiv office of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and paint splashed on the monument marking the birthplace of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson in Mykolaiv.

In 2010 members of marginal populist and nationalist parties and organizations continued to make occasional extremist, intolerant, and anti-Semitic statements. In January unidentified individuals in Sudak, Crimea were reported to have passed out leaflets calling for genocide against Jews in the country. As of the end of the year, there had been no further developments in the incident.

The report also names the reaction of law-enforcement officers on the anti-Semitic statements by Serhiy Ratushnyak, the former mayor of Uzhhorod, and member of Kherson City Council Serhiy Kyrychenko.

According to the report, Anti-Semitic articles continued to appear in small publications, although their number and circulation continued to decline. According to VAAD, 46 anti-Semitic articles were published in major print media outlets in 2009, compared with 54 in 2008 and 542 in 2007. VAAD said the sharp decrease in anti-Semitic publications was due primarily to concerted political and social pressure by NGOs, the government and the Jewish community on the Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP). In previous years, MAUP, a private higher-education institution, accounted for nearly 90 percent of all anti-Semitic material, but has now ceased the publications.

The document also noted the continued efforts to combat anti-Semitism by senior government officials and politicians from various political parties by speaking out against extremism and social intolerance, and by criticizing anti-Semitic acts.

According to the government the SBU acted to prevent at least six hate crimes in 2009 and 2010, including illegal activities by skinhead groups in Cherkassy and Dnepropetrovsk and an attack on the cultural center Hesed Haim in Sumy.

An estimated 103,600 Jews live in the country, comprising approximately 0.2% of the population,, the report quotes the data of government census and international Jewish groups. Local Jewish leaders estimated the number of persons with an ethnic Jewish heritage to be as high as 370,000

No comments: