Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. February 6, 2015



 

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
  
Dear Friend,
 On Monday, leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics made appalling anti-Semitic statements, in a press conference broadcasted by several Russian TV channels. In the broadcasted address, separatist leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotinsky disparaged Ukraine's government as "pathetic representatives of the great Jewish people" and said that Ukraine nationalists "would turn in their graves if they could see who is running Ukraine." This cynical attempt to incite ethnic hatred and to inject anti-Semitism into an already volatile conflict is unacceptable and must be condemned.

Reports continue to come in about the violence and humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ukraine. This week, a Donetsk hospital was shelled, killing three civilians and leaving many others wounded.

We hear from the Donetsk Jewish community leaders that despite constant shelling of the city, its remaining Jews are staying, because they are not financially able to leave, or because they mistrust the quality of refugee absorption programs in other areas of Ukraine. Volunteers from international and local Jewish organizations are delivering food, medicine, and other necessities to those in need in Donetsk and other cities, despite the danger.

As violence in Eastern Ukraine continues, there is a growing push by some in Washington to provide Ukraine with lethal arms. This week, several influential national security experts released a report urging the Obama administration to arm Ukraine. They suggest $1 billion in military assistance this year, followed by additional $1 billion tranches in 2016 and 2017. The update includes a number of articles arguing for and against provision of such military support.

Meanwhile, efforts continue to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Fran´┐Żois Hollande traveled to Moscow today to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, presenting a new peace plan initiative.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Kyiv yesterday and met with President Petro Poroshenko and other officials. Speaking from Kyiv, he urged Russia to cease its aggression: "We cannot close our eyes to the tanks that are crossing the border coming into Ukraine," he said. Sec. Kerry also said that, at this time, the administration has no plans to send arms to Ukraine.

Sincerely,
 

 

Mark B. Levin

Executive Director




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About NCSEJ
Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
 
Website: www.ncsej.org   
Phone: 202-898-2500 
 
 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations.