April 18, 2014
TO: NCSJ Leadership and Interested Parties
FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSJ Executive Director
Due to a technical difficulty, we were unable to distribute the NCSJ Weekly Update on Friday by email.
As you've most likely already seen, it has been a troubling week for Jews in Ukraine.
While celebrations of Passover have gone on almost as normal, Russia's annexation of Crimea and continued pro-Russia activity in Eastern Ukraine have created an extremely tense atmosphere.
On top of that, there was a disturbing anti-Semitic incident in Eastern Ukraine earlier this week. A number of anti-Semitic fliers were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue. NCSJ has been in frequent, direct contact with the Donetsk Jewish community and with government officials since we learned of this incident.
We spoke today with Yehuda Kelerman, Deputy Chairman of the Donbass Regional Association of Jewish Congregations, which includes Donetsk. He said that law enforcement authorities have reported that they do not yet know who was behind this action.
He reported that people in ski masks came twice to post these fliers. The first time, people immediately destroyed them. They came again later at 1:30 a.m. when no one was around to stop them, though the synagogue's camera recorded them.
I also want to report on a story just beginning to get Western attention. A Kazakh magazine recently published an issue allegedly extolling Nazi ideology, with Hitler on the cover.
According to Kazakh news reports, the government has already responded to this case and has concluded that the issue "violates the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan concerning the incitement of social, national, racial and religious hatred." In response, the magazine's editor justified its publication as a reminder and warning "to save us all from the dangerous policy of the Russian Empire, which is trying to restore Nazi-chauvinistic ideology again."
NCSJ reached out today to the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States to register our concern about the publication of such dangerous material.
As always, we will keep you updated on the latest developments on these stories and throughout the region.
Best regards for the end of the Passover holiday.
Chag Pesach Sameach,
Mark B. Levin
for NCSJ's Weekly News Update.
NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia,
Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia, founded
represents the organized American Jewish
in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the
estimated 1.5 million Jews living in the 15
states of the former Soviet Union.
NCSJ is a beneficiary of The
Federations of North America and the National
through its network of