The Ukrainian Jewish Committee and a group of young Ukrainians launched a project targeting xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
Using the slogans “Say no to xenophobia,” and “Anti-Semitism – No!” more than 30 members of the Youth, Europe, Future organization with the Ukrainian Jewish Committee protested Thursday in Kiev against racist attacks and other forms of intolerance.
Xenophobia and propaganda of Nazi and racist ideas have risen in Ukraine, the leaders of the groups told JTA. They also noted a rise in neo-Nazi demonstrations, as well as the building of monuments and memorials glorying Nazis.
The project will monitor and counteract intolerance in the media, as well as at events, demonstrations and speeches. It also will maintain a database of the neo-Nazi centers, push authorities to intensify the struggle against anti-Semitism, race discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance; and expand the initiatives against neo-Nazi propaganda and xenophobia in Ukraine.
“We are planning to do our best to combat all forms of intolerance in collaboration with the Ukrainian government, as well as with European and American organizations,” Eduard Dolinsky, the director general of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told JTA. “The Ukrainian Jewish Committee demands that the Ukrainian government admit officially there is racial discrimination in the country and to take measures to overcome it and protect possible victims, according to the international obligations of Ukraine.”
Aleksandr Feldman, the leader of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and a Ukrainian lawmaker, said his organization is especially concerned about the lack or absence of official statistics regarding racial and xenophobic attacks.
“The racial and anti-Semitic motivation as a rule is not taken into account, and Ukrainian courts identify them as hooliganism or rowdiness,” Feldman said.
According to Amnesty International, Ukraine has had about 30 serious racial attacks this year – most of the victims were of African or Asian birth. Gypsies and Jews, as well as buildings owned by Jews, also have been attacked.