KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — A political party in Ukraine accused Israel’s ambassador there of insulting the country on a TV talk show.
The Rovno Regional Department of Ukraine People’s Party sent a petition to the president of Ukraine, Ukrainian government officials, the prosecutor general and the chief of the Ukrainian Secret Service, or SBU, demanding that Zina Kalay Klaytman be declared a persona non-grata for interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and to bring charges against the anchor of the "Shuster Live" show and owners of the TV channel, TRK Ukraine.
Klaytman and several lawmakers, including Evgeny Chervonenko, first deputy major of Kiev and a Ukrainian Jewish leader, joined host Savik Shuster on the April 24 broadcast devoted to the issue of xenophobia and racism in Ukraine.
People’s Party leaders in a May 12 statement lambasted the host and lawmakers who, they say, “deliberately strain” the level of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Ukraine, and demanded the prosecutor general bring a criminal case against them “for the anti-state activities.”
The statement added that “persons of Jewish nationality cynically outraged our state and debased Ukrainians.”
The party holds six seats in the 450-seat Ukrainian parliament.
Ukrainian Jewish lawmaker Aleksandr Feldman, leader of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, slammed the party’s statement.
“It’s a pity, but there is xenophobia, anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine, and political figures who protect such phenomenon at different levels of power,” the lawmaker’s press service reported Wednesday.
“Such statements discredit the Ukrainian nation in world public opinion rather than any ‘foreign secret services,’ ” according to Feldman.
Feldman urged President Victor Yuschenko to take a public position on the issue. In April, Feldman asked Yuschenko in an open letter to pay attention to the rapid growth of fascism in Ukrainian society.