(JTA) — Amid international pressure on Ukraine over its perceived tolerance of anti-Semitism, a local mayor and a diplomat were documented engaging hate speech against Jews.
The mayor of the village of Skole, located 60 miles southwest of Lviv, inveighed against Jews during a recent lecture before city councilmen. Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, posted a video on Facebook of Mayor Vlodimyr Moskal’s address on Monday.
Quoting Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic writings about Jewish schemes for world domination, Moskal said: “A lot of that work is devoted to the death of the goyim,” Hebrew for non-Jews. “Christians, Arabs, Buddhists, they are not people to them after their reaching world domination, which they are clearly trying to do through cosmopolitanism and liberalism in order to destroy all nations, to leave the political nation, to mix everyone into one lump, migrants, blacks,” the mayor said. He also called the government, whose prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, is Jewish, “Muscovite Jews”– an insult in a country where anti-Russian sentiment is rife.
Separately, screenshots shared online show that Vasyl Marushchynets, who works at Ukraine’s consulate in Hamburg, Germany, blamed on Facebook Jews for World War II and saying “death to the anti-fascists” on his private Facebook page, Reuters reported Monday. Marushchynets and the Hamburg consulate did not immediately respond to requests for comment but Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed his suspension.
“Anti-semitism[sic] and those who stir up inter-ethnic discord can have no place either in civilized society or in the foreign ministry,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Twitter.
Ukraine has seen a spate of anti-Semitic incidents in recent weeks, including vandalism at two monuments for Holocaust victims. One of the monuments was firebombed; unidentified parties wrote neo-Nazi slogans, on the other.
Last month, hundreds of people in Lviv attended a nationalist march featuring Nazi symbols. The march commemorated a World War II Waffen SS unit that had included many local volunteers.
On May 4, President Petro Poroshenko condemned “any manifestations of intolerance and anti-Semitism” in his country.
These incidents and the march coincided with a letter signed by 57 U.S. congressmen condemning what they called Ukrainian legislation that “glorifies Nazi collaborators.” The letter, which Ukrainian media reported on, is the harshest public rebuke in years of Ukraine’s anti-Semitism by American elected officials. The letter decried a worldwide “rise of this hateful ideology.”
A revolution in 2013 that ended the rule of a key Kremlin ally in Ukraine ushered in a wave of nationalism. This coincided with what Israeli researchers of anti-Semitism have called a massive increase in anti-Semitic incidents amid government inaction.
The glorification of fighters who allied with the Nazis against Russian domination increased considerably in volume after 2013. In 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a law that criminalizes denying the “heroism” of some of these allies of Nazi Germany, which oversaw the near annihilation of the region’s Jews.
The German Foreign Ministry said it had been in touch with its Ukrainian counterpart to express its concern over the consul in Hamburg.