Jewish leaders: Open Letter to Putin

Ukrainian Jewish leaders have penned a strongly worded Open Letter to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Signatories include leaders of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine (VAAD) Ukraine, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, the Zionist Federation of Ukraine, the Jewish Council of Ukraine, the European Jewish Congress, head rabbis of the progressive and traditional Judaism communities in Ukraine, directors of centers for Jewish and Holocaust studies, and experts in monitoring and analysing xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

A few excerpts:

We are Jewish citizens of Ukraine: businessmen, managers, public figures, scientists and scholars, artists and musicians. We are addressing you on behalf of the multi-national people of Ukraine, Ukraine’s national minorities, and on behalf of the Jewish community. [. . .]

We do not believe that you are easy to fool. You consciously pick and choose lies and slander from the massive amount of information about Ukraine. And you know very well that Victor Yanukovich’s statement concerning the time after the latest treaty had been signed that “…Kyiv is full of armed people who have begun to trash buildings, places of worship, churches. Innocent people have begun to suffer. People have simply been robbed and killed in the street…” are lies, from the first word to the very last.

The Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine are not being humiliated or discriminated against, their civil rights have not been limited. Meanderings about “forced Ukrainization” and “bans on the Russian language” that have been so common in Russian media are on the heads of those who invented them. Your certainty of the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine also does not correspond to the actual facts. It seems you have confused Ukraine with Russia, where Jewish organizations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies last year.

[. . .]

We have a great mutual understanding with the new government, and a partnership is in the works. There are quite a few national minority representatives in the Cabinet of Ministers: the Minister of Internal Affairs is Armenian, the Vice Prime Minister is a Jew, two ministers are Russian. The newly-appointed governors of Ukraine’s region are also not exclusively Ukrainian.

[. . .] we do not wish to be “defended” by sundering Ukraine and annexing its territory. We decisively call for you not to intervene in internal Ukrainian affairs, to return the Russian armed forces to their normal fixed peacetime location, and to stop encouraging pro-Russian separatism.

The entire letter can be read here.

 

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