By both sides. And why Jewish emigrants should not fight over it, let Slavs settle this one between themselves
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at The Russian Insider
The White House position has been to wholeheartedly approve the Maidan Putsch against the Russia-favored incumbent President Yanukovich.
Moreover, USA regards Russian actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to be violating international laws and have been sanctioning Moscow for same.
As new and proud US citizens, emigrants from former Soviet Union want to appear to be in toe with and support the official American party line vis a vis the Russian Federation.
Putin is naturally a not very likable character because of suppression of democratic election process and independent press in Russia; thus all his policies are immediately questioned and initially hated.
What many do not recognize is that the Ukraine quagmire is not black and white – USA and Russia are pursing their own interests in the region, sometimes without regard for what is beneficial to the people actually living in Ukraine.
Both behemoths employ various propaganda tools to push their agenda in the region. It is not unpatriotic to sometimes question the wisdom and end benefits of a particular American foreign policy, it is actually an inherently American right to exercise.
In my opinion Jews should stay on the sidelines of this particular topic. Words of ancient Talmud tractate Pirkei Avot, ring true even today generally and more specifically to the topic at hand:
“Be careful with the government, for they befriend a person only for their own needs. They appear to be friends when it is beneficial to them, but they do not stand by a person at the time of his distress.”
Both Russian and Ukrainian governments have made Jews and supposed anti-Semitism in their respective territories one of the central issues in their propaganda battles. I feel that sometimes Jews are used as pawns in the informational warfare.
Russia accuses Ukraine of gross anti-Semitism and adhering to fascist principles. Ukraine argues that opposite is true and that Jews are even welcomed in the most nationalistic Ukraine parties. Ukrainians blame any anti-Semitic outbursts on the Russian-speaking separatists and their sympathizers.
Few notable examples of warring sides using Jews in their propaganda are worth mentioning.
- In their efforts to drum up national pride and fervor, Ukrainians sometimes use Stepan Bandera, a hero of their nationalistic struggle against Communists and a Nazi collaborator. An Ukrainian-Jewish oligarch, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a financial supporter of the Ukrainian policies has even, in jest, dubbed himself ZhidoBanderovitz , a “Kike Bandera supporter” to show that even Jews support Ukrainian nationalists.
- Ukrainian Army units comprised of nationalistic elements parade around a religious Jew in full Hasidic garb and another Jew who lived in Israel and is fluent in Hebrew to show them as supporters and fighters in the Ukrainian Army against the separatist.
- Separatists have claimed that a whole battalion of former Israel Defense Forces soldiers are fighting along side with them “to fight the Jew-hating fascists in the Ukraine”.
- Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues in Ukraine have been analyzed by both sides and have been concluded to be made by the supporters on the opposite side.
- Ukrainians reported on a synagogue in the territory held by the rebels that was issued a demand to register all of its members with the new authorities. This was later deemed to be a hoax.
It would be a shame to let some unscrupulous players in the Ukrainian conflict to continue to use Jews and allegations of anti-Semitism to advance their goals. We should not let them do so and we should not appear to give in to any provocations where we are seen to favor one party to the conflict over the other.
Russian and Ukrainian are both Slavic people who are almost like brothers, with centuries of co-existence binding them.
Kievan Rus, situated in Ukraine was the cradle of Russian and Ukrainian civilization a millennium ago. They will resolve their differences without us.
Intense peace talks, POW exchanges and most importantly gas transactions are conducted now between Ukraine and Russia. There will be a peace in the region soon!
It is disheartening to see Jews fight and lose relationships over this issue. I hope that instead Jews unite in facing the threat of growing anti-Semitism in Western Europe and USA, a valid concern that must be addressed.