How Russia Has Used Anti-Semitism, and Fears of Anti-Semitism, in Its War on Ukraine

Since the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, Moscow’s propaganda machine has aimed to depict his successors as Nazi sympathizers and the country as rife with anti-Semitism. Sam Sokol explains:

Just more than four years ago, Russia’s popular television news program Vesti ran a segment claiming that Ukrainian Jews were streaming out of the country in a mass exodus brought about by harsh government repression. The report cited a fabricated letter attributed to a senior Jewish figure in Belgium that described “cases of compulsory closures of Jewish organizations and schools” and alleged that Ukraine was experiencing an “outrageous revival of Nazi . . . traditions.”

While many Jews were indeed fleeing Ukraine (more than 32,000 have moved to Israel since 2013), this migration was primarily due to damage caused by the Russian [invasion] of the country and the subsequent economic downturn. . . .

It was a brilliant, if twisted and amoral, move on the part of the Russians. Anti-Semitism certainly isn’t an issue of concern to most Russians, but in a country in which the cult of Soviet victory in the World War II runs deep, [these] reports could be used to bolster the claim that a “fascist junta” had grabbed power in Kiev, increasing domestic support for Russian intervention. Parallel to this effort, the Kremlin also engaged in the promotion of theories about a Jewish conspiracy to control Ukraine, a move likely intended to sow confusion and whip up social unrest. . . .

There is ample reason to believe that, just like in Ukraine, Russia will attempt to raise the specter of anti-Semitism in the United States during the 2020 [elections].

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Ukraine, Ukrainian Jews, War in Ukraine

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media