Lehigh Valley

Anti-Semitic flyers in Ukraine cause outrage in Lehigh Valley

Anti-Semitic flyers in Ukraine cause outrage in the Lehigh Valley

A show of antisemitism is making waves in Ukraine.

This week, flyers were handed out to Jews telling them to register with the government or face consequences. It turned out to be a hoax, and some are also calling it a political ploy.

Local Jewish leaders are calling the incident outrageous and grotesque, saying antisemitism should not be used to garner international opinion.

"It's very disturbing to all of us especially for this kind of action to occur during a holy week for both Jews and Christians," said Mark Goldstein, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.

Tuesday, as Jews were leaving a synagog in Donetsk, masked men handed them flyers demanding they register with the government.

Those flyers were reportedly signed by the leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, the pro-Russian group now engaged with Ukrainian nationals for control of the country.

Jewish leaders investigated and found the flyers were a hoax.

Both sides are denying responsibility.

Secretary of State John Kerry called it intolerable, grotesque and beyond unacceptable.

"The reason it was done was to promote unrest and promote instability and to garner worldwide public opinion," said Goldstein.

Goldstein said this is the second time antisemitism has been used as political volley in Ukraine.

He said first Putin used it as part of his reasoning for going into Crimea, and now this, a move that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany and its treatment of Jews and other minorities.

Goldstein said the use of antisemitism is not only alarming, but also doesn't make sense because he says recent Ukrainian leaders have not been anti-Semitic.

"The situation for Jews in the Ukraine has been pretty good. Antisemitism has been on the decline it is nothing like it was in the 20s, 30s, 40s," said Goldstein.

Goldstein said Jews and Christians around the world are watching the situation closely and he is sure many will be saying prayers for peace in Ukraine.

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