Israel has expressed “deep concern” at a political breakthrough by an extremist party in Ukraine that is well known for its attacks on Jews and foreigners, and which managed to win a large number of parliamentary seats for the first time on Sunday thanks to an election pact with controversial opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party. The opposition was also boosted by the tacit support of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton last week penned an op-ed in The New York Times praising Mrs. Tymoshenko, who in turn joined forces with the anti-Semitic Svoboda Party.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on October 27, “Israel is concerned by the recently signed coalition agreement between the ‘Batkyvshchyna’ party and the extremist ‘Svoboda’ party in Ukraine. Antisemitic insults by ‘Svoboda’ have caused outrage on number of occasions both in Ukraine and in Israel. The ‘Svoboda’ leader has praised the fight ‘against kikes and dirty Russians.'”
One prominent Jewish leader, who asked to remain unnamed, says that Clinton’s New York Times op-ed ripping the current Ukrainian administration has “created a neo-Nazi Frankenstein by issuing a de facto endorsement of Mrs. Tymoshenko and her choices.”
The Svoboda Party is led by Oleg Tyagnibok, who has suggested that Ukraine is occupied by “Yids and Russians,” as well as making statements about “kikes.” An activist of Svoboda and a candidate for mayor of Lviv in the 2010 elections, Yuri Mikhalchishin, last year called on supporters to use the methods of Hamas. He also called the Holocaust as a “bright period” in the history of Europe and declared the state of Israel “illegitimate.”
On Sunday, Tymoshenko’s opposition party ran in an election alliance with the extremist Svoboda Party, which for the first time broke through the 5% minimum vote barrier, achieving dozens of seats; all in all, Svoboda received around 11% of the national vote according to exit polls.
Now, top Jewish leaders are calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pressure Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a retraction of her support for Tymoshenko. President Obama has, in the past, spoken out strongly against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial: “We know that evil has yet to run its course on earth …. To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who perpetrate every form of intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, and more.” So, too, has Prime Minister Netanyahu: “The threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after 6 million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state. Leaders who spew such venom should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. Now, there’s something that makes the outrage even greater. And you know what that is? It’s the lack of outrage. Because in much of the international community the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence.”
That silence continues from the State Department with regard to Ukraine.