Ukraine Opposition Parties Supporting Anti-Semitism, Say European Parliament Members and A Leading U.S. Jewish Newspaper

 Ukraine Opposition Parties Supporting Anti-Semitism, Say European Parliament
                 Members and A Leading U.S. Jewish Newspaper

  PR Newswire

  KIEV, Ukraine, May 29, 2013

KIEV, Ukraine, May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Members of the European Parliament and a prominent U.S. Jewish newspaper have
in recent days criticized Ukraine's Opposition parties for embracing
anti-Semitism by aligning themselves in a coalition with the extremist Svoboda
(Freedom) party.

In a detailed analysis of Svoboda and its web of political alliances, The
Algemeiner newspaper said that Svoboda, which has been criticized by Jewish
organisations in America and Israel, is benefiting strongly from the support
of Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party and UDAR, the party of
boxer Vitaly Klitschko.

Click here to see original Algemeiner article: 
http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/05/24/svoboda-fuels-ukraines-growing-anti-semitism/

At the same time Marek Siwiec, an MEP (Group of the Progressive Alliance of
Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Poland), criticized
Batkivschyna and UDAR's cooperation with Svoboda

"For me this party is the worst phenomenon, which presents an anti-Semitic
position, and fights against gays and lesbians. They do this openly," the MEP
said, referring to Svoboda.

"I saw a photo of the Svoboda leader, Yatseniuk [Arseniy Yatseniuk, one of
Batkivschyna leaders] and Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, UDAR party leader]
together demonstrating the unity of opposition. But I can't imagine that
people like Klitschko, who position themselves as Europeans, and Yatseniuk,
would willingly shake the hand of a person who in public states that Jews are
the main threat to European civilization. Sometimes, while looking for and
respecting opposition, we can't recognize it," Siwiec said.

He made the remarks during a sitting of the EP Foreign Affairs Committee in
Brussels on Monday.

Separately, Algemeiner , the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America also
criticized the party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for associating
with the extremist Svoboda.

"Far from shunning Svoboda - as Europe's mainstream Hungarian and Greek
parties respectively have ostracized Jobbik and Golden Dawn - Tymoshenko's
Batkivshchina and UDAR haveboth embraced it and its anti-Semitism in a united
opposition to the government of President Viktor Yanukovych," the U.S.
newspaper wrote. It declared that "Batkivshchina and UDAR are not less
anti-Semitic" than Svoboda, which in the 1990s openly operated under the
symbol of Nazi Germany's feared Waffen SS.

The alliance the Algemeiner referred to was the deal between these parties to
oppose all the Ukraine Government's pro-Europe and reformist legislation
including a 2013 measure to prohibit "hate speech and degrading expressions".
This bill was designed to outlaw highly offensive words such as "kike",
"zhid", and "moskal", the favoured terminology of Svoboda supporters.

The newspaper went on to praise the efforts of President Viktor Yanukovych and
his Party of Regions (PoR) in its opposition to Svoboda, stating: "Yanukovych
and the PoR have responded to Svoboda's rise, recently rallying its supporters
under the theme 'Into Europe without fascism!' and 'against political
extremists to revive an ideology of national enmity, and racial and religious
intolerance'".

It also questioned the motives of the Svoboda and its allies beyond racial
issues, pointing out that their opposition to shale gas fracking "mostly
benefits Gazprom, the gigantic Russian gas supplier that holds a stranglehold
on Ukraine and much of Europe".

The Government in Kiev has challenged both Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina and UDAR
to publicly dissociate from Svoboda. 

Svoboda began as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine" in 1991 but reinvented
itself in 2004, ditching its Nazi iconography in a bid to appear more
moderate. It is headed by Oleh Tyahnybok, who regularly speaks of a
"Moscow-Jewish mafia" running Ukraine.

Contact: Andrea Giannotti, +44(0)7825-892-640
 
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