The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed alarm at the strong electoral support for the radical Svoboda (Freedom) party of Ukraine in Sunday’s parliamentary election. Anti-Semitic rhetoric has been a mainstay of Svoboda’s leaders and campaign slogans.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We are alarmed that 12% of Ukrainians voted for Svoboda, a radical party well-known for its anti-Semitic rhetoric. Its leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, just yesterday confirmed his long-standing claim that Ukraine is ruled by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” and that “Ukraine should finally be given to Ukrainians,” clearly excluding hundreds of thousands of Jewish Ukrainians.
Tyahnybok has called Jews “occupiers” of Ukraine and lauded the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a nationalist militia in WWII, for killing Jews.
Svoboda won three Western regions outright and came in second in Kyiv, the capital. Such strong and concentrated support for Svoboda raises our concern for the significant Jewish communities in Kyiv, Lviv, and the smaller communities in the West.
It is of particular concern that the opposition party of Yulia Tymoshenko has signed a cooperation agreement with Svoboda, giving greater credibility to this fringe extremist political party.
Svoboda has organized demonstrations against Jewish pilgrimages to Hassidic Jewish holy sites in Ukraine, and its officials have tried to prevent Holocaust education films from being shown in Lviv schools.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.