In the latest of a series of highly public antisemitic statements by prominent figures in Ukraine, a retired Ukrainian general affiliated with the country’s intelligence services this week called for the destruction of his country’s Jewish community.
In a post since deleted from Facebook, Vasily Vovk - a general who holds a senior reserve rank with the Security Service of Ukraine, the local successor to the KGB - wrote that Jews “aren't Ukrainians and I will destroy you along with [Ukrainian oligarch and Jewish lawmaker Vadim] Rabinovych. I'm telling you one more time - go to hell, zhidi [kikes], the Ukrainian people have had it to here with you.”
"Ukraine must be governed by Ukrainians,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian war hero-turned-lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko came under fire in March after saying during a television interview that Jews held disproportionate control over the levers of power in Ukraine.
More recently, opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko was forced to apologise after being filmed laughing at an antisemitic comedy act at a gathering of her Fatherland party, and Volodymyr Viatrovych, director of the state-run Institution for National Memory accused Jewish activist Eduard Dolinsky of fabricating antisemitic incidents for money.
Viatrovych is also running a public awareness campaign whitewashing the participation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a Ukrainian nationalist militia, in the Holocaust.
In 2015 the Ukrainian parliament passed a law prohibiting the denigration of the UPA and other groups which fought for the country’s independence.
Earlier this month, Ukraine made waves internationally when it announced it was opening a murder investigation into the killing of a member of UPA by a ninety four year old Jewish ex-KGB agent in the early 1950s. Ukraine has not prosecuted any of its citizens for war crimes against Jews since the country gained its independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Asked for comment regarding the latest incident of antisemitic rhetoric, the Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv said it “regrets about the fact that General of the Security service of Ukraine left a highly provocative post of anti-Semitic character on his facebook page” but did not indicate if Vovk would be disciplined.
“The Embassy of Ukraine condemns all kinds of manifestations of antisemitism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, and is convinced that there should be no place for them in modern Ukrainian society,” an embassy spokesman wrote the JC.