He sneeringly proclaimed that she was not “Ukrainian but a zhydovka.” This deeply hurtful slur for a Jew was an alarming gutter effort to inject Jew-hatred into the acceptable bounds of mainstream Ukrainian discourse.
Despite the widely accepted notion that we live in an ever-more globalized world, too many people are skeptical that what happens in the halls of some far-off parliament on the other side of the world bears any impact on our way of life. On the contrary, I fear that events now developing here in Ukraine should remind us that our world is now inextricably intertwined. Every person who dreams of a more tolerant and peaceful international community is obliged to sit bolt upright and take notice.
I speak directly to this growing trend, wherein an anti-Semitic collection of hate-mongers are abusing the democratic Parliament of Ukraine to spew messages and incite violence, in ways that we had hoped were relegated to the distant past. In our recent elections, I was horrified to witness Svododa gain over 10 percent of the national vote. Like all ultra-nationalist parties, they campaigned and were elected on a message intended to inject fear into society. They shrilly warn that foreigners and minorities are positioned to take over the country. Idolizing some of the most virulently anti-freedom icons of generations past, including most prominently the architect of Nazi propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, Svoboda works hard to make hatred commonplace — and acceptable — throughout Ukrainian society.