Five days ago, flyers were left in a Donetsk synagogue that demanded that all Jews register with the "Donetsk Republic Commissar for Nationality Affairs" and pay a $50 fine. The flyers further claimed that failure to do so would result as follows: "Those who refuse to register will be deprived of citizenship and forcibly expelled from the republic and their property will be confiscated."
As disgusting as the flyer was, it was also proven to be a hoax on Friday, yet the media and the executive branch keep flogging this story as if it were true. It would be one thing if this were standard disinformation, but in this case lives are at stake.
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I don't claim to be an expert on the history of the Jewish community of Donetsk, but any breathing person can surmise that between the Czarist pogroms, the wars of the early twentieth century, Stalin's collectives and purges, the Nazi invasion, the Holocaust, and Communism, that it's a miracle and a testament to human fortitude that Donetsk has a Jewish community at all.
Thus far the Jewish community of Donetsk has not been an issue in the greater conflict of the Ukraine, but after attention from both the western media and the executive branch, they have received attention that is both unwarranted and unwanted.
Anti-Semitism is a reality in the Ukraine. It is largely low level, but it can be exacerbated easily. Shining a completely unwarranted spotlight on them, with this media attention, puts them and all they hold dear at risk. These people would like to just live their lives without any untoward attention, yet thanks to the western media, there is an attention now that didn't exist before.
Here's a word from the Rabbi.
My fear is that one or both factions may blame and/or persecute this small community for something they absolutely are not responsible for. Are we really so base that we can throw a small but thriving Jewish community under the bus to advance our rhetoric?