Jews Ordered to 'Register' in East Ukraine
Jews have been ordered to "register" by pro-Russian militants in the city of Donetsk, USA Today reports:
Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website.
Donetsk is the site of an "anti-terrorist" operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia. The news was carried first by the Ukraine's Donbass news agency.
The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of "Donetsk's temporary government," and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the reports.
According to Alex Tenzer, a Kiev native and one of the directors of the National Association of Immigrants from the Former USSR in Israel, said: "The Jewish-Ukrainian leadership supports Ukraine's new government, but it's hard to tell whether the leaflet is valid or simply a provocation.
"Anyway, the material is very anti-Semitic and reminds me of the kind of material distributed by the Nazis in WWII."
Emanuelle Shechter, from Israel, received a copy of the leaflet via Whatsapp from his friends in Donetsk. "They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions."
Update from Buzzfeed:
U.S. officials strongly condemned anti-Semitic leaflets allegedly being distributed in eastern Ukraine — even as it became clear that Jews were not in fact being forced to “register” and as questions arose about the provenance and authenticity of the documents.
“In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it’s grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press conference after negotiations over the Ukraine crisis with Russia in Geneva. “And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities — from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of — there is no place for that.”
...Pushilin, the pro-Russian local figure, has denied that his group put out the leaflets. And Kirill Rudenko, a spokesperson for the Donetsk Republic, also denied the group had anything to do with the flyer. “This is a total lie. We haven’t handed out any flyers. Our only tasks are defending the occupier buildings and preparing for the referendum,” he told BuzzFeed. “This is an American secret services provocation to discredit us.”
But even as the source of the fliers remains unclear, the U.S. government Thursday mounted a coordinated campaign to tie the flier to the separatists.
“Reports of Jews being forced to register by pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine are chilling, outrageous and must be universally condemned,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted.