Netanyahu meets with head of Ukrainian party that includes neo-Nazis
By SAM SOKOL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has come under fire in recent years for allegedly failing to confront anti-Semitism and revisionism in Central and Eastern Europe, met with the head of a Ukrainian political party whose membership includes ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.
Oleh Lyashko of the Ukrainian Radical Party came to Jerusalem as part of a parliamentary delegation led by Jewish lawmaker Georgii Logvynskyi. Lyashko was shown shaking Netanyahu’s hand in a video tweeted out by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Lyashko’s party includes nationalist Yuri Shukhevych, the son of Nazi collaborator Roman Shukhevych, whose troops engaged in war crimes against Jews during World War II.
Another party lawmaker is Artyom Vitko, who was filmed in 2015 singing a song celebrating Adolf Hitler with lyrics that included “Adolf Hitler, together with us, Adolf Hitler, in each of us, and an eagle with iron wings will help us at the right time.”
Lyaskhko has himself courted controversy, blasting then-President Petro Poroshenko following a 2015 state visit to Jerusalem during which the Ukrainian leader apologized for collaboration by his countrymen during the Holocaust. Poroshenko’s comments were a “humiliation” for Ukraine, Lyashko said, adding that he was “proclaiming [the] inferiority of his people.”
After Poroshenko lost his re-election bid to Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this year, Lyashko accused the Jewish comedian turned politician of “lacking patriotism.”
In an interview with The Times of Israel published Tuesday, the prominent American Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt called Netanyahu a hypocrite, saying that “you have a government whose policy is to make nice with the Polish government, which is trying to rewrite Holocaust history, and with a Hungarian government that’s engaging in anti-Semitism.
Note from PAJU: The courting of anti-Semitic elements by Benjamin Netanyahu et al may appear to be an anomaly, but it is not. We add the following passage from Professor Yakov Rabkin’s book, What Is Modern Israel? (first published in 2014 under the title, Comprendre l’État d’Israël, and subsequently translated to English):
Repeatedly, dating from its inception, Zionism has been accused of
fomenting anti-Semitism. Racial anti-Semitism took form only a few
years after the emergence of the secular Jewish identity which was
indispensable for the emergence of Zionism. Even though it often
proved a source of embarrassment, the Zionists often received support
from anti-Semitic politicians in a number of countries. Herzl’s contacts
with the tsarist authorities as well as those cultivated by Vladimir
Jabotinsky with the Polish anti-Semites underscore the conceptual
compatibility of Zionism and anti-Semitism. The anti-Semites wished
to be rid of the Jews; the Zionists sought to gather the Jews in the Holy
Land. A recent study of the history of Palestine under the British Mandate
has pointed up the assistance provided by anti-Semites in the Colonial
Office in both London and Jerusalem, and the efforts of the Zionist leader-
ship to cultivate the myth of a world Jewish plot.
(page 138, Rabkin, Yakov M. What Is Modern Israel? Translated by Fred A. Reed. London: Pluto Press, 2016. www.plutopress.com)
Distributed by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)