April 17th, 2014
03:23 PM ET

Anti-Semitic fliers in eastern Ukraine denounced

(CNN) - U.S. officials Thursday denounced what one called a "grotesque" leaflet ordering Jews in one eastern Ukrainian city to register with a government office, but the Jewish community there dismissed it as a "provocation."

The fliers were handed out by masked men in front the main synagogue in Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have declared a "People's Republic," Jewish leaders there said. The document warned the city's Jews to register and document their property or face deportation, according to a CNN translation of one of the leaflets.

Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" that a respected Jewish leader in Ukraine showed him a photograph of one of the leaflets. He called the document "chilling."

And in Geneva, where diplomats held emergency talks on the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaflets "grotesque" and "beyond unacceptable."

But the Jewish community statement said relations between the Jews of Donetsk and their neighbors were amicable, and the self-proclaimed head of the "People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, denied any connection to the fliers.

Pushilin told CNN the handwriting on the flier wasn't his, and the title attached to his name was not one he uses. It wasn't clear who had distributed the leaflets, but the chief rabbi of nearby Dnipropetrovsk said, "Everything must be done to catch them."

"It's important for everyone to know its not true," said the rabbi, Shmuel Kaminezki. "The Jews of Donetsk will not do what the letter says."

The reports come as Ukraine's Western-backed interim government has been struggling to contain uprisings by pro-Russian political movements in several eastern cities, with both sides invoking the historical horror of Nazism in their disputes. Pyatt told CNN that radical groups may be trying to stir up historic fears or create a provocation to justify further violence.

"It's chilling. I was disgusted by these leaflets," Pyatt said. "Especially in Ukraine, a country that suffered so terribly under the Nazis, that was one of the sites of the worst violence of the Holocaust. To drag up this kind of rhetoric is almost beyond belief."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Discrimination • Foreign policy • Judaism

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. hearthetruthonline2014

    http://i.imgur.com/PJVX7Ee.jpg for the full photo gallery

    April 20, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
  2. hearthetruthonline2014



    April 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
  3. bostontola

    Conspiracy theories and religion are probably related psychologically. When we feel forces that are out of our control we assume a natural force like a cabal or some supernatural force controlling things. Anti-Semitism is the conspiracy theory that Jews are controlling our lives to their benefit and our loss. God and religion fills in wherever no conspiracy theory fits. We will create amazing theories to explain any knowledge vacuum. The need to explain has advanced us dramatically, but also yields these silly manifestations of our over fertile imaginations.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:12 am |
    • bostontola

      The sad part is, some use this vulnerability to actually control other people. Ironic that the imagined control of a hated group can be used to control the group doing the hating.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:14 am |
  4. thatinthebible

    Hopefully this was just an isolated incident...

    A great blog post would be to uncover the actual beginning of the U.S. and Israel alliance. I strongly believe that it goes beyond mere politics and is steeped in our nations Judeo-Christian history.

    I really like the idea of taking any random current local, national, or international news event and just seeing what the bible has to say about that particular subject; if anything.

    I blog at http://isthatinthebible.com

    April 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
  5. Alias

    This gives me So MANY ideas for next April Fools day.

    April 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  6. midwest rail

    These leaflet are not only chilling, they are reprehensible. This is an expression of the worst in humanity.

    April 19, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • midwest rail


      April 19, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      It's sounding like a situation of those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This could get very bad very fast.

      April 19, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  7. unsername1

    given Russia's anti-gay stance, I wonder they did not distribute leaflet ordering GLBT to register with a government office.

    April 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
  8. unsername1

    someone is trying to make ugly war uglier.

    April 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
  9. quadibloc

    I could imagine Russian agents making up such a leaflet and attributing it to the Kiev government, given Russia's recent propaganda. But for either party to make up such a leaflet and attribute it to pro-Russian forces makes no sense at all, so I cannot say if it is real or a hoax.

    April 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
  10. Keith

    I don't think it is right to pick out any people for persecution, but I do believe that the world body trying to give the Jews a homeland was one of the biggest mistakes in Human history. We will never quit paying for that mistake.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:37 am |
    • noahsdadtopher

      Why should the Jews not have a homeland?

      April 18, 2014 at 11:09 am |
      • Keith

        Why did the world steal it from other people?

        April 18, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Perhaps you need to go study history.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Keith

          Why, don't you know how Israel was created? I do.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • rogerthat2014

          History gets distorted when you read while wearing your Bible goggles.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Keith

          That is a problem for sure.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • G to the T

          From what I've studied, it also appears that Hitler and Churchill (before the war started) had proposed "giving" Madagascar to the Jewish people as a new homeland (it was controlled by the British at the time). The offer was declined by whatever group was representing the Jews at that time.

          April 21, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Keith

          America could have given them Montana, Giving them other people's houses was not a good idea. I think it is bad that they were persecuted in Germany and Russia but I don't think the League of Nations made the right decision. Driven by guilt instead of sound judgment didn't seem to work.

          But, if you can't get along with your neighbors after 66 years then it may not be the neighbors.

          April 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
  11. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me. – Martin Niemöller

    April 18, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      History is not to be taken lightly...

      April 18, 2014 at 9:13 am |
  12. Bob

    These leaflets are chilling. As a victim of anti-Semitism decades ago that killed many members of my own family, I oppose their message and the terror and attempt to take away freedom that they represent. History has been the judge of an earlier murderous and bigoted doctrine from an evil fascist dictator who I will not even name.

    April 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
  13. Dalahäst

    If any of the leaflets ended with the words:

    "Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Judaism and other supersti.tions.

    ...I think we know how is writing them.

    April 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bob

      These leaflets are chilling. As a victim of anti-Semitism decades ago that killed many members of my own family, I oppose their message and the terror and attempt to take away freedom that they represent. History has been the judge of an earlier murderous and bigoted doctrine from an evil fascist dictator who I will not even name.

      Stow the insults for a change, Dalahast. Not that we expected any better from you. Par for the course, sadly.

      April 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Some of your posts are just as chilling.

        I have never seen you make a post without insults. When somebody gives you a taste of your own medicine, you sure do not like it.

        April 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Bob

          Dalahast/AE, I thought you might at least have the guts and decency to apologize for your awful remark. Apparently not.

          I think that you are merely a coward. Good bye.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

          April 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm sorry you are offended when I compare your anti-religious bigotry against Christians to the anti-religious bigotry of Jews perpetrated by the cowards mentioned in the article.

          But I don't see the difference. The Nazis opposed Christians and Jews, and had plans to exterminate both.

          April 17, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • Greg Wisner

          And amputees. Don't forget that. Because God won't heal them.

          April 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          God loves amputees. Just because Bob sees them as inferior or lacking doesn't mean they are.

          April 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • Greg Wisner


          April 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • Greg Wisner

          And Bob doesn't. But the OT does. So there's that.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The OT describes people that didn't like amputees or disabled people.

          I know amputees and disable people that testify that God loves them.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Dala, I'm sorry, but you've officially removed any doubt at this point – you are a complete idiot. Comparing atheism to racism is extremely offensive and idiotic.

          You are free to believe whatever you want and I support that right. I do not support your right to mentally abuse your children through childhood brain-washing. That is not remotely similar to racism, you idiot.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not comparing atheism to racism. What?

          I'm calling a guy who happens to be an atheist a bigot for what he writes about people of differing beliefs systems.

          I know most atheists are not racists.

          I don't use childhood brainwashing.

          I never said racism! I said bigotry against religious belief.


          But some atheists are definitely bigots. And some mentally abuse children. And some are idiotic.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You compared the racism going on in Ukraine to an atheistic website. That is comparing racism to atheism. But you've developed a consistent habbit of making ridiculous claims and then denying what you said, so nothing new here.

          Being against brain-washing / religion is not the same as racism.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No. That is not what I meant. I never even said "racism" or implied anything about race.

          I meant that Bob posting hostile and demeaning things abut the Christian religion and people is similar to that flier that state hostile and demeaning things about the Jewish religion and people.

          I'm against brain-washing/religions, too. And I'm against racism.

          "But you’ve developed a consistent habbit of making ridiculous claims and then denying what you said, so nothing new here."

          YOu mean EXACTLY like you are doing now?

          I never called Bob a racist. If I did, show me where.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • SeaVik

          It is the Jewish RACE that has been historically persecuted, not the religion. You think Jews who don't practice the religion get a pass? I don't think so.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The Jewish people are not just 1 race. There are African Jews who have a different racial makeup than European Jews.

          Any way, I never said anything about race. I believe Bob's bigotry is against religion.

          A racist bigot and a religious bigot are still both bigots.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • SeaVik

          There is a major difference between the two. People don't get to choose their race. They do get to choose whether or not to mentally abuse their children. If being against the mental abuse at the core of religion makes me a bigot, I don't apologize.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You can choose to be Jewish, or not.

          That is why we have Jewish people that are of different races.

          I'm also against all religion that mentally abuse their children.

          That doesn't make us bigots.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Really? My girlfriend is a quarter Jewish and an atheist. I can't wait to tell her that she can choose to be half Jewish, 100% Jewish or 0% Jewish.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Is she African-American like my Jewish friend Ryan? Most people don't think he is Jewish, because he is of a different race than a majority of Jewish people.

          I applied for a job recently. They asked me to indicate my race:

          – White
          – Black
          – Native American
          – Asian/Indian subcontinent
          – Pacific Islander
          – Hispanic
          – Two or more races

          A Jewish person can be any of those.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You're straying further and further from the point. The situation in the Ukraine is about the Jewish ethnicity, not the religion.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The people that made the leaflets are probably the same race as the people that are Jewish.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Jeremy

          [Voice over announcer]
          On his quest to always, always be thought of as right, Dalahast has merely succeeds at being thought of as silly and deliberately disingenuous.
          [Voice over ends]

          April 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm wrong often. But that doesn't mean Bob is right about me being superst.itious or SeaVik is right about me saying Bob is a racist.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • kev2672

          Greg Wisner

          "And amputees. Don't forget that. Because God won't heal them."

          Actually God will heal them Greg. When their life here is over God will most certainly take care of those that belong to him.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • sam stone

          kev: that is nothing but conjecture

          April 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • Alias

          jewish can refer to either a race or a religion.
          Why is that so hard to understand?

          April 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  14. satanicviews

    Question everything. The USA and their allies have employed a legion of disinformation agents to manipulate public opinion.

    April 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
    • igaftr

      So has every country that has ever existed. Is there a point?

      April 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • Akira

      Don't think it's the US behind this bit of propaganda.

      April 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
  15. Vic

    That rings a bell.

    Back in March, Hillary Clinton said that the tactics used in Crimea by Russia are reminiscent of those that were used in Europe by Nazi Germany.

    April 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
  16. noahsdadtopher

    Uh oh ...

    April 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Akira

      I agree...uh oh...

      April 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.