KIEV, Ukraine, May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Members of the European Parliament and a prominent U.S. Jewish newspaper have in recent days criticized Ukraine's Opposition parties for embracing anti-Semitism by aligning themselves in a coalition with the extremist Svoboda (Freedom) party.
In a detailed analysis of Svoboda and its web of political alliances, The Algemeiner newspaper said that Svoboda, which has been criticized by Jewish organisations in America and Israel, is benefiting strongly from the support of Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party and UDAR, the party of boxer Vitaly Klitschko.
Click here to see original Algemeiner article: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/05/24/svoboda-fuels-ukraines-growing-anti-semitism/
At the same time Marek Siwiec, an MEP (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Poland), criticized Batkivschyna and UDAR's cooperation with Svoboda
"For me this party is the worst phenomenon, which presents an anti-Semitic position, and fights against gays and lesbians. They do this openly," the MEP said, referring to Svoboda.
"I saw a photo of the Svoboda leader, Yatseniuk [Arseniy Yatseniuk, one of Batkivschyna leaders] and Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, UDAR party leader] together demonstrating the unity of opposition. But I can't imagine that people like Klitschko, who position themselves as Europeans, and Yatseniuk, would willingly shake the hand of a person who in public states that Jews are the main threat to European civilization. Sometimes, while looking for and respecting opposition, we can't recognize it," Siwiec said.
He made the remarks during a sitting of the EP Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels on Monday.
Separately, Algemeiner, the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America also criticized the party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for associating with the extremist Svoboda.
"Far from shunning Svoboda - as Europe's mainstream Hungarian and Greek parties respectively have ostracized Jobbik and Golden Dawn - Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina and UDAR have both embraced it and its anti-Semitism in a united opposition to the government of President Viktor Yanukovych," the U.S. newspaper wrote. It declared that "Batkivshchina and UDAR are not less anti-Semitic" than Svoboda, which in the 1990s openly operated under the symbol of Nazi Germany's feared Waffen SS.
The alliance the Algemeiner referred to was the deal between these parties to oppose all the Ukraine Government's pro-Europe and reformist legislation including a 2013 measure to prohibit "hate speech and degrading expressions". This bill was designed to outlaw highly offensive words such as "kike", "zhid", and "moskal", the favoured terminology of Svoboda supporters.
The newspaper went on to praise the efforts of President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions (PoR) in its opposition to Svoboda, stating: "Yanukovych and the PoR have responded to Svoboda's rise, recently rallying its supporters under the theme 'Into Europe without fascism!' and 'against political extremists to revive an ideology of national enmity, and racial and religious intolerance'".
It also questioned the motives of the Svoboda and its allies beyond racial issues, pointing out that their opposition to shale gas fracking "mostly benefits Gazprom, the gigantic Russian gas supplier that holds a stranglehold on Ukraine and much of Europe".
The Government in Kiev has challenged both Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina and UDAR to publicly dissociate from Svoboda.
Svoboda began as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine" in 1991 but reinvented itself in 2004, ditching its Nazi iconography in a bid to appear more moderate. It is headed by Oleh Tyahnybok, who regularly speaks of a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" running Ukraine.
SOURCE Ukraine Monitor