Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 05, 2018

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

Please see below for the links to this week's news updates. 

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. October 05, 2018

‘God Was on Vacation’: A Visit with a Long-Lost Cousin in Romania Is a Holocaust Lesson
By Edward Zuckerman
The New York Times, October 04, 2018

Iancu Zuckerman is 95 and the host of a classical music show in Bucharest. But in 1941 he was marched through the streets of Iasi, a center of anti-Semitism. The specters are still there.

I had thought I was the last male Zuckerman in our family. Zuckerman is a fairly common Jewish name (see Pinchas, the Philip Roth character, my orthopedic surgeon), but my own family for the last few generations has produced an abundance of daughters, whose children inherited their fathers’ last names.

The only remaining Zuckermans I knew of were myself, my sister and my two daughters (see?). “Zuckerman” means sugar man, marking us as descendants of a sugar beet peddler; so Windsors we’re not, nor Rockefellers, nor Kardashians. But even so

Then cousin Motti in Israel (last name Klinger) told me about cousin Iancu Zuckerman, aged 95, resident of Bucharest, survivor of a Holocaust “death train,” now happy and healthy and even somewhat prominent in Romania. Motti offered to translate if I ever wanted to visit Iancu.

Russia Publishes Video of S-300 Anti-Aircraft Missiles’ Arrival in Syria
By Jack Khoury 
Haaretz, October 03, 2018

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a meeting broadcasted by Rossiya 24 TV on Tuesday that Russia successfully delivered the S-300s to Syria.. "The work was finished a day ago," Shoigu said. 

Meanwhile, Iranian forces have started retreating over the past couple of days from the T-4 military airport, the Al-Quds newspaper reported Wednesday, citing Syrian opposition sources. 

According to the report, the Iranians have started vacating the premises of the base, which is situated on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Homs, to make room for Russian forces who entered the military compound in order to help complete the transfer of the S-300 missiles. 

Russian Nationalists and Hardliners Denounce Alleged ‘Israel Lobby’ Influence in Moscow
By Ben Cohen
The Algemeiner, October 03, 2018

In the two weeks since 15 Russian servicemen died when their military plane was downed over Syria, conservative, ultranationalist and communist circles in Russia have stepped up their rhetorical attacks on the alleged control of Moscow’s foreign policy by a so-called “Israel Lobby.”

A report published on Tuesday by the Russian Media Studies Project – a branch of the US-based think-tank, the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI) – highlighted recent claims by a former chief of staff of the Russian armed forces that his country was being compelled to “obey” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The fight will continue. Russia’s sovereignty is at stake here,” retired Russian Gen. Leonid Ivashov declared in a paper written for a prominent nationalist organization. “Either we obey Netanyahu — then personnel appointments and all the rest will continue to depend on the Israeli lobby.”

I Stepped Down as U.S. Ambassador to Estonia. Here’s Why.
By James D. Melville Jr. 
The Washington Post, October 03, 2018

When you serve as U.S. ambassador to a foreign capital, you represent your country, of course. But you are also the personal representative of the president. Professionalism demands that career foreign service officers — like career military officers — follow the orders and pursue the policies of our elected civilian leadership.

If you cannot do that, the honorable and right thing to do is resign. That is what I did in July, when I stepped down as U.S. ambassador to Estonia. Now, with my formal departure this week from the U.S. Foreign Service after 33 years, I can more fully explain why.

World in Ukraine: German Project Honors Memory of Ukrainian Jews Killed in Holocaust
By Mariya Kapinos
Kyiv Post, September 28, 2018

The order was stark: All Jews in the city of Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, must gather in the city center. Those who disobey will be executed.

It was October 1941, and Dnipro was occupied by the forces of Nazi Germany.

Nelly Tsypina was 10 years old. She and her grandparents obeyed the order and left the house immediately.

“When we came there, I saw thousands of exhausted faces,” Tsypina recalls. “Some people were in wheelchairs, most came with their children.”

The Dilemma of Hungarian Jews
By Gabor Somlai
Arutz Sheva, October 03, 2018

Based on research and election results from the past 28 years, 5-10% of Hungarian citizens can be considered truly anti-Semitic. There is a much higher number of “hidden anti-Semites”, for example those who would oppose having a Jewish neighbor (according to research done in 2016, 31% of Hungarians agreed with this statement) but – unlike the 5-10% truly anti-Semitic citizens – their way of thinking is not driven by hatred.

After the fall of communism, democracy and freedom of expression brought the same effect into society that we are seeing now on social media: suddenly everything was allowed to be said and, unfortunately, nationalism was hijacked by the anti-Semitic and xenophobic groups.

Russian Police Accuse Colleagues of Displaying Swastika in Anti-Nazi Poster
The Moscow Times, October 04, 2018

Police in southern Russia are reportedly investigating a complaint that fellow officers have displayed a swastika in a Soviet anti-Nazi poster in their office.

Changes to Russian law in 2014 made it a criminal offense to display any Nazi symbols, regardless of intent. The decision has seen prosecutions soar from 480 cases in 2013 to 1,800 in 2016, according to Russia’s Supreme Court data gathered by rights groups. Displaying Nazi symbols is subject to a fine and a jail term of up to 15 days.

A regional police officer filed a complaint about a Soviet anti-Nazi poster that fellow policemen in the town of Taganrog put up in their office, local media reported Wednesday.


The Honorable Ronald S. Lauder Recieves Sheptytsky Award at Ceremony in New York
Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, October 04, 2018

The Honorable Ronald S. Lauder, philanthropist, activist and president of the World Jewish Congress received the Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky Award for 2018 at a ceremony at New York’s Ukrainian Institute of America on 27 September.

Amb. Lauder was recognized for his support of Ukraine’s Jewish community and his promotion of Ukrainian-Jewish cooperation. He is the fourth recipient of the award, which is conferred by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter.

In presenting the award, UJE Board Chairman James C. Temerty called Amb. Lauder, “a great leader of the global Jewish community and a friend of Ukraine and of the Jewish community in Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Government Tries to Expel Foreign Volunteer Fighters
By Mykola Vorobiov
Jamestown Foundation, October 03, 2018

Recent tensions between local members of volunteer battalions and the police threaten to spark another wave of protests in Ukraine on the fifth anniversary of the EuroMaidan revolution. In mid-September, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine extradited to Russia Timur Tumgoev, a 31-year-old Ingush man who had served in a “Right Sector” volunteer battalion in Donbas (Pravda.com.ua, September 13). In his statement, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko claimed that Tumgoev, a Russian citizen, was a long-time member of the Islamic State in Syria and in fact had never served in eastern Ukraine. According to Lutsenko, Interpol had issued a Red Notice for Tumgoev at Russia’s request, two years ago. As a result, Tumgoev was detained by Ukrainian law enforcements in 2016. But he was released shortly thereafter, when the United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered the Ukrainian authorities to halt Tumgoev’s extradition to Russia because of a high probability he would face torture if forcibly returned (Khpg.org, September 13).

The Baltic Nations Look Abroad and See Problems 
By Andriano Bosoni
Stratfor, October 04, 2018

2018 is a symbolic year for the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, because it marks the centenary of their independence from the Russian Empire. The last century has been less than easy for the trio of small countries, because independence was quickly followed by occupation, first by the Nazis and then the Soviets. The three republics spent five decades under the USSR, only regaining independence between 1990 and 1991. When I visited the region last month, I couldn't help but think that the past few years have probably been the best in their troubled century as republics, because they have never been so prosperous, so democratic and so open to the world. Nevertheless, the ghosts of the past have not completely vanished, and the Baltic states are once again looking at the world around them with concern.

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.