Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. June 15, 2018

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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

Dear Friend,

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

NCSEJ also extends its congratulations to our good friend Tad Taube on receiving an honorary doctorate from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, for his important work in rebuilding Jewish life and culture throughout Poland.

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. June 15, 2018

Ukrainian Interior Ministry, WJC agree to join forces to counter anti-Semitism
Ukrinform, June 12, 2018

The Interior Ministry of Ukraine and the World Jewish Congress have agreed to unite efforts to combat xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote this on Twitter after his meeting with Director General of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) Robert Singer.

"During a working meeting with Robert Singer, we agreed to unite efforts to combat xenophobia and anti-Semitism as tools for a hybrid war. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry was highly praised by the WJC regarding the response to anti-Semitic excesses in the country," Avakov wrote.

Czech survivor warns against rising tide of antisemitism, racism across Europe
By Kim Sengupta
UK Independent, June 9, 2018

Ms Grozdanovicova, one of the very few survivors of the camp still alive, travelled to Terezin this week to unveil a memorial to those who lost their lives.

She had just returned from a visit to Germany where she had been speaking to school pupils about the terrible damage caused by antisemitism, racism and intolerance, and stressing the need to learn lessons from the past.

“It is sad to say, but we need to remember now what happened more than ever. It is very depressing to see what is happening in Europe, the extremism and the effect it’s having,” she said.

On the ground: An eyewitness to antisemitism in Ukraine
By Iris Georlette
Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2018

In a Jewish cemetery in the city of Kremenchuk, Ukraine, the desecrated grave of the daughter of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is apparently another testimony to the new antisemitism that is currently flourishing in the country. "I approach antisemitism on a daily basis," said Edward Dolinsky, a Ukrainian-born Jew and an expert on antisemitism.

"A statue is a symbol, it does not express a mood," said Ofer Kretzner, an Israeli businessman and consul of the Ukrainian government. "This is a provocation financed by Russians to show there could be a problem against the Jews. But there is no trend of antisemitism; There is appreciation for the Jewish people. There is not one leader here who hates Jews. Israeli businessmen come here and do not feel antisemitism. Perhaps there are one-off cases with alcoholics or drug addicts, but it does not mean anything."

In Poland, ‘a Narrow Window to Do Justice’ for Those Robbed by Nazis
By Joanna Berendt
NY Times, June 10, 2018

WARSAW — Miriam Tasini and her sister, Alisa Sorkin, were toddlers in 1940 when they were loaded onto cattle cars bound for a gulag in Siberia, just two of the one million Polish citizens, including 200,000 Jews, deported by the Soviets to labor camps.

Ever since 1989, when Communism in Poland ended, the sisters, who now live in the United States, have been fighting to reclaim what was stolen from their family.

Poland is now considering restitution legislation, but even if it passes, the sisters, along with thousands of other victims of the war and occupation, would lose out because of what advocates call onerous requirements, including proof of Polish citizenship.

Muscovites Rally To Protest 'Catastrophic' Violations Of Human Rights, Freedoms
RFE/RL, June 10, 2018

MOSCOW – Demonstrators have taken to the center of Moscow to protest against mass violations of human rights in Russia and to call for the release of political prisoners.

Participants in the rally, dubbed For Free Russia Without Repression And Arbitrariness, gathered on Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue on June 10, two days ahead of Russia Day, a patriotic holiday, and as the country prepares to host the World Cup soccer competition from June 14 to July 15.
Police said about 1,700 people participated in the demonstration, which was authorized by Moscow's authorities, while organizers put the number at up to 5,000.

Chairman Wicker Acts to Protect Religious Freedom in Europe and Central Asia
CSCE, June 11, 2018

Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) today introduced a bipartisan resolution (S.Res.539) urging President Trump to take action against some of the worst violators of religious freedom in Europe and Central Asia. Key targets of the legislation include the governments of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Russia, as well as Russian-led separatist forces in Ukraine.

“Our founding fathers made religious freedom a cornerstone of our country, and President Trump carries that legacy forward by making religious freedom a cornerstone of his presidency. This resolution is a blueprint for action in a region where governments have often attacked religious freedom instead of protecting it. When governments take steps toward improvement, as Uzbekistan has done, we should support and bolster their efforts,” said Chairman Wicker.

An Honorary Doctorate Breathes Hope Into Polish-Jewish Relations
By Samuel Norich
Forward, June 11, 2018

The honorary doctorate being awarded this week by Krakow’s Jagiellonian University to San Francisco-based philanthropist Tad Taube is noteworthy for two reasons. One speaks to Poland’s recent history, the other to the present political moment.
No one has done more during the last 30 years to repair the anguished relationship between Poland and the Jewish people than the Jagiellonian University, on the Polish side, and Tad Taube, on the Jewish side. Each was singularly well-suited to their roles.

In Russia, change will come from grassroots
By Barbara von Ow-Freytag
Politico.eu, June 11, 2018

To be sure, Putin’s authoritarianism has shrunk the space for civic activism, which faces levels of restriction last seen in the 1990s. Today, the Kremlin defames NGOs as traitors and “foreign agents,” and represses independent thought in society more widely. Freedom of assembly is severely limited, while censorship has risen steeply, not just on the internet, but also in arts and education.

Despite this crackdown, Russian civil society has shown an impressive ability to adapt. A 2017 study by the Centre for Economic and Political Reform shows a significant increase in protests throughout the country — even if outright political rallies remained rare. Of a total of 1,100 protests staged between January and September 2017, about three-fourths concerned local socio-economic issues such as unpaid wages, layoffs, closures of industrial plants and pollution.

Can Russia, with history of racist attacks, hooligans, put on a World Cup welcome?
By Amie Ferris-Rotman
Washington Post, June 12, 2018

MOSCOW — For popular African musician Black Z, racism in Russia is no worse than in any other country, including those on the African continent.

But not everyone shares his rosy view. With Thursday’s opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia just around the corner, racism is rearing its ugly head. Russian soccer history has been marred by discrimination against non-white people, and incidents of racist and homophobic chants shot up over the past year, according to a study released last month by Russian rights group Sova and the Fare Network, a nonprofit that analyzes prejudice in soccer.

Ukrainian neo-Nazi [group] C14, known for racist and homophobic attacks, gets public funding for ‘patriotic education’
By Halya Coynash
KHPG, June 14, 2018

‘C14’, a neo-Nazi group involved over recent months in anti-Roma, homophobic and other attacks in Ukraine, has become one of the recipients of Ministry of Youth and Sport grants, together with an organization linked to the far-right Svoboda party.  The news was first reported by Hromadske Radio a day after the authors of a Freedom House report warned of a sharp increase in political violence from precisely such radical groups in Ukraine and of the danger they pose for Ukrainian democracy.

Three organizations were successful in the competition for ‘national-patriotic education projects’.  ‘Educational Assembly’ [«Освітна асамблея»], founded by the head of C14, Yevhen Karas; ‘C14 Sich’, founded by Volodymyr Karas, who shares the same patronymic, surname and address as the head of C14; and Holosiyiv Hideout [«Голосіївська криївка»], whose founders include several members of Svoboda.

[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.