Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 4, 2017

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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

We wish you all a Chag Sukkot Sameach! 


Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. October 4, 2017

Kremlin Says Russia Hopes Huntsman Will Help Improve U.S. Ties

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, October 3, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, that he hopes badly strained ties will improve.

Receiving Huntsman's credentials at a Kremlin ceremony on October 3 that marked the start of the new envoy's tenure, Putin said that the current state of U.S.-Russia relations "cannot satisfy us."

"We advocate for constructive, predictable, and mutually advantageous cooperation," Putin said. "We are convinced that it should build upon the stringent adherence to the principles of equality, respect for national interests, and noninterference with each other's internal affairs."

In Crimea, Russian Land Grab Feeds Cries of ‘Carpetbaggers!’

By Neil MacFarquhar

New York Times, September 30, 2017

More than three years after Russia snatched Crimea from Ukraine, the peninsula is suffering through an extended season of discontent.

Shady, Kremlin-appointed bureaucrats are proving to be just as corrupt and inept as their Ukrainian predecessors. International sanctions, shrugged off in the heady days after the Russian annexation, have jacked up food prices while endlessly complicating ordinary aspects of life, like banking and travel.

Perhaps most galling to Crimeans, the government is hauling thousands of residents into court to confiscate small land holdings distributed free as a campaign ploy in 2010 when Ukraine controlled the Black Sea peninsula.

Residents of Sevastopol, famous as a historic battleground and home to the Black Sea fleet, were among the most vocal, militant supporters of Russia when it annexed Crimea.

That was then.

Read the full article here.

Israel-Russia trade leaps by 25%

Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 29, 2017

Trade between Russia and Israel has grown this year by 25 percent, officials from both countries revealed, amid complications with other Russian trading partners.

The first six months of 2017 saw increased trade between the nations of about $380 million over the corresponding period last year.

Zeev Elkin, the Israeli Cabinet minister responsible for environmental protection and issues connected with Jerusalem, announced the figures earlier this week at a conference in Moscow about Russian-Israel relations.

“There is still great potential for increase in trade and there is much work ahead of us,” Elkin said in reference to ongoing talks since 2013 on signing a free trade agreement with Russia.

Read the full article here.

Arsen Avakov: Ministry of Internal Affairs Has Stopped the Activity of A Criminal Group that Provoked Xenophobia and International Conflicts

Ministry of Interior of Ukraine, October 2, 2017

On October 2, 2017, the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov announced the exposure of an organized criminal group (OСG), whose activities were supervised by former People's Deputies from the “Party of Regions” and some leaders of the “Opposition bloc” party.  According to the investigation, causing harm to the life and health of people was not the main goal of this group. The group specialized in organizing terrorist acts that were supposed to cause international conflicts between Ukraine and other countries and feed animosities based on intolerance and xenophobia.

Read the full article here.

Germany Not Prosecuting 8 Members of SS Death Squad, Despite Knowing Their Names

By Ofer Aderet

Haaretz, October 1, 2017

Eight elderly Germans who served in a unit that participated in the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust will not be prosecuted, even though their names were given to the German authorities three years ago, according to an investigation by a German TV channel.

The decision has sparked sharp criticism in the German media.

The eight men served in Einsatzgruppe C, which took part in the Nazi-perpetrated massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Babi Yar, Ukraine, in September 1941. The men’s names were given to the German authorities by Israeli Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff in 2014.

But though TV journalists from ARD were able to track two of the men down and heard incriminating admissions, the German authorities have taken no steps. “What are they waiting for? For them to die?” Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, wrote on his Facebook page. “The Germans should now be pressured into expediting proceedings against them before these criminals die and evade justice.”

Read the full article here.

U.S. to provide $5 million in additional cyber assistance to Ukraine

By Olena Goncharova

Kyiv Post, October 1, 2017

The United States will provide over $5 million in new cyber assistance, U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch announced during the first United States-Ukraine Bilateral Cyber Dialogue in Kyiv on Sept. 29.

The additional funds will go to help Ukraine improve its ability to prevent, mitigate, and respond to cyberattacks.

Yovanovitch announced the sum in a bid to underly a bilateral meeting between the two countries’ national security apparatuses with concrete action.

The meeting brought together Ukrainian representatives of the National Bank, Ministry of Defense, the National Security and Defense Council, the State Security Service, the State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the American side, officials from the Department of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Energy, and Homeland Security were present, along with FBI members.

Read the full article here.

Deport ex-Nazi guard, NY Congress members urge Rex Tillerson

Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 2, 2017

The entire New York congressional delegation has sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to deport a former Nazi concentration camp guard.

Jakiw Palij, 92, of Queens, was a guard at the Trawniki concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.

The 29 members of Congress representing New York, Democrats and Republicans, signed the letter calling for his deportation, the New York Daily News reported. In August, 21 members of the New York’s House delegation wrote a similar letter to Tillerson.

Read the full article here.

Polish institute rebuffs historian who said Nazi invasion was not so bad for Jews

Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 4, 2017

The Polish Institute of National Remembrance has distanced itself from one of its historians who wrote in an op-ed that the situation of the Jews “did not look very bad” after the Nazis entered Poland.

The piece by Tomasz Panfil, the historian responsible for education at the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, or IPN, appeared Monday in the Gazeta Polska, a weekly newspaper.

“After the aggression of Germany into Poland, the situation of the Jews did not look very bad,” Panfil wrote. “Although the [Nazi] occupation authorities took over, they ordered the wearing of armbands with the star of David, charged them heavy taxes, began to designate Jews-only zones only for the Jews, but at the same time permitted the creation of Judenrat, that is, organs of self-government. ”

Institute leaders in a statement sent to the media said the statement “is in no way consistent with the position of the IPN.”

Read the full article here.

Poland urged to fire publisher of works by Holocaust denier

By Vanessa Gera

Associated Press, October 3, 2017

A Jewish rights group is urging a Polish state historical institute to fire an official who has published several books by notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving.

But the Polish historical body, the Institute of National Remembrance, says the official, Arkadiusz Wingert, is not a Holocaust denier himself so there is no reason to dismiss him.

Wingert was appointed earlier this year as deputy director of the publishing office of the institute, whose mission is to investigate crimes carried out against Polish citizens during World War II, when Poland was under German occupation, and during the subsequent communist era.

Wingert previously ran a publishing house that printed Polish translations of several of Irving’s works.

Rediscovered Jewish cemetery opened to public

Slovak Spectator, September 28, 2017

Today, when entering Čerhov village in the Trebišov district, it is possible to see roughly 20 tombstones and their fragments which make up the old Jewish cemetery.

15 years ago, however, the dense undergrowth covering the stones meant that nobody knew about it.

“It was hidden behind the bushes, and it was impossible to see anything,” said the mayor of the village, Pavol Balogh, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that the cemetery is now maintained in good condition.

It draws the attention of tourists; Jews from Hungary often stop by when passing through the village.

Read the full article here.

Rights groups slam Hungary’s new hate campaign against Soros

The Times of Israel/AFP, September 29, 2017

Rights groups on Friday slammed Hungary’s new “national consultation” targeting George Soros and what Budapest says is the billionaire philanthropist’s intention to flood Europe with a million migrants per year.

The campaign, accompanied by a blitz of billboards and TV adverts, will from Sunday see the government send households questionnaires seeking opinions on this “Soros Plan.”

This is thought to refer to proposals by the Hungarian-born Soros, long a bete noire for European nationalists and conspiracy theorists, in a 2015 opinion piece in the midst of Europe’s migrant crisis.

Read the full article here.

[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.