Jewishupdates's Blog

January 1, 2010

YWN EXCLUSIVE: Members of the US House of Representatives Join US Senator Gillibrand in Condemning Ukrainian Mayor Ratushnyak

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 12:36 am

YWN EXCLUSIVE: Members of the US House of Representatives Join US Senator Gillibrand in Condemning Ukrainian Mayor Ratushnyak

LINK BELOW: Members of the House of Representatives joined US Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in speaking out strongly against the anti-Semitic and xenophobic Mayor of the city of Uzhgorod in the Ukraine, Sergei Ratushnyak.In separate statements from their respective offices, Members of Congress Yvette D. Clark, Steve Israel, Jerrold Nadler, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and Carolyn B. Maloney, as well as Senator Gillibrand, urged the Ukrainian Ambassador to recognize the inherent dangers of Mr. Ratushnyak’s rhetoric and to do whatever possible to stop bias and prejudice in his country.

Mayor Ratushnyak has seized headlines in recent months because of his volatile and racist comments, as well as his legacy of corruption and intimidation.Ratushnyak is a well known Holocaust denier.He blames the Holocaust on Jews who he says have “stolen German property.” In a recent interview with the Associated Press, he reportedly stated, “If I don’t like Jews and Israel, does that make me anti-Semitic?”

An alarming situation is unfolding in the Ukraine today, where anti-Semitism is reaching dangerous new levels.Recently, a well known Ukrainian Nazi criminal who collaborated with the SS during WWII was posthumously presented with the Hero of Ukraine Award.Then, a Ukrainian professor makes a ludicrous comment at a local Conference referring to Israelis harvesting the organs of 25,000 Ukrainian children.Meanwhile, Mayor Ratushnyak is himself as a candidate for the Presidency of the Ukraine, a situation which will allow him to spew his hatred to an even wider audience.

Senator Gillibrand is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.In her letter to the Ukrainian Ambassador, she refers to that country’s valued friendship with the United States.Nevertheless, she states, “I have been troubled by the recent anti-Semitic rhetoric expressed by the Mayor of Uzhgorod. Several media groups have reported Mayor Ratushnyak making hateful statements towards Jews and Israel.” She warns that “even a local Mayor’s biased statements can serve to undercut Ukraine’s image,” and concludes by saying, “I request you to share my concerns with your government in the hope that efforts can be made to combat and discrimination and bias.”

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, who represents New Yorks 11th Congressional District, issued a statement saying, “I am particularly concerned by the comments made by the Mayor of Uzhgorod, Sergei Ratushnyak.” Specifically, she cites the comment which he made concerning a fellow Ukrainian candidate, calling him an “impudent little Jew”, and concludes with, “I will continue to stand with my counterparts in government and to issue my voice to oppose prejudice and bigotry whenever, and wherever, it arises.”

Similarly, Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York’s 8th Congressional District released a statement against the Ukrainian Mayor.In his strongly worded comments, he writes, “Sergei Ratushnyak is nothing more than an ignorant thug who uses anti-Semitism, fear mongering, and hatred for personal and political opportunity.” He calls Ratushnyak “an anti Semite of the most pathetic variety” and says, “I join people of conscience around the world in saying that we will not tolerate the likes of Sergei Ratushnyak and his hateful brethren.”

The Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz is Chief Deputy Whip of Congress and represents the 27th District in Florida. In her letter to the Ukrainian Ambassador she writes, “I am most disturbed by recent media reports indicating a rise of anti-Semitism in the Ukraine.” Citing the fact that the Ukrainian government has built a strong friendship with the United States based on mutual interests, she urges the Ambassador to “closely monitor this situation and take any and all steps necessary to combat anti-Semitism and encourage tolerance and understanding.”

Congressman Steve Israel of New York’s Second District is a member of the Committee of the Appropriations of the House of Representatives. He is especially concerned about Mr. Ratushnyak’s rise to power.In a letter to the Ukrainian Ambassador, he writes, “It is troubling to learn that Mr. Ratushnyak is running for President of the Ukraine. Given that the Ukraine has a deep and complicated relationship with anti-Semitism, it is alarming to learn that he has risen to national prominence.”As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Congressman Israel helps determine funding levels for a variety of key agencies supporting the United States’ efforts abroad.

Finally, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York’s 14th District issued a statement which describes her concern about the growing anti-Semitism in the Ukraine. “Anti-Semitism has a long and dreadful history in the Ukraine,” she writes, “and it is appalling to see signs of its resurgence.”

These respected Members of Congress, as well as others, recognize the dangers of allowing xenophobia and bigotry to fester in a community, even if it’s many thousands of miles away.In their powerful and passionate statements, they are clearly indicating that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated by the people of the United States.

As CEO of the Friedlander Group, a New York City and Washington based Consulting Group, Ezra Friedlander is spearheading the campaign to galvanize key members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to respond to this critical issue. According to Friedlander, “Statements such as these are crucial because they demonstrate to Ukrainian government officials that it is imperative for them to take a firm stand in combating anti-Semitism.This is a pre-condition for good bilateral relations between the Ukraine and the United States.”

YWN LINK TO LETTERS: Click on the following link to see the letters written

(Dov Gordon – YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


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