In the wake of last week’s Eastern Ukrainian flyer imbroglio — briefly: a flyer bearing the “symbols of both Russia and the People’s Republic of Donetsk”and distributed outside a synagogue by men wearing balaclavas had asked the region’s Jews to register with the government and declare their property — I was tempted to compose a piece titled “Is Putin Playing for Jerusalem?”, as the Russian President may be accused of many things but never anti-Semitism.
* * *
* * *
“As you know, Judaism is one of the four traditional religions in our nation . . . .” (0:25).
So, hate the haters, political anti- anti-Semitism has become the symbol of virtue, and the other: that’s the tar with which to spatter one’s enemies.
However, in our convoluted topsy-turvy atmosphere complicated by facsimile bipolar political sociopathy and the license taken to exploit deceit in the cause of an immense but fragile “egotism”, it’s hard saying who, actually, is the anti-Semite and whom the anti- anti-Semite.
Or the call might be easy: neither – no one (normal) at heart.
The truth is as regards all but an emotionally arrested and purple political fringe — one that should stop holding its collective breath for validation of (choose any combination) white / black / Muslim / Aryan / Internationalist / (simpleton) / etc. supremacy — the Jews are off the examining table for any majority of concern and have been since Auschwitz reopened as a museum.
Nonetheless, the higher one climbs on the ladder of power, the more valuable the “anti- anti-Semite” and “anti-Semite” chips become.
The two political rhetorical objects — one claiming (“I am an anti- anti-Semite”), the other accusing (“You are an anti-Semite”) — may have nothing to do with modern Jewry, Judaism, Jewish culture and life, Jews, or Jewish anything else — but these two objects in social currency have power in service to the will to control others, and for a certain kind of political personality and temperament, that’s all that matters.
* * *
An excerpt From The Awesome Conversation (FTAC)
1. Donetsk could have published the flyer earnestly and backpedaled, possibly with a rebuke from Moscow. That would be the simplest explanation.
2. Ukrainian nationalists masquerading as Russians distributed the flyer to make break-away Russian nationalists look bad.
Now it gets interesting.
3. Putin may have suggested creating and distributing the flyer in Russian incognito to suggest just how low Ukrainian nationals would go in overturning the Moscow-aligned Yanukovych government.
Notably, and much to the credit of the Jewish community in Ukraine, Jews receiving the flyers asked the men distributing them to take off their face masks.
Guess who ran away?
The possession of integrity should not be so difficult.
However, comfort, defense, and refuge may be taken in lying given a certain kind of leader and leadership plus follower and following.
As JewishPress.com pointed out, it’s not going to stop at threatening letters. At 2 AM, Saturday morning, the Nikolayev synagogue in Ukraine was firebombed multiple times, as the anti-Semitism escalates.
Unfortunately, it appears the flyer and the emphasis on political rhetoric has not sufficed for either amusement or manipulation.
Posted to YouTube April 20, 2014.
However, I have a problem with the video: the weather in south Ukraine appears to have been above freezing last night: where has the snow come from? The looks of another synagogue firebombed in February look quite different from the building of interest, and the building of interest appears on the web elsewhere as a single story unit, not the two required for camera placement as the video would suggest.
Should anyone with a smart phone care to report in on the story, which has made the rounds on the Jewish press, please do.
* * *
“It is part Soviet theme park, part wacky anti-western wonderland.”
* * *
“I’m asking those behind this not to make us tools in this game,” he said. Anti-Semitic incidents in the Russian-speaking east were “rare, unlike in Kiev and western Ukraine,” he said.
More From the Awesome Conversation
I used to call the “Islamic Small Wars” wars for detectives and poets — everything that happens has been planned in private and the motivation is all in the head suspended there by language. It’s disturbing seeing the same mode become ascendant in eastern Europe. Without claim for the crime, there’s no known criminal, and the fingerpointing goes in every direction.
* * *
The traditional political cultivation of an anti-Jewish animus in services to institutional development and greed has been at least socially explicable. One understand the poison and its applications. The application of “anti- anti-Semitism” and “anti-Semitism” in Ukraine may signal a brand of cynicism and manipulation that has less to do with hating Jews than with tarring one’s political enemies.
However . . . Russian desk expert Luke Harding published this gem yesterday: http://www.theguardian.com/…/ukraine-donetsk-pro-russia… It could be the “kiddies” after all, and, God help them, if they’re demonstrably anti-Semitic, Putin will jettison them.
# # #