Jews and the Ukraine

And when the whole thing ends, both sides will blame it on a vast Jewish conspiracy.


Both sides in the conflict have attempted to use Jews for propaganda purposes in the fight over the Ukraine.

So let's get a few things out of the way.

1. Both sides are fairly anti-Semitic. The Ukrainian side more so, but that's only by comparison to already high levels of anti-Semitism on the other side. Neither side is clean. Both sides are horrifyingly dirty by American standards.

Whatever happens, this will not change in any significant way.

2. The Jewish community in Russia and Russian controlled territories, like every major religious community, is under the control of the government. Its leaders will make those statements approved of by the security services. This is nearly as true now as it was under the USSR. Its lay leaders tend to have government connections and its religious leaders depend on the government to be able to work.

Especially if they come from outside the country.

Jews who intend to live in Place X are largely concerned about not offending whoever remains in charge of that place when the dust settles. Their statements will reflect that.

The exception comes from religious groups whose central organization operates under the control of the Russian authorities. They are liable to make pro-Russian statements even in the Ukraine.

3. Jews in the area are, for the most part, keeping their heads down. There are some younger people who were active in the protest movement, but their numbers were overstated by a zealous media.

4. Neither side is currently about to begin employing Nazi tactics... now. But at the same time nationalist groups on both sides are vehemently anti-Semitic and are undoubtedly engaging in assorted attacks. But they are likely under orders from higher up the ladder to avoid doing anything too obvious that would jeopardize their political claims.

That means synagogues can be vandalized and people on the street can be assaulted. There's plausible deniability and a fog of war on things like that. More blatant things are likely to be a provocation by one side or another seeking to smear the other abroad.

5. Whatever happens and whoever wins, the Jews of Ukraine will lose. That's an old historical truth. Chaos creates opportunities for the attacks that are taking place now. If it goes on, the Jews of Ukraine will lose their homes and their belongings. More will be killed in unexplained little attacks.

And when the whole thing ends, both sides will blame it on a vast Jewish conspiracy.