More Petrushka More Knesset – Are Crimean Jews Being Persecuted?

Dear Readers:

Two days, two Jewish-themed stories in a row.  What has gotten into me?  Was it the Christmas ham?  No, it isn’t my fault, blame Petro Poroshenko, who has provided so much fodder, and told so many lies during his trip to Israel, that we should call him “Pinocchio” instead of Petrushka!

Jiminy Cricket says: “Stop telling people they’re rounding up Jews!”

I start with this piece from VZGLIAD  entitled “Crimean Jews Reject the Words of Poroshenko Concerning so-called Kremlin Repressions”.

In the course of his momentous speech to the Israeli Knesset, to supplement his other phantasmagorical statements, Poroshenko made the following allegation:  That the 17,000 or so ethnic Jews who dwell on the Crimean peninsula, are at risk of being repressed by the Kremlin:  “You see the Occupiers, who know what they are doing, have started to cultivate anti-Semitism.  They even erected a statue to Stalin, have incited the conflict in Donbass, which is occupied by regular troops of the Russian army.”

Petrushka Rejected

According to Israeli ex-secret agent, now political pundit, Yakov Kedmi, Israeli society reacted with silent contempt to Poroshenko’s visit.  Not one major Hebrew-language newspaper bothered to cover his trip.  Nor did the major TV channels.  Poroshenko’s visit was of no use to anyone in Israeli government or society.  Everyone knows that Poroshenko is just (1) trying to turn Israel against Russia, while (2) schnorring for cash to save his bankrupt government.   Israelis basically have no time for him, or for the Ukraine, it’s just that they can’t afford to buck the U.S., which takes Ukraine’s side against Russia.

MIddle East expert Evgeny Satanovsky

In an interview with VZGLIAD, Head of Russia’s Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Evgeny Satanovsky (who is Jewish himself and used to be head of the Russian Jewish Congress), noted that the Israelis studiously do not take sides in the Russia-Ukraine feud; and that they are too smart to be fooled by Poroshenko’s fake history lessons.  “Israel came into being during a time when very few Jews were left in Europe or the Soviet Union, partly thanks to the efforts of those Banderites who followed the same strategy which Poroshenko now follows.  Why on earth would the Israelis take his side?”

Satanovsky also reminded people that several hundreds of thousands of Jews still live in the Ukraine.  “In a way, they are hostages of the current government.  Therefore, Israel is not going to pick a quarrel with the Ukraine, provided nobody is harming those (Ukrainian) Jews.  At the same time, they are hardly going to take Poroshenko’s side (against Russia).”

Are Crimean Jews In Danger?

Returning to the issue of the Jews living on the Crimean Peninsula, who are now citizens of the Russian Federation:

Poroshenko’s allegations of Russian anti-Semitic behavior was sneered at by Elena Raigorodskaya, spokesperson for the All-Crimean Jewish Congress and the editor of a local Jewish newspaper.  In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Raigorodskaya stated:  “Poroshenko has no moral right to speak about the Jews of the Crimea.”

Crimean Jews: Forced to go fishing in their underwear.

The Jewish News Agency  issued this statement (quoted in the VZGLIAD piece), which was signed by the All-Crimean Jewish Congress,  the Simferopol Jewish Autonomy, the Yalta Jewish Autonomy, the Jewish Commune of Sebastopol, the Simferopol Commune of Orthodox Judaism, and the Local Organization of Progressive Judaism of the city of Kerch:

As is well known, in Crimea there live over 170 nationalities, one of which, and a very important one, is Jews.  Mr. Poroshenko needs to know, that we (Jews) of Crimea, are feeling very calm, and very reassured about ourselves and our families.  We are not suffering from a rash of Banderite-anti-Semites, we are not being threatened by paramilitary groups, we are not forced to watch an endless series of torchlight parades with swastikas, like the Crystal Night of 1938, after which 30,000 Jews were herded into concentration camps.  Today we are (lucky to be) under the stalwart protection of the Russian government.

We are well aware, how many thousands of Jews, ethnic Russians, and representatives of other nationalities, have fled from the Ukraine in the past two years.  People don’t flee from a good life.  And during this same period tens of thousands of people have escaped from the Ukraine INTO Crimea; these are people who could not endure being persecuted for their political and ethnic characteristics.

How can Poroshenko dare to speak about anti-Semitism (in Crimea), when currently we are receiving full support for our culture, our traditions, our holidays, and we (Jews) were also awarded a series of important posts in the governing structures.  Historical buildings are being returned to the Jewish community, our monuments are being reconstructed.  Representatives of the government are lighting Hanukkah candles with us [to show their support].  Mr. Poroshenko, in the ardor of his informational war, does not wish to see all of this.

With crocodile tears Mr. Poroshenko cries about the fate of Jews and Tatars in Crimea, while at the same time out of his deep pity, he shuts off their electricity, forbids them to truck in their produce, forbids flights to Crimea, and always prepares new blockades….

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11 Responses to More Petrushka More Knesset – Are Crimean Jews Being Persecuted?

  1. bolasete says:

    whenever i’m looking for something to read i need only czech your cite. now you have commentary from satan!!! seems that in hebrew the word means adversary. personally i oppose, with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul (how one was supposed to love god, but gods are so old school) orlov’s language reform proposals. language is organic, grows thru metaphor, even misuse. when i was a lad, everyone knew the difference twixt masterly and masterful; now, about 1% know masterly exists and dictionaries have changed to reflect this.
    personally i find semantics more meaningful (ho! ho!). there’s dem dat do, and dem dat dont, and the reforming analists are in the latter. i’m looking out my window at some spires: russian orthodox cathedral used by czechs (according to my russian friend), a polish catholic church (thoroughly fascistic from what i’ve heard) and the catholic church of saints cyril and methodius which has a spanish congregation of mexicans and ecuadorans.
    i think of language reform as similar to american business practice of tearing down old to build anew, while i prefer the church example: simple re-purpose.
    kids can’t spell. well, whoop! they can’t count either!


    • yalensis says:

      Dear bolasete:
      Well, maybe Satan wasn’t just a bad guy after all, just demonized by propaganda outlets.
      Personally, I prefer Mephistopheles, he is more suave, a better dresser, and a better singer:


    • yalensis says:

      P.S. – spelling reform is not at all the same thing as language reform!
      Yes, let languages evolve organically.

      But just make them easier to read and to spell, so that the genius of a language can be appreciated by more people!


  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    This article mentions 2 of 3 “Russian” Jews (Russophonic is more correct term, I think) whom I trust to be acctually Wise and Knowledgeble – Yakov Kedmi and Evgeniy Ivanovitch Satanovskiy. Third one is Anatoliy Wasserman, Odessa’s native, but no one asked his opinion, Oh, well!

    Btw, Satanovskiy is indeed a Big Figure in the modern world of Russian political analysis. He served in army (tank corps), graduated from the Intitute of Steel and Alloys, then had a second degree in the Middle East politics. He is a maternal cousin of Russian TV and Radio journalist, and the TV host of “Poedinok” and “Sunday evening” political talk shows Vladimir Rudolfovitch Soloviev. Satanovkiy’s family originated from Ukraine, where he lost more than a half of his extended family durng the War. He is not a fan of the current Kievan leadership, to put it mildly.

    Kedmi also servedin Army (well, d’uh!), also in tank corps… but he served in the same tank crew as Ehud Barak, and later served in his HQ in charge of Mil-Intel.

    And to provide some illustration to Myth Busting of Poproshenko’s claim about “persecuted Crimean Jews” – a video clip with interviews by Anatoliy Shariy:


    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, I never know how to refer to “Russian-speaking” Jews without being insulting. “Russophonic” sounds sort of clinical. I think if the person is a citizen of the Russian Federation and also an ethnic Jew, then “Russian Jew” is appropriate term. This would encompass Satanovsky and Anatoly Wasserman.
      I think it might be insulting to call them “Russophonic Jews”. But maybe not, since they didn’t Russify their names (much) and clearly self-identify as Jews who are loyal to Russia. Not sure though what the etiquette is among that milieu. I think if a foreigner walked up to them and asked directly, “Are you a Russian?” they would say “yes”.

      As for Kedmi, you’re right. He’s an Israeli Jew to the bone, even though he was technically born in Russia. So, I should call him a “Russophonic” or maybe “Russian-speaking” Israeli Jew. Or maybe “Russian-speaking Israeli citizen”. I shouldn’t call him a “Russian Jew” because that might have a stigma attached to it in Israeli society. As in hordes of Russian emigres from lower strata of society. Not sure.

      As the motto of my blog is “HUMAN DIGNITY”, I do always try to use polite language with people I respect, but I don’t always know what the rules are within a given subculture.

      As for Anatoly Wasserman, I like to watch his talk shows. He’s a funny AND a wise guy. But I don’t recall him being mentioned in the article.
      The actual real third Jew mentioned in the article is Petrushka Waltzman himself!
      Who is neither wise nor funny.
      And whom I do not respect.

      Thanks for the Shariy video, Shariy is always worth worthing! He is truly the “Prophet Crying in the Wilderness” that was predicted in Biblical lore!


    • yalensis says:

      And P.S. – on re-watching the Shariy video and the interview with this gentleman, I am struck once again by the radical difference between the Russian and the American approach to racial/ethnic issues. Both the “bytovy” racism (=racism on the daily and personal level), and the systemic racism (=whether or not a community has support from the police and judicial system).
      I think the difference stems from the fact that Americans don’t see ethnic subcultures as actual “communities”, they want to think that everybody is just jumbled together in one big pot.
      Russians, on the other hand (and this is partly a legacy of Soviet system but is also very European approach, I think) view the population as grouped into various ethnic communities, and the focus is on having the communities live in harmony with one another.

      The situation in Crimea, as the gentleman in the interview describes it, is that the leaders of the Jewish community have a direct line to the government and prosecutor’s office, if anything should happen. They have the support of the police. Compared to this, the issue of whether somebody calls somebody else a name in the marketplace, although important, really pales in comparison to the issue of SYSTEMIC racism, as is practiced in American criminal/judiciary system, primarily against African-Americans. (And I can support that statement, although it would be a whole ‘nother blog.)

      AS the gentleman in the video describes, they had the issue with somebody defacing synogogues and mosques. The Russian prosecutor’s office treated this very seriously, it turned out not to be random “bytovy” racism, and eventually they found the culprit. Who turned out to be some young thug who was paid by the Ukrainians to “stir things up”.


  3. Jen says:

    Probably one significant aspect of Poroshenko’s speech is its intended audience: the members of the Knesset, at least many if not most of whom may be ignorant of what’s been happening in Ukraine since late 2013. Is he after money from Israel to pay out to more thugs so they can cross into Crimea and desecrate more synagogues and mosques, create trouble between Jewish and other communities in Crimea, and cause panic among Crimean Jews so that they end up rushing to Israel on the first available flight? Israel very likely needs more immigrants to justify building more settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and to maintain its population levels – in the last few years, there were actually more people leaving Israel than there were entering the country as immigrants.


    • yalensis says:

      Poroshenko was definitely schnorring for money in Israel, and also other goodies too (like weapons), no doubt about that. As to whether any members of the Knesset are buying into his B.S. – that I don’t know, as I am not at all familiar with Israeli politics or political personalities. Maybe they have some real dummies in the Knesset, I don’t know.

      I imagine that Israel WOULD like to get more immigrants, to beef up the Chosen Land, but seems to me they are more likely to get recruits from mainland Ukraine than from Crimea. If what I am reading is correct, the Crimean Jews are feeling pretty safe right now. What with a direct hotline to the police, the government, and even to Natalia Poklonskaya personally. And who WOULDN’T want a direct line to Natasha’s office!


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