«Jewish Observer»
February 2002
5762 Shvat

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This a reaction to my article "Why do the Jews of Ukraine keep silence?" I wouldn't respond to this hooligan's assault if it concerned only Mr. Desner.

The aim of my answer is:"All JEWS OF UKRAINE and I'm one of them too".

When in the times of Breznev a person criticized anything or asked an unusual question, the first reaction of the "public" was a counter assault: "Who are you?" One could expect only a threatening shout in response. It was easier if you were afraid or had nothing to say. What's Jewish in this?

I spent my post-war childhood at the Jewish market. We didn't like strangers from other parts of the city. The guys from Bessarabka, Solomenka, Stalinka and Tatarka were even afraid to come. At that time we had other motives and the situation was different.

I think that Mr. Desner didn't study in that environment otherwise he would behave in a more civilized way. That's why I remind: I'm a local Jew, from Ukraine, and know the life here.

It doesn't matter in what country you live. I've been living in New-York for 8 years and I think Mr. Desner lives in my native Kiev. No one holds us here or there. We are free.

But Mr. Desner didn't answer the main point of my question: "Why did the Jews of Ukraine one and all - from unsinkable leaders to the last Jew "fed up" by everyone - keep silent when our native Ukraine betrayed our memories, our past and future and opened the embassy of the non-existing state of Palestine - the enemy of Israel?" Being a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the UNO for 2 years Ukraine solemnly supported all anti-Israeli resolutions.

Mr. Desner didn't say anything about it. But now there aren't times of Stalin and even Breznev in Ukraine. You will not be jailed, Igor. You can only be removed from a good feeding place if you are in it now.

Telling a joke that one can criticize the President of America on the Red Square, you've included not only Ukraine but also yourself among submissive and weak-willed "slaves", who think that cowards and faithful servants of the system were only in the times of Stalin and Breznev but not now. What are you afraid of? Try to "ask yourself this question" as you advise "everyone for all the times". The pathos of your "answer" is: " He left Ukraine. Let him go. Oh, it's great! Now, sit there and keep silence. Don't prevent us from building our Jewish life as we like. You'd better say what's going on in this rich America? Why don't you protest that America invites and accepts "terrorists as state leaders, that Arafat was awarded the Nobel prize, that "Arab armies receive arms", that there is pressure on Israel, that Meir Kakhane was assassinated in America?"

Here is my answer. You should at least read American newspapers in Russian (there are about 50 of them only in New York). I don't mention newspapers in English or Internet. In every issue there are materials about protests, declarations and meetings of different Jewish organizations against the American government, anti-Israel UN resolutions, anti-Semitic actions in any part of the country. I don't say about the meetings of solidarity with Israel (in New York they are held as marches headed up by the mayor of the city), about dozens millions of dollars that are collected for Israel annually.

You ask: "Why do Jews from the USA keep silence, when Jews in Ukraine die due to the lack of medicines, when the price of the food parcel fell down by 20%, when the Jewish cemeteries and synagogues are destroyed?"

Be afraid of God, Mr. Igor Desner! Didn't the Jews from America and Israel help the Jews of Ukraine in 1988 when the first Jewish community organizations were born?

Don't the "Joint", "Sokhnut" and the Ministry of International Affairs of Israel, the rich world Jewish organizations gathered millions of dollars, mainly from the Jews of America and helped the Jewish schools, the Jewish charity in Ukraine, including medicines, food parcels, goods, free meals, conferences, seminars, travels of the Jewish "leaders" to Israel, Europe and America?

But I think it's enough. We've "bought you a fishing-rod" and you want us fish, cook and put everything in your mouth: please, eat! Isn't it enough to stand with a stretched out Jewish hand for 10 years, Mr. Desner? Where are all Jewish leaders, businessmen and deputies? Where is your civil courage?

You are legally building a parenthetic state in which all people are divided into "natives" and "national minorities". By building such a state the government takes the obligations to care for "small brothers". Why can't you demand (not beg) the fulfillment of these obligations or to make, irrespective of ethnic origin, all citizens politically and socially equal?! Oh, you are weak for this. It's easier to say: "Who are you?".

Now I'll speak about the restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine. Look at D. Gardner, a former Ukrainian Jew who is living in New-York now. There were many obstacles on his way. However, he did restore the Jewish cemetery and the memorial on the territory of the former ghetto near Stary Sabor from which he had a miraculous escape.

Now ask yourself: "Why are there no monuments to the dead Jews in thousands of Babiy Yars across Ukraine?" Do you think the "gardeners" should do this?!

And it's blasphemously and stupid to compare the behavior of the American Jews (connected with the request of the USA to Israel to be understandable and patient", when "the only country where you can easily kill Jews is Israel") with "the Gebbels' propaganda" telling that Jews are guilty themselves". If they had lived in the cellars quietly there wouldn't be any Catastrophe!"

How maliciously! It looks like a disease. On the contrary, my article and this answer is a propaganda to go out of your "cellars" with wide open eyes to look at the world. I treat you like my brother. And I don't ask: "Who are you?" I give you my hand, tell by thoughts about Jewish happiness and the future of "the Jewish street". Not only in Ukraine. We are all related. Even if we don't understand that. The world's anti-Semitism will not let us hide in any country even if you want it very much.

"Dina de-malkhuta dina" is a good law, which had helped Jews to survive in hostile environment for centuries. Nowadays, in our "informational century" after "the industrial one" the meaning of borders is just psychological, when life or death of the State of Israel means the life or death of the whole nation. The other part of this law has the main meaning for our life. It doesn't matter where we are. Think about it. And never ask: "Who are you?"

New York, January 12, 2002

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