"How can we talk about anti-Semitism when the President of Ukraine is himself a Jew?" - Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Jonathan Benjamin Markovitch
Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Jonathan Benjamin Markovitch stated this in an interview with the Glavkom.
"Although Ukraine has an anti-Semitic history that cannot be denied, it would be wrong to say that modern Ukrainians are anti-Semites. Of course, xenophobia exists everywhere as some people dislike the minority, but in Ukraine Jews are not mistreated. "We cannot speak of anti-Semitism while the president of Ukraine is a Jew elected by more than 70% of the population. People would consider his nationality if we lived in an anti-Semitic country," he said.
The chief rabbi of Kyiv noted that there is indeed a stereotype about anti-Semite Ukrainians.
"This stereotype exists because Jewish pogroms were real and Ukrainians took part in them, yet today there is much less anti-Semitic sentiment in Ukraine than in Europe itself," the rabbi said.
"There is an interested party involved, but there is no anti-Semitism in Ukraine now. However, my great-grandfather and great-grandmother were burned here. By Ukrainians, not Germans. By their neighbors and friends," the rabbi noted.
"Did it happen in Uzhgorod?" the journalist asked.
"Not far from it."
"Transcarpathian region is multinational. Are you sure those were Ukrainians?"
"Without a doubt."
"So, who is this 'interested party' aimed at stirring up myths about anti-Semitism in Ukraine? Is it Russia?"
"Possibly. Though I am very grateful to the Minister of Internal Affairs. He promptly reacts to any anti-Semitic manifestations, and we always stay in touch regarding these matters."
Also, Rabbi Jonathan Benjamin Markovitch defined his understanding of 'anti-Semitism':
"Well, once I went to a mobile phone shop on Khreshchatyk, and one young man started shouting 'Heil, Hitler!' the moment he saw me. And recently, a 'Molotov cocktail' was thrown at a synagogue in Kherson."