[News] Israel lobby group ADL rehabilitates Hitler's accomplices in Ukraine

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 18 13:06:04 EDT 2022

Israel lobby group ADL rehabilitates Hitler's accomplices in Ukraine

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah>  - 17
March 2022
[image: People watch a man in religious garb speak in front of a huge
portrait of Stepan Bandera]

A priest delivers a speech during a torchlight procession honoring Nazi
collaborator Stepan Bandera in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on 1 January
2022. Bandera’s nationalist movement directly assisted German occupation
forces in perpetrating the Holocaust during World War II.

Israel and its lobby depend on support from the United States.

So when Washington goes to war, the lobby will often lend its propaganda
services to the cause.

The Anti-Defamation League
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/anti-defamation-league>, one of
Israel’s top US lobby groups, is doing so now by rehabilitating Ukrainian
collaborators who helped Hitler exterminate Jews and Poles.

This Holocaust revisionism is motivated by the need to whitewash the
present-day, far-right Ukrainian nationalists and neo-Nazis who are
supported by the United States.

The reason the US, NATO and the European Union say they are sending weapons
and mercenaries to Ukraine is to help a fellow democracy defend its
independence and sovereignty against an illegal invasion by an
expansionist, megalomaniacal madman.

It is therefore very awkward from a Western perspective that the Ukrainian
regime is underpinned by hard-right fascists and neo-Nazis.

Acknowledging this fact, Western war propagandists undoubtedly fear, would
legitimize President Vladimir Putin’s claim that the Russian invasion –
which has been overwhelmingly condemned
<https://www.un.org/press/en/2022/ga12407.doc.htm> by the UN General
Assembly – is justified by a need to “de-Nazify” and demilitarize Ukraine.

The dilemma is summed up in an NBC News headline from earlier this
month: “Ukraine’s
Nazi problem is real, even if Putin’s ‘denazification’ claim isn’t

But most Western media will no longer even go as far as NBC News in
acknowledging this reality.

Totally normal. German government broadcaster @dwnews
<https://twitter.com/dwnews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> whitewashing Nazis.
https://t.co/fx4pywqt1F pic.twitter.com/IrieYfGylZ <https://t.co/IrieYfGylZ>
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) March 15, 2022

The current war can be traced directly to the 2014 coup in Ukraine
during which the US and its allies supported
far-right and neo-Nazi elements.

The goal was to install a US-friendly regime that would bring Ukraine into
NATO, the anti-Russia military alliance. Moscow has long seen NATO
expansion as an existential threat.

Key actors in the US-supported coup were neo-Nazi groups like Right Sector
<https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27173857>, the Azov Battalion
and C14

They are part of a broader Ukrainian nationalist movement that venerates
Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists,
which collaborated with Hitler during World War II.

During the war, members of the OUN loyal to Bandera formed the Ukrainian
Insurgent Army, commonly known by its Ukrainian initials, UPA.

Watch Yevhen Karas the leader of Ukraine's neo-Nazi terror gang C14's
speech from Kiev earlier this month. Straight from the horses' mouth, he
dispels the many narratives pushed by the left, the mainstream media and
the State Department. pic.twitter.com/VWJqWPUGUp <https://t.co/VWJqWPUGUp>
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) February 27, 2022

“Tactical” alliance with Hitler

On 4 March, the Anti-Defamation League published an article
by Andrew Srulevitch, its director of European affairs, to minimize the
Nazi problem in Ukraine.

The article was also promoted in a 15 March email newsletter from ADL CEO
Jonathan Greenblatt on how “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and other
misinformation are spreading in the wake of the invasion.”

In order to downplay the present-day cult of Bandera and support for Nazism
in Ukraine, the ADL finds it necessary to rewrite some history – in effect
Holocaust revisionism.

Srulevitch’s article takes the form of a Q&A with David Fishman
<https://www.jtsa.edu/team/david-fishman/>, a professor of Jewish History
at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Fishman is also a member of the
academic committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“We’ve seen torchlit marches in the middle of [Kiev] with the red and black
flags of UPA … and pictures of Stepan Bandera, who allied with the Nazis
during WWII,” Srulevitch asks. “Isn’t that evidence of Nazism in Ukraine?”

“For Ukrainian nationalists, UPA and Bandera are symbols of the Ukrainian
fight for Ukrainian independence. The UPA allied with Nazi Germany against
the Soviet Union for tactical – not ideological – reasons,” Fishman

“For Jews, however, not only is allying with the Nazis unforgivable under
any circumstance, but historians have documented that Ukrainian
nationalists participated together with Germans in the murder of many
thousands of Jews in Ukraine,” Fishman adds.

Fishman’s excuse that Bandera and other Nazi collaborators are “symbols” of
the “fight for Ukrainian independence” mirrors the claims
<https://acwm.org/blog/myths-misunderstandings-confederate-flag/> from
American white supremacists that their display of the Confederate battle
flag is merely to honor their “heritage” and not to celebrate a regime that
went to war to protect its “right” to enslave people from Africa.

“There are neo-Nazis in Ukraine, just as there are in the US, and in Russia
for that matter,” Fishman asserts. “But they are a very marginal group with
no political influence and who don’t attack Jews or Jewish institutions in

In other words, there’s nothing to see here, the ADL wants us to believe.

But Israel lobby groups were concerned over the rise of the Ukrainian
far-right before the Russian invasion.

“Holocaust perpetrators are the last people on Earth who deserve to be
glorified, regardless of their nationalist credentials,” Efraim Zuroff, a
regional director with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, another pro-Israel
lobby group, correctly stated
in 2015.

“This phenomenon, currently so common in post-Communist Eastern Europe, and
especially in Ukraine and the Baltics, clearly shows that these countries
don’t fully comprehend the obligations of true democracy,” Zuroff added.

This condemnation came after Ukrainian nationalists held a New Year’s Eve
torchlight procession in Kiev to honor Bandera.

But today, just like the ADL, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is, for political
expediency, denying the support for Nazism in Ukraine.

And also like the ADL, it is citing the fact that Ukraine’s president
Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish as evidence that neo-Nazism is not a concern.

Denazify #Ukraine
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ukraine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>? Its
President is Jewish, Mr. #Putin
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/Putin?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>. Naked
aggression is no justification in 2022. #russianinvasion
— SimonWiesenthalCntr (@simonwiesenthal) February 24, 2022

However, this is no more convincing than arguing that the 2008 election of
Barack Obama as president means that racism and white supremacy have been
eliminated from the United States.

Indeed, according to the ADL
the dissemination of “white supremacist propaganda” in the US surged in
2020 – four years after America’s first Black president left office.
Falsifying history

This rationalization, minimization and “both-sidesing” of Nazism and
Holocaust crimes ought to be shocking in itself.

But the ADL’s claim that the Banderite alliance with Hitler was merely
“tactical” – as if that would in any way mitigate their crimes – is also

“Although Bandera and his followers would later try to paint the alliance
with the Third Reich as no more than ‘tactical,’ an attempt to pit one
totalitarian state against another, it was in fact deep-rooted and
ideological,” journalist and author Daniel Lazare writes in a 2015 *Jacobin*
of historian Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe’s book *Stepan Bandera: The Life
and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist

“Bandera envisioned the Ukraine as a classic one-party state with himself
in the role of führer, or *providnyk*, and expected that a new Ukraine
would take its place under the Nazi umbrella.”

Bandera was however detained by the Nazis because he was pushing for
Ukrainian independence – something Hitler was not ready to grant. But the
alliance between the OUN and the Germans persisted.

“Rather than disbanding the OUN, the Nazis had meanwhile revamped it as a
German-run police force,” Lazare writes.

“The OUN had played a leading role in the anti-Jewish pogroms that broke
out in Lviv and dozens of other Ukrainian cities on the heels of the German
invasion, and now they served the Nazis by patrolling the ghettoes and
assisting in deportations, raids and shootings.”

In 1943, Banderite members of the OUN formed their own militia, the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army, or UPA.

The UPA began the ethnic cleansing and extermination of Poles from
territories they saw as belonging to Ukraine.

Citing historians, Lazare writes that “the UPA killed close to 100,000
Poles between 1943 and 1945 and that Orthodox priests blessed the axes,
pitchforks, scythes, sickles, knives and sticks that the peasants it
mobilized used to finish them off.”

This is the footage of Lviv Jewish pogrom on June 30th, 1941. It was
organized by Nazis and Ukrainian nationalists from Bandera’s OUN with
active participation of local population. Thousands of Jews were murdered,
wounded, raped, robbed. pic.twitter.com/cg15I8Slzc <https://t.co/cg15I8Slzc>
— Eduard Dolinsky (@edolinsky) June 30, 2019

At the same time, the UPA’s attacks on Jews “continued at such a ferocious
level that Jews actually sought the protection of the Germans,” Lazare

“The Banderite bands and the local nationalists raided every night,
decimating the Jews,” a survivor cited by Rossoliński-Liebe testified in
1948. “Jews sheltered in the camps where Germans were stationed, fearing an
attack by Banderites. Some German soldiers were brought to protect the
camps and thereby also the Jews.”
Bandera resurrected

This horrifying history has a direct bearing on events today.

After World War II and with the start of the Cold War, the US and its
allies embraced the Banderites, many of whom went into exile in the
West, especially
in Canada

No biggie: the Ukrainian Canadian Congress—a powerful lobby group driven by
a nationalist-fascist ideology—celebrates Ukrainian Nazis who served in the
Waffen-SS Galizien Division. pic.twitter.com/n21QaKSPYs
— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) May 7, 2019

PS: If you want the history of Ukrainian participation in the Waffen-SS and
attempts by the Ukrainian diaspora to turn it into a story of courageous
resistance, read this by Per Anders Rudling: https://t.co/PlpvNqi13n
— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) May 7, 2019

Since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent,
and even more so in the last few years, the cult of Bandera has re-emerged
with a vengeance.

Far from being marginal, it is fully supported by Ukrainian state

In what NBC News calls
an “ominous development,” Ukraine “has in recent years erected a glut of
statues honoring Ukrainian nationalists whose legacies are tainted by their
indisputable record as Nazi proxies.”

Such monuments can be found all over western Ukraine from Lviv
<https://goo.gl/maps/pm99Vbnzfj6HntQj9> to Ternopil
<https://goo.gl/maps/8f4fhXcwZmvF9kzt8> to Ivano-Frankivsk
<https://goo.gl/maps/y3F8QBy7RbH7a19e7> and many small towns in between.

In 2016, the city council in Kiev voted overwhelmingly
to rename the Ukrainian capital’s Moscow Avenue in honor of Bandera.

Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, has for
years documented how Bandera is regularly celebrated with statues, banners
and ceremonies:

I’ve been following @edolinsky
<https://twitter.com/edolinsky?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>, head of the Ukrainian
Jewish Committee, for years as he has relentlessly documented the
present-day glorification of Ukrainian nationalists and fascists who
collaborated with Hitler. He tweeted this just two weeks ago. Follow him
and learn. https://t.co/rejmQV0FZh
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) February 25, 2022

Members of Kyiv City Council singing «Our father is Bandera» after renaming
the WWII hero Nikolay Kuznetsov street into Oles Babiy street - the Nazi
collaborator, antisemite and Holocaust perpetrator. Bandera is leader of
OUN that murdered tens of thousand peaceful Poles and Jew.
pic.twitter.com/0FaCAqMKCC <https://t.co/0FaCAqMKCC>
— Eduard Dolinsky (@edolinsky) November 5, 2021

Ukraine’s military paratroopers singing «Our father is Bandera, our mother
is Ukraine». Stepan Banderf is the leader of Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists that actively participated in Holocaust and murdered some 100
thousand peaceful Poles in 1943-44. pic.twitter.com/WlpK2LRno0
— Eduard Dolinsky (@edolinsky) October 26, 2021

The Ternopil State Regional Council building is decorated with huge
portrait of Stepan Bandera - WWII leader of Ukrainian nationalists that
heavily participated in Holocaust and perpetrated ethnic cleansing of
peaceful Poles population in 1943-44. pic.twitter.com/4N5AfVcnRN
— Eduard Dolinsky (@edolinsky) December 31, 2021

Entrance to a shopping mall in Khmelnitsky is decorated with portrait of
Stepan Bandera and inscription “Our father is Bandera”.
pic.twitter.com/eZkPMQCPkY <https://t.co/eZkPMQCPkY>
— Eduard Dolinsky (@edolinsky) December 31, 2021

The Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, Andrij Melnyk, even bragged in 2015
that he “laid down flowers on the tomb of our hero Stepan Bandera” during a
visit to Munich.

At the outset of my visit to Munich met with UKR community & laid down
flowers on the tomb of our hero Stepan Bandera
— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) April 27, 2015

Potential for horrifying blowback

With the US and Europe arming and supporting the government in Kiev, all
this must be buried along with the ample evidence of support for Nazism and
fascism in present-day Ukraine.

Acknowledging this reality is not the same as claiming that 40 million
Ukrainians are Nazis or that the country deserves to be attacked.

Nonetheless it is crucial for people in the US, EU and NATO countries to
know that their governments are colluding with
as well as reportedly arming
and training
far-right and Nazi elements that are definitely not “marginal.”

On top of the moral revulsion that allying with Nazis – any Nazis – should
provoke, it is a strategy that is bound to produce horrifying blowback,
even if an escalating conflict in Ukraine does not lead to nuclear war

In 2019 – before it became politically necessary to whitewash them – the
ADL itself warned that an “extremist group called the Azov Battalion has
ties to neo-Nazis and white supremacists” and issued a report on how the
Ukrainian militia was trying to “connect with like-minded extremists from
the US.”

This Ukrainian extremist group, called The Azov Battalion, has ties to
neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Our latest report on international white
supremacy details how they try to connect with like-minded extremists from
the US: https://t.co/GtvssxwzbN https://t.co/gGHMM8L46k
— ADL (@ADL) September 23, 2019

Today, the Azov Battalion, fully integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard,
is reportedly already receiving
weapons supplied by Western countries.

A shipment of NLAW grenade launchers and instructors from #NATO
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/NATO?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> countries
arrived in #Kharkiv
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kharkiv?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>. The
Azov regiment was the first to learn about new weaponry
pic.twitter.com/CCzjN40rW7 <https://t.co/CCzjN40rW7>
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 8, 2022

American and European far-right extremists are flocking to Ukraine
to join their neo-Nazi brothers in arms.

When these battle-hardened race warriors return home, it will be Muslims,
Jews and anyone else they consider not to be truly “European” or “American”
who will likely pay the price.

It may seem surprising that an Israel lobby group claiming to fight bigotry
against Jews and others would help to whitewash Nazis. But the alliance
between Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism goes back a century

The ADL may also be taking a leaf from Benjamin Netanyahu’s shameless
historical distortions and fabrications. In 2015, when he was still
Israel’s prime minister, Netanyahu attempted to exonerate Hitler
and blame the Holocaust instead on Palestinians.

Nor is it surprising that the ADL, which spied
<https://merip.org/1993/07/adls-spy-ring/> for
apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, would tacitly join forces with
neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Nonetheless it is still hard to fathom the cynicism it takes even for an
Israel lobby group to brand almost any support for Palestinian rights as
“anti-Semitic” while it helps rehabilitate Hitler’s Holocaust accomplices.

*Ali Abunimah is executive director of The Electronic Intifada.*
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