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Cablegate: Ukraine: Religious, Ethnic Groups in Odesa Condemn

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Deborah J Ash 03/16/2007 12:29:39 PM From DB/Inbox: Feb 07 cables

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS SENSITIVE KYIV 00499

SIPDIS
CXKIEV:
ACTION: POL
INFO: DTRO DAO AMB CONS PAS DCM ECON CUST AID RAO

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: POL:GKENT
DRAFTED: POL:CTURNACIOGLU
CLEARED: NONE

VZCZCKVI771
PP RUEHC RUEHZG RUCNCIS
DE RUEHKV #0499 0591518
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281518Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1360
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KYIV 000499

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV UNHRC UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: RELIGIOUS, ETHNIC GROUPS IN ODESA CONDEMN
ANTI-SEMITISM AS "OUR COMMON PAIN"

REF: KYIV 450

(U) Sensitive but unclassified, please handle accordingly.
Not for internet distribution.

1. (SBU) On February 26, representatives of more than 40
religious denominations and ethnic communities from the Odesa
oblast signed a joint statement condemning the February 17-18
desecration in Odesa of Holocaust memorials, a Jewish
cemetery, and a memorial to a well-known Odesan Jew (reftel).
The vandalism had been immediately condemned by Odesa Mayor
Eduard Hurvits, who is Jewish himself, the Odesan police, and
the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and investigations
were quickly launched. The spokesman for the Jewish
community center in Odesa city told us on February 27 that a
task force of local and national law enforcement officials
has identified suspects, but no arrests have been made.

2. (U) The statement, produced at a joint session of the
Coordinating and Consultative Council on Religious-Secular
Accord and Council of Ethnic Communities, lamented a lack of
historical awareness of the Holocaust on the part of the
younger generation and called on the government to do
everything possible to bring the vandals to justice. It said
that the vandalism was "a well-planned provocation rather
than a spontaneous action committed by a marginal part of
society," and that the attempt to spark anti-Semitism was
part of "a political struggle." A rabbi at the session said
that if the authorities did not react properly to the
provocation, it could encourage similar acts against other
ethnic and religious groups. City Council Secretary
Prokopenko described the vandalism as: "a deep psychological
trauma for the citizens of Odesa. This is our common
pain...it is directed against all ethnic groups. We have to
do everything possible to ensure this does not happen again."

3. (SBU) Comment: It is reassuring to see that in a city that
prides itself on its diversity and history of multiculturism,
the citizenry publicly rejects such hostile acts and condemns
anti-Semitism. Signatories included 19 religious
denominations, including all major Orthodox, Protestant and
Catholic churches in Ukraine in addition to Jewish
communities, as well as 23 various ethnic communities,
including Roma.

4. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev.
Taylor

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