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Canada’s Freeland Snared By Symbol Of Ukrainian Antisemitic Movement

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Israeli diplomat Roni Shabtai labored tirelessly alongside relief workers at the border with Romania to rescue Israeli families and Ukrainian orphans fleeing Russian bombardment. (Photo: Twitter)

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Jewish organizations of every stripe in Ukraine, Israel and across the world mobilized to support and save their brethren in Ukraine after Vladimir Putin launched the biggest military offensive in Europe since the Second World War. 

As Russia advanced from three fronts under their president’s command to “de-nazify” a country led by an elected Jewish president, the U.N. estimated more than a million Ukrainians have fled the country. The agency has recorded at least 550 civilians casualties, including 142 killed. Russia is estimated to have sacrificed over 9000 soldiers thus far in the bid to extend their domination from the eastern Donbas region to the rest of Ukraine.

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, told his Twitter followers to note the “LIST OF SHAME: Those who expressed support for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin after he carved up large parts of Ukraine. Venezuela Nicaragua Houthis Belarus Cuba Syria”

At press time, Kherson was the first major city in Ukraine to fall to the Russians since the invasion began, as paratroopers took control. It is an important port on the Black Sea and on the Dnieper River with a population of about 275,000. Russian warships leaving Crimea were reportedly heading towards Odessa, the third-largest city in Ukraine. Administration buildings and residential neighborhoods, as well as a military academy and hospital, were attacked in Kharkiv. Air raid sirens screeched in Lviv as it was being shelled. A 40 mile – long convoy was perched about 15 miles outside the capital city of Kyiv, waiting to march towards a climactic battle. 

The initial outbreak of explosions shocked Ukrainian citizens who had heard Putin’s sabre rattling before but never imagined his disdain for NATO would lead to open war crimes against their nation.

As synagogues urged their members on Shabbat February 26 to evacuate as a permitted, life-saving act, The Jewish Agency for Israel opened six Aliyah (immigration to Israel) processing stations at Ukrainian border crossings with four countries: Hungary, Moldova, Poland, and Romania. The stations, operated in conjunction with Nativ and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were opened after the decision was made to close a central Aliyah station in Lviv.

Before that happened, the first group of olim from Ukraine crossed into Poland on that Shabbat “after a nerve-wracking 16-hour process,” to be “temporarily housed in a hotel near Warsaw where they will remain until they are flown to Israel.” 

Subsequently, those border stations processed over 300 Jewish olim for flights to Israel scheduled for Sunday, March 6 in a joint operation led by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). Donations from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Keren Hayesod and donors and friends of Israel from around the world made this rescue possible.

The Ukrainian Jewish refugees will arrive on three separate flights from Warsaw, Moldova and Romania.

The Romanian flight will depart from Iași, carrying 100 orphans who are wards of Tikva Orphanage in Zhytomyr. They crossed into Romania at Siret, as did Israeli nationals fleeing the conflict.  Israeli Counsel in Bucharest, Roni Shabtai lent hands-on assistance in the rescue effort. Another one hundred orphans from Odessa, shepherded by Chabad, will depart from Moldova to Berlin where they will remain until the end of the war. Those children range in age from one month to 22 years.

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“Russian terrorists launched an air strike on the South Railway Station in Kyiv, where thousands of Ukrainian women and children are being evacuated,” the national railway company stated on Wednesday. The previous day, when Russia took aim at a TV tower in Kyiv, five people were killed including cameraman Yevhenii Sakun. The bombs damaged the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial.

“Putin seeks to distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country is utterly abhorrent. It is symbolic that he starts attacking Kyiv by bombing the site of the Babyn Yar, the biggest of Nazi massacre,” said Natan Sharansky, chair of the advisory board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.

On Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is descended from Holocaust survivors, pointedly wrote: “What is the point of saying ‘never again’ for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?” he wrote.  He later told the press, the Russians had “killed Holocaust victims for the second time.”

 “[Russia] has orders to erase our history, erase our country, erase us all.”

When informed by news crews that the memorial at Babi Yar to honour the 34,000 murdered in the ravine in a 2 day Nazi killing spree in 1941, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mused, “That is Russia. My congratulations.” (Screencap: Channel 4 News)

A disaster relief team of doctors, nurses and social workers from Israel were en route to Poland, led by Dr. Dorit Nitzan. She was a World Health Organization regional emergencies director in Europe and representative in Ukraine. Nitzan is joined by physicians, nurses, social workers and a logistics expert from hospitals around Israel, as part of the NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief  effort to provide medical and trauma care for refugees escaping the Russian invasion.

“We dedicate ourselves to the more than half a million refugees and aim to leave no one behind,” said Dr. Nitzan. “The situation is grave. Many of the refugees are elderly, women and children. They are exhausted, sick, injured and traumatized. Ukraine’s neighbors have opened their hearts and homes to these refugees and we are joining in this enormous and critical undertaking to help those in need.”

Jewish organisations in Ukraine have been given a £35 million cash boost ($47 million US) to support thousands of local Holocaust survivors, as part of a £535m global allocation to social welfare charities, the Claims Conference announced on Wednesday. The relief will be administered by the Joint Distribution Committee and the Hesed Social Service network. There are 10,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors alive in Ukraine, and about 5,000 receive ongoing home care.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, represents the world’s Jews in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs.

After a photo of Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, attending a pro-Ukraine rally in Toronto on February 27, showed her holding a scarf associated with the antisemitic nationalist Bandera movement, her office deleted the image from her online media. (Photo: Twitter)

The View From Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday, “the thing that has really had an impact that I think we can all conclude surprised Vladimir Putin, was that we are so united, we are so firm,” referring to the enactment of financial and trade sanctions on the regime and many countries shifting their defense and energy strategies to neutralize his expansionist goals. Later the same day Trudeau spoke with President Zelenskyy, and “commended President Zelenskyy’s outstanding bravery and front-line leadership, calling it inspirational for Canadians and people around the world”, according to an official statement.

“President Zelenskyy thanked Prime Minister Trudeau for announcing meaningful and punitive sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs in Russia who are directly responsible for this unprovoked invasion or help support it. The President also welcomed Canada’s timely announcement of further military support.”

Liberal MPs on the Commons immigration committee voted against a motion on March 1 to drop visa requirements for Ukrainians seeking sanctuary. Nonetheless, the motion passed as the opposition Conservatives, the far-left NDP, and the Quebec separatist BQ voted in favour.

Tory MP Melissa Lantsman pestered the Trudeau government asking “Why is the ambassador still in Canada?” after the Russian Embassy issued a statement citing “Goebbels-style western propaganda” that “cannot be trusted” to describe the “special military operation (whose) strikes are targeting military facilities only, being carried out exclusively with high-precision weapons…”

It also stated, “ The Armed Forces of Ukraine, Nationalist and neo-Nazi groups use civilian infrastructure and population as human shields. ” 

The Trudeau government is still mired in controversy after the brief invocation of the Emergency Act and fiscal confiscations to thwart a truckers’ protest in Ottawa, in addition to violence towards protesters. It was further assailed after Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland posed with a scarf that some see as a far-right nationalist symbol at a pro-Ukraine rally in Toronto last Sunday. The red-and-black design reflected the historic colors of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a nationalist partisan militia during the Second World War. 

A faction led by Stepan Bandera, who fought the communist Russians for the freedom of Ukraine, frequently worked with the Nazis. Banderists directly murdered thousands of Jews, and an estimated 100,000 Poles, during the Holocaust. (In the current war, Putin has perpetuated the painting of Ukrainian nationalists as “Nazis”. Many forget that Stalinist Russia was allied with Hitler in the invasion of Poland in 1939, where the country was dismembered and despoiled.)  

The sensitivity regarding Freeland is her maternal grandfather, Mykhailo Khomiak, who changed his name to Michael Chomiak upon emigrating to Canada after WWII.  The Nazis shut down a Jewish publisher in Krakow and transferred his equipment for the use of the leading pro-Nazi newspaper in Poland, Kravivski Visti. Khomiak/Chomiak became editor of the antisemitic rag from 1940 until March 1945, when Hitler’s Third Reich finally crumbled under the Allied advance.  

CIJA defended Freeland in a tweet, calling her “a strong friend and ally of the Canadian #Jewish community and Israel. Accusations that she is sympathetic to ultranationalist groups are false. We must reject disinformation, #StandWithUkraine, and remain united in our support of the #Ukrainian people.” 

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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