Israel Protests Glorification of Ukrainian Nazi Collaborators

ukrainian nazi
Activists of various nationalist parties march at a Jan. 1 rally in Kyiv celebrating the birthday of Stepan Bandera, founder of a rebel army that fought against the Soviet regime and who was assassinated in Germany in 1959. Bandera was also a Nazi collaborator. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The Israeli foreign ministry has pressed objections to the glorification of Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis in World War II, despite being told that it’s an internal matter.

A Ukrainian diplomat in Tel Aviv told Israeli officials that the memorializing of collaborators Stepan Bandera and others was related to “internal issues of Ukrainian politics” and that Israeli protests are “counterproductive,” according to the news site

Israel’s foreign ministry was not deterred. “The memory of the Holocaust and the war on anti-Semitism, including glorification of the killing of Jews, is not an internal matter,” it was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel.

The ministry added that speaking out about it is a “responsibility of the first degree for any Israeli diplomat and a joint moral obligation for Israel and its many friends around the world.”

Last week, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Lion, and his Polish counterpart Bartosz Cichocki published an open letter condemning the government-sponsored honoring of Bandera and Andryi Melnyk, another collaborator.

Ukrainian president Vladymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, is expected to visit Israel next week for a Holocaust commemoration ceremony. So far, there is no indication that the issue will affect his visit.

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