Ukraine’s Jews, Israel and the War

Accusations of anti-semitism and nazism have been a leitmotif of the Russian-Ukrainian war from its start. Russian propaganda has consistently accused Ukraine’s government of ultra-nationalist and fascist tendencies since the conflict began in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin drew on years of this narrative in February 2022 when he paired Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with promises to "denazify" the country. As fighting continued throughout 2022 and since, both Moscow and Kyiv have appealed to the historical memory of their country’s struggle against Nazis in the Second World War. Meanwhile, Israel has seen a large influx of Ukrainian and Russian Jews since the outbreak of the war and has tried to maintain its relationships with both countries.

In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson are joined by Sam Sokol, reporter at Haaretz, to discuss how the war in Ukraine has affected the country's Jewish communities and Ukraine-Israel relations. They talk about the significance of far-right elements and anti-semitism in Ukrainian society and politics, and about how new narratives of patriotism, combined with Russia’s invasion, have changed how Ukrainian Jews think about their history. They also delve into the experiences of both Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainians who have been displaced. Finally, they examine Israel's stance on the conflict, the country's acceptance of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, and the experience of these communities in Israel.

For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Ukraine and Israel/Palestine pages.

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