Engel Statement on Anti-Semitic Actions by Ukrainian Member of Parliament From Svoboda Party

Washington, D.C.– Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel, the senior Democratic member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding anti-Semitic actions of a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Svoboda party.

“As a strong and long-standing supporter of Ukraine, I have been inspired by the courage and determination of the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who have gathered regularly in Kyiv and other cities throughout Ukraine to peacefully express their desire for a democratic, European future for their country.  I also have been greatly impressed by the fact that the demonstrations have included individuals of all backgrounds and religious leaders of all faiths, in a spirit of inclusiveness that reflects the diversity and strength of Ukrainian society.” 

“I therefore was deeply dismayed and disturbed by the recent anti-Semitic actions of a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Svoboda party during a recent holiday play in Kyiv.  This racist action is not only deeply offensive to members of the Jewish community in Ukraine, but it is also absolutely incompatible with the democratic values, tolerance and inclusiveness espoused by those gathered in the Maydan, the central square in Kyiv. I call on Svoboda’s leadership to condemn this hateful action, distance themselves from similar acts in the future, and reaffirm their commitment to building a pluralistic, tolerant democracy within Europe.”