US reportedly bans Ukrainian party leaders over anti-Semitism

A State Department report this month singled out country as a place of ‘concern’ for anti-Semitism

JTA — Two leaders of Ukraine’s ultranationalist Svoboda Party have been banned from entering the United States for their open anti-Semitism, a Ukrainian daily reported.

Oleh Tyahnybok and Igor Miroshnichenko were declared persona non grata in the United States earlier this year following talks with Jewish leaders, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, according to a report published Wednesday in the Kiev-based Sevodnya daily.

The US Embassy in Ukraine declined to comment on the reports when contacted by Sevodnya. A US State Department report this month singled out Ukraine, along with Hungary and Greece, as places of “concern” because of growing anti-Semitic political parties.

A Svoboda spokesperson said the reports were false and part of an attempt “by foreigners to discredit” the party.

Founded in 2004 Svoboda — “freedom” in Ukrainian — is rooted in the Social-National Party, a far-right movement ideologically aligned with Nazism. Svoboda garnered more than 10 percent of the vote in the 2012 elections, becoming the country’s fourth-largest party.

Tyahnybok has praised supporters for being the “worst fear of the Jewish-Russian mafia,” and he and Miroshnichenko have used a pejorative for Jews.

Vadim Rabinovich, the Ukraine-born co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, urged European countries to ban Svoboda officials in the same way that the US reportedly has done.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed