A Ukrainian diplomat told Israel to butt out of the debate about honoring of National Socialist collaborators.
Thursday’s intervention by Gennady Nadolenko, head of Ukraine’s diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv, reflects an escalation in the disagreement between Israel and Ukraine over the issue.
The subject is related to internal issues of Ukrainian politics and Israel’s protests about it are counterproductive, Nadolenko told Israeli diplomats, according to the new site Jewish.ru.
Last week, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Lion, and his Polish counterpart Bartosz Cichocki wrote officials an open letter condemning the government-sponsored honoring of Stepan Bandera and Andryi Melnyk, two patriotic collaborators with the Third Reich.
The two have written on the subject before. In 2018, Lion wrote that he was shocked at an earlier act of veneration for Bandera, saying: "I cannot understand how the glorification of those directly involved in horrible antisemitic crimes helps fight antisemitism and xenophobia."
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Ukrainian diplomats had previously refrained from commenting publicly about Lion’s protests.
The veneration of WW2 National Socialists is a growing phenomenon in Eastern Europe, where many consider them as heroes because they fought against Bolshevik domination.