Four months after Russia’s war of aggression began, Ukraine is as far from peace as it was in February. However, in the West’s public interest, the issue is slowly fading into the background and other issues are beginning to come to the fore. It looks like the world is getting used to the fact that there is a war going on in Europe.
It is important for Ukraine that the emotional sympathy of the international community is constant. Ukrainian society pays a heavy price for every day of war. My Facebook account is full of obituaries. Young people defending the country are killed every day near Izyum, Sieverodonetsk and Kherson. Russian shells and rockets continue to fall every day not only at the front but also in other parts of the country.
ESCALATION Of course, first of all, Ukraine needs weapons and ammunition. It is high time to put aside fears that more active and successful actions by the Ukrainian armed forces would somehow “provoke” the Kremlin to escalate. We’ve been dealing with an escalation for a long time!
It’s not just about Germany though – it’s just the most striking and obvious example. Israel’s opposition to the delivery of military-technical assistance to Ukraine from third countries also creates confusion and cannot be explained rationally or ethically. Apparently, the reason for this can only be that attention to the war is gradually fading, leading to the fact that the population in several countries is easing the pressure on governments in this matter.
But it is extremely important to continue to place the issue of war firmly on the information agenda. The situation in Ukraine, despite the government crisis in Israel and other important current events, continues to occupy a central place for the Jewish world. The war in Ukraine has a distinctly Jewish component; and Jews around the world feel compassion for the people of Ukraine.
GLOBAL FORUM This was also shown last week at the Global Forum of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). As one of the most respected (and arguably most politically influential) Jewish organizations in the United States, the AJC holds an annual event that brings together leading Jewish leaders from around the world. The agenda is determined by the most urgent concerns of the Jewish diaspora. Often, as in the past year, this is the growth of anti-Semitism or the need to support Israel.
This year, the Ukraine war was at the top of the agenda. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the participants of the forum. He combined the Jewish and universal perspectives to describe the war. Zelenskyy said: “I ask you to redouble your efforts to stop Russian hatred. hatred of humanity. Yes, it is hatred that is the driving force behind this ongoing Russian war against Ukraine and against freedom in Europe and the world. Hate for Ukrainians – for the culture of Ukrainians, the history of Ukraine and that, despite all the horrors of the past, Ukraine has remained a friendly and open country for different cultures.«
Russian rockets hit Babyn Yar in Kyiv: »Russian artillery damaged the menorah at Drobytsky Yar near Kharkiv. And openly anti-Semitic statements by the Russian foreign minister have sparked a global scandal. Isn’t that enough?” Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged members of the American Jewish Committee to help tighten sanctions against the Russian Federation and supply offensive weapons.
CHURCHILL When Zelenskyy had finished his appeal, AJC Executive Director David Harris reminded the participants of the forum of an event that happened 80 years ago: “Imagine for a moment Winston Churchill, in the 1940s, taking the time to make a to record a film for the American Jewish Committee Global Forum. That is the importance he (Zelenskyj) gives to us, you and this organization. We won’t dare abandon him.”
The war in Ukraine has a distinctly Jewish component.
As part of the Global Forum, the AJC honored the Jewish student organization Hillel in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv with the Sharon Greene Award for Campus Advocacy. The Hillel office was in a building that was destroyed by Russian shelling. A Hillel activist from Kharkiv died as an army volunteer.
“We should all take inspiration from the Hillel people in Ukraine who continue to support Jewish students during the war,” Harris said. In addition to the award, the American Jewish Committee has raised significant funds for a special fund to help several Ukrainian Hillel chapters continue their activities.
evacuation Jewish individuals also support Ukraine. It was announced last week that the founder of WhatsApp, Jan Boris Koum, who was born in Kyiv in 1976 and has lived in the USA for 30 years, has donated more than ten million dollars in recent months to help Ukrainian refugees in Europe and the United States Help evacuation in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, charity can’t stop tanks and missiles. Ukrainian society pays a heavy price for every day military aid is delayed. Western society and its politicians who get up in the morning and go to bed at night should be aware that not everyone in Europe survived that day.
The author is a historian and journalist based in Kyiv. He documents the current war crimes in Ukraine.