New York, NY, September 23, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, to take actions to fight anti-Semitism and to continue democratic reforms to ensure the saftey and security of all the citizens of Ukraine. Mr. Kuchma and other top Ukranian governmental officials were present at a meeting with American Jewish community leaders, including leaders from ADL, the World Jewish Congress and NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Urasia, held at the League's National Headquarters in New York City.
"Freedom has brought about many changes in Ukraine," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, told the Ukranian delegation. "Anti-Semitism used to be a product of the Soviet government. Today, in freedom, it is a laissez faire product and it needs your attention, your vigilance, your voice."
The Jewish participants recognized the strides that Ukraine has made toward rebuilding the Jewish community and in recognizing its Holocaust history, with public commemorations of the Babi Yar massacre and the restitution of Jewish property confiscated during World War II.
However, they urged the Ukranian President to take more public stands in support of Israel within the United Nations by voting against anti-Israel U.N. resolutions, and in denouncing new manifestations of anti-Semitism in Ukraine. The Ukranian President assured the Jewish groups that Ukraine would speak out against anti-Semitism, and would continue to take a tough stance against all forms of terrorism.
Mr. Kuchma called on ADL and other Jewish organizations to support efforts to graduate Ukraine from application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and to restore normal trade relations with the U.S. Jackson-Vanik, legislation passed in the early 1970s to link trade with human rights performance, specifically the right of free emigration, remains in force against Ukraine despite that nation's emerging democracy and reform efforts.
"Be assured that we will again communicate to the administration and to Congress that the time has come, certainly in your case, that this legislation be removed," Mr. Foxman told the delegation.