Earlier this week in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, three unidentified men carrying pro-Russian flags handed out flyers that demanded all Jews register with authorities or face losing their property and citizenship. A picture of the document was taken by a local and made it’s way to the Israeli press. Shortly after, the flyer was picked up by social media and the anti-Semitic propaganda spread like wildfire over the Internet.
The Detroit Free Press shows the document provided by the The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism which describes specifics of what Jews should provide:
“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”
John Kerry spoke out emphatically against the flyer saying:
“It is beyond unacceptable. And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities, from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of, there is no place for that.”
Although some in the area were rightfully worried about leaflets, many apparently shrugged it off as propaganda from the beginning. Rabbi Pinkhas Vyshedski stated on a Jewish website that “What happened, of course, smells like a provocation. Who is behind it is an open question. But seeing as it is only a provocation, it should be treated accordingly.“
The political manipulation was uncovered quickly as the official who supposedly signed the document said he had nothing to do with it. Denis Pushilin, who the flyer referred to as the “people’s governor”, is pro-Russian. The document was delivered in the name of People’s Republic of Donetsk. Pushilin discredited the flyer and the people behind it by saying “Some idiots yesterday were giving out these flyers in targeted areas.“
Furthermore, Kirill Rudenko, a spokesman for the People’s Republic of Donetsk, referred to the allegations as slanderous and said they had never written “any such letters.”
The leaflet urging Jews to register has yet to be claimed by anyone, nor has there been any attempts to enforce it. It looks like this particular form of propaganda has yet to persuade anyone toward a cause or side. When people on both sides of the argument are calling you out for bad taste, it may be time to rethink your PR strategies.
Image via Daily News