Anti-Semitic video uploaded by Ukrainian MP branded ‘despicable and heinous’

Verkhovna Rada deputy Oleh Lyashko © Maksim Blinov
The fact that a member of the Ukrainian Radical Party has been filmed singing a song saluting Adolf Hitler is not surprising, considering the rise in anti-Semitism throughout Europe, including in France and Ukraine, Rabbi Ralph Tawil told RT.

Ukrainian lawmaker Artyom Vitko, who is on a committee to improve Ukraine-Israel ties, was filmed singing pro-Hitler songs. The video followed just days after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had apologized to Israel for Ukrainian collaborators’ role in the Holocaust.

READ MORE: Ukrainian lawmaker filmed singing along to neo-Nazi song, saluting Hitler

RT: A Ukrainian MP, who's on a committee to improve Ukraine-Israel ties, is filmed singing pro-Hitler songs. What was your reaction to that?

Rabbi Ralph Tawil: When I first saw it, I thought it was despicable and heinous, but I was not surprised because we see the rise of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, Ukraine included. And we are also seeing the rise of the radical right-wing parties like in France [the National Front]; and the Radical Party by Oleg Lyashko in Ukraine. So, I am not surprised by it, even though it is despicable.

RT: Will Tel Aviv let this lie?

RRT: I think that [Petro] Poroshenko made the apology and that took a lot of courage. In order to really prevent another Holocaust or another mass genocide - if necessary - not only to apologize, but to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. So I think that Tel Aviv will make an issue of it and request that such incitement be not allowed in [the] Ukrainian parliament. And that would really be a courageous act for Poroshenko, for the president, but one that should be done. 

RT: Could this incident affect Ukraine's hopes to improve ties with Europe?

RRT: Europe is dealing with this problem or not dealing with it – it is widespread throughout Europe. Every European country has its own racist and right-wing movements that are gaining power. So I think that Europe unfortunately will not react to it. However, they should react to it as part of their attempt to make sure such a genocide of any people does not recur.

RT: How concerning is the fact that the man praising Hitler is a member of the Ukrainian parliament? What kind of backlash do you expect?

RRT: The real problem is that Vitko, being a party lackey, is doing what Lyashko, his party leader, said and just continuing. The fact that it is with music, that it was raised to YouTube, shows that there is a following, shows that there are people that want to hear this. The fact that it’s played on the radio and on YouTube and that he uploaded it shows that there is a following for this. And the fact that it’s music also touches an important chord. We know that, for example, that DAESH/ISIS/ISIL uses music in all their videos to inspire these atrocities. I am afraid that if more music like this gets uploaded, with Ukrainian parliamentary members singing it and performing it,  it would lead to a strengthening of the anti-Semitic, racist  parties like  the Radical Party [of Oleg Lyashko] in Ukraine.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.