At a rally in Cherkassy, Ukraine last weekend, several ultra-nationalists shed their jackets to reveal unabashedly anti-Semitic slogans printed on their T-shirts. And the event even turned violent, according to people there.
“Beat the Zhids” read the front of their shirts. A Russian and Ukrainian speaker explains to TheBlaze that “Zhids” is a derogatory slur heard frequently in Eastern Europe and was historically associated with the bloody pogroms against the Jews. Zhid can be translated as “dirty Jew.” The the pro-Israel blog Elder of Ziyon, which was the first English language website to report the anti-Semitic display at the rally, says the slur Zhid means “kike.”
Even though the slogan calls to “Beat the Zhids,” during the Eastern European pogroms at the turn of the 20th century, violence against the Jews went well beyond beating, leading to the murder of thousands of innocent civilians.
On the back of the T-shirts, written in Ukrainian, is the word Svoboda (“freedom”), which is a radically nationalistic opposition party in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian with whom TheBlaze spoke says the slogan “Beat the Zhids” is truncated from a longer nationalistic slogan that was first used during the Russian Revolution. The original chant was: “Beat up the Zhids and Save Russia,” blaming the Jews for society’s ills.
Video which Elder of Ziyon posted (seen below) shows citizens stepping in, throwing liquid at the offending youths, pulling off the t-shirt of at least one of them, and beating another up (ironically obeying at least one part of the message on their anti-Semitic t-shirts).
Local sources tell the Israeli Russian language news site newsru.co.il, however, that authorities refused to act at the time.
Lawyer and human rights activist, Victor Smal, told reporters that he was beaten by two men after he objected to the t-shirts.
Here is the video showing citizens attacking those wearing the offensive shirts:
Already, conspiracy theories are emerging, with some accusing the youths of carrying out a “false flag” operation to besmirch the Svoboda party, per Elder of Ziyon.
Police have now questioned 36 people on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred.