A level of anti-Semitism that most world leaders insist can never be reached again following the Nazi Holocaust is popping into view in the Ukraine, where outrageous accusations against Israel and the Jews have become a centerpiece of the country's presidential election.
The controversy first sprang up last week when a noted academic said at a political-academic conference that he has proof that Israel had imported 25,000 Ukrainian children and then harvested their organs. He claimed before the 300 participants in the Kiev gathering that another Ukrainian man had tried in vain to find 15 Ukrainian children adopted in Israel, only to later discover that they had been taken by Israeli medical centers to be used for "spare parts."
Other professors lecturing at the event presented written works blaming "the Zionists" for Ukraine's past and present difficulties.
That conference apparently gave the spark needed by presidential candidate Sergey Ratushnyak to begin spewing his long-held anti-Semitic positions. In his previous campaign to become mayor of the town of Uzhgorod, Ratushnyak said the Jews were to blame for the Nazi Holocaust because they had stolen German property. He warned that the same was starting to happen in the Ukraine.
Twenty-six Israeli Knesset members sent a letter of protest to the Ukrainian government, but that prompted hostile demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in Kiev, where Ukranians warned Israel and the Jews against trying to "assert control" over their country.
Two other presidential candidates, one of them a Jew and the other accused of being a Jew by his political opponents, have blasted Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for not only allowing but actually facilitating the use of anti-Semitism as a campaign tool.