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Would Knesset recognize Holodomor as genocide?

Author : Ze’ev Khanin

Source : 112 Ukraine

A few weeks ago, a Knesset deputy, ethnic Druze, Akram Hasson, has introduced a bill to the Israeli parliament, proposing to recognize Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as genocide, and to proclaim December 6 an official day of memory of the Holodomor victims
12:00, 3 April 2018

Dr. Zeev Khanin, a political scientist and a professor at Bar Ilan and Ariel Universities (Israel), explains whether there any chances for this initiative to be approved, and are the obstacles to a positive decision.

This is a fragment of Zeev Khanin's interview with Hadashot newspaper

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What is behind this decision of deputy Hasson? Any version is possible here, right up to the point that Mr. Hasson, like it might sometimes happen with the deputies, has become an object or subject of lobbying. Perhaps, Akram Hasson was warmly welcomed in Ukraine, he really got a problem and, being a backstab deputy, he did not miss the opportunity to put forward a resonant initiative. He received his share of fame, which does not exclude his personal sympathy for Ukraine and sincere sympathy for the victims of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century.

Related: Bill on recognition of Holodomor in Ukraine as genocide submitted to Israeli Knesset

Another explanation is political technology. The fact is that Kulanu party, to which Mr. Hasson belongs, is rapidly losing its rating and it is difficult to say whether it at least partially repeats the success that accompanied its debut in the last elections to the Knesset. Perhaps, the party decided that a step towards recognition of the Holodomor as genocide is very important for people from Ukraine (Ukraine’s Diaspora in Israel amounts to more than 300 thousand people). And no one has any illusions that this bill has little chance to be supported by the parliament.

Issac Harari/Flash90

Akram Hasson

Once Knesset has made a strategic decision that the people's deputies address discussions on these issues to historians. Therefore, it is about a PR-campaign, which will not have any continuation. As for the possible positive effect on the voters from Ukraine, if we look to the polls, no more than 5% of the repatriates demonstrate a willingness to take sides in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Another 30% sympathize with one side or another, but more than two-thirds of those from the former Soviet Union state that this is not their problem.

Related: Massachusetts recognizes Holodomor in Ukraine as genocide

On the contrary, the average Israeli citizen treats these subjects extremely sympathetically, believing that the Jews, with their centuries-long history of persecution, are able to understand someone else's pain. Moreover, in Israel no one disputes the Holodomor as a tragedy of the people of Ukraine, primarily, this has become a subject of discussion in the Knesset and in the media. A few people are ready to equate the Holodomor, the Armenian tragedy, and the Holocaust. Turks massacred the Armenians on the territory they occupied during the military operations - and there cannot be any excuse for it, but it is unlikely that their program goal was to exterminate all Armenians in the world, to wipe them all.

Holodomor, I repeat, is perceived in Israel as a tragedy of the peoples of Ukraine, who were victims of a criminal regime, including Jews living in Jewish collective farms, who, like Ukrainian peasants, have massively suffered from hunger. This is the point of contact that was found between Israel and Ukraine.

Related: Ukraine to help starving countries of Africa, Asia in memory of Holodomor

Of course, there is some disappointment on both sides. Ukraine is disappointed that Israel is not ready to recognize Holodomor as an ethnocide, as it was done against the Holocaust. Israel, in turn, is disappointed that Ukraine has not yet joined the International Alliance for the Remembrance of the Holocaust, which includes almost all European countries.

Related: “Gareth Jones” film about Holodomor in Ukraine to appear after December 2018

But it is very important that all these "insults" exist on the far periphery of the bilateral relations. Therefore, it seems to many that Hasson’s initiative revives the generally closed discussion in the most unproductive form. It might result in mutual disappointment and meaningless mutual accusations.

Related: Poroshenko urges Austria to recognize Holodomor as genocide of Ukrainian nation

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.

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