War in Ukraine, Neo-Nazis, and the American Jewish Committee

For the record, I knew Simon Wiesenthal well, he was an honorary member of the Board of my non-profit Andrei Sakharov Institute, and I am a contributor to his anti-Nazi Simon Wiesenthal Center. Occasionally, I contribute to some other charities, including the Holocaust memorial in DC.

The reason I mentioned the American Jewish Committee in the headline is that I keep getting numerous Dear Edward letters from AJC about their activities and requests for contributions.

For example, here is one of the most frequent senders  Ted Deutch, AJC’s CEO:

“Dear Edward, Welcome to the first edition of Ten from Ted, where I’ll share my views on major issues and highlight the essential advocacy work that we are doing at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel.”

To my surprise, number 1 on this list of major issues was his and AJC’s President Michael Tichnor’s appeal to bring Ukraine into NATO. They addressed this appeal in the letter to all heads of NATO countries.  Here is a short quote: “We appreciate your leadership and dedication to upholding democratic values and strengthening international security. By supporting Ukraine’s NATO accession, the Alliance will demonstrate its unwavering commitment to the principles and values that have upheld the infrastructure of global peace for more than 74 years and contribute to a safer region and world.”

Being unsure how bringing Ukraine into NATO would help Jewish people I decided to reply:

Dear Ted,

Thank you for sharing your vision on many important Jewish community issues. You also suggest to readers to ask questions that will be answered in the next dispatch.  However, I’ve been trying to get your answer for several months without any luck.

Let me repeat it again. On behalf of AJC you advocate Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO but, at the same time, many prominent American experts, including former US government officials, Members of Congress, and well-known foreign policy experts believe that it is NATO’s Eastern expansion is the main reason for the current war in Ukraine that might escalate into nuclear WW3.  What is your reaction to their opinion?

Well, no promised answer from Ted but Dear Edward letters kept coming from the following many other AJC leadership and staff members

All asked for contributions but no answer to my follow up questions although I wrote back to most of them saying that I’d be happy to contribute if at least someone from AJC answered my letters. No chance.

Instead, another letter:

Dear Edward,

I’m writing now simply to say thank you. At this time of rising antisemitism, extremism, and hate, AJC’s tireless, thoughtful advocacy on behalf of the Jewish people is critically important. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude for standing with AJC.

With appreciation,
Harriet P. Schleifer
AJC Honorary President

Harriett is a big shot, so my answer was a bit longer.

Dear Harriet,

I do contribute to different Jewish causes and will be happy to do it for AJC.  However, I want to ask you first a direct question and hopefully get an answer.

Recently AJC as well as dozens of government and other public organizations gave a stage to Ukrainian president Zelensky who placed the blame on what is going on in Ukraine solely on Russia. Not a single question was asked about the role of NATO expansion or the glorification of Neo-Nazis and Nazi collaborators in Zelensky’s Ukraine.  However, there are many prominent Americans, both on the right and left who have different opinions on who to blame, and it took Pope Francis to suggest that it was “NATO’s barking at Russia’s doors” that could provoke Putin. My article in the National Interest touches on these issues and I wonder what is your opinion. Thank you very much for your time.

No answer.

Then came another letter from Ted congratulating me on the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.

Here is my answer

Dear Ted,

Shanah Tovah to you and all officials and staff at AJC.

I wonder if you tell me about your attitude toward the current events in Ukraine, particularly toward its Jewish president Zelensky. I have been trying to get the answer from you, and other AJC leaders but have had no luck except the request for more donations.

In the meantime, the events in Ukraine raise the possibility of WWIII, and many believe it has a good chance to get nuclear. I know that AJC and other Jewish community leadership consider Zelensky a hero, and the recent article in the Jerusalem Post placed him at the top of 50 most influential Jews. For me to say that it is shocking news is to say nothing.  My family is from Kyiv and some members were lucky to escape the advanced Nazi troops. However, 3 out of my 4 grandparents were not so lucky, and have been murdered in the Baby Yar by the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators.

Nevertheless, Zelensky is not only working closely with the modern neo-Nazis battalions but is even denying that there were any during WWII and in Baby Yar.  It took Alan Dershowitz in Newsweek to notice this outrageous Zelensky’s position but what about AJC? Well, I am closing with my Oped from antiwar and if you find a few minutes to read it and respond to the issues raised I’d be most grateful.

No answer but another Dear Edward letter from Ted with a repeat of the demand to bring Ukraine into NATO, denouncing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and praising Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

I answered with the following:

Dear Ted,

I don’t know who reads your mail but I’ve been trying to get some answers from you for a long time and without any luck. I’d be delighted to contribute to AJC  but I expect to get at least one answer to my questions which so far I didn’t get. So here we go again.

Do you approve of the actions by Ukrainian President Zelensky to decorate WWII Nazi collaborators, renaming Citi streets in their honor, and prohibit the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodoх Church?

You are praising the Polish Prime Minister for his support of Ukraine when even President Emmanuel Macron of France labeled Mateusz Morawiecki a “far-right anti-Semite.”

There are more questions that I’d like to ask but I wonder if you find time to answer at least these two.

No answer.

I hesitated to write this article but after what happened last week in the Canadian parliament when Zelensky together with Prime Minister Trudeau and other members of the Canadian political elite welcomed a Nazi criminal with a standing ovation I expected AJC to issue a condemnation of this horror which many Jewish organizations did condemn but so far I couldn’t find it on AJC site or on the web.

Instead, just today I got another letter from Ted with his 10 most important current issues. Among them, AJC presented its Human Dignity Award to Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace President H.E. Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, his meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu on the UN sidelines, conversation I with Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden to clarify his comments on Kanye West but not a single word about glorifying Nazi in Canadian parliament.

Therefore, I decided to write the above, perhaps Ted will see it and finally reacts.

To conclude.

Provoking, funding, and prolonging the war between the two Christian nations who lived together for over three centuries and who were bounded by close historical, religious, economic, cultural, and family ties were never meant to promote democracy but rather to use Ukrainians as cannon fodder to preserve the geopolitical advantage of the hegemon. Of course, there was an additional incentive to make money for the military-industrial complex, and, as it turns out, to enrich the current U.S. President’s crime family.

What is even more damaging to Washington’s image on the world stage is that it is doing all of this in close tandem with a nominally Jewish President Zelensky whose regime is using U.S. and NATO weapons to kill non-combatants, destroy homes and civilian infrastructure, and conduct acts of terror.

Another despicable act by Zelensky is his persecution of Ukrainian Christians, whose leaders were arrested, churches vandalized or outright confiscated, but regrettably, so far, we have not heard any criticism of this policy from official Washington, the media, or even Jewish and Christian organizations.

Edward Lozansky is President of the American University in Moscow.

7 thoughts on “War in Ukraine, Neo-Nazis, and the American Jewish Committee”

  1. It makes me wonder WHY the US isn’t a bit more discerning about the company it keeps, funds and assists?….

  2. Edward Lozansky should discontinue sending money to the AJC if he can’t get a response to his question, Zelensky considers Putin to be worse than the Nazis and that’s why he supports the Azov Battalion. Zelensky is Jewish and members of his family perished in the Holocaust and has them on his side in his war with Russia although Russia fought the Nazis in WWII and did not send Jews to the death camps.

    1. Well, Russia fought the Nazis in World War 2 … after allying with the Nazis in World War 2 and getting betrayed by them. How many Jews in eastern Poland, Ukraine, etc. ended up in the death camps due to Stalin’s alliance with Hitler and lack of preparation for a betrayal that, at least in retrospect, seems to have been obviously coming?

      1. and Stalin, an anti-semite (his suppot for creation of Israel nothwithstanding, as it was aimed at the British) planned to exile & resettle all Soviet Jews to Siberia/ Far East after the war, but his timely death prevented that.

  3. Excellent article by someone I respect.

    However, maybe when the AJC doesn’t respond to your next letter you might consider replying with a direct condemnation of the AJC for the very odious policies it has been promoting that you are rightfully condemning.

    You have been doing it in a more subtle and nuanced way, but perhaps it is time to put it on the table and become more blunt.

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