Press Release

AFT's Weingarten on Latest News About Ukraine's Jewish Community

For Release: 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-879-4447; 202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten on the latest news from Ukraine regarding the Jewish community there.

"I am profoundly concerned about reports emanating from Ukraine where an ultra-rightwing pro-Russian group reportedly has been promoting a notice ordering all Jews over the age of 16 to register at the government building occupied by the pro-Russian insurgents or face deportation among other heinous and anti-Semitic demans. The notice is assumed to be from the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk, signed by its pro-Russian, self-styled people's governor Denis Pushilin. Whether these reports are true or not, they must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

"I recently returned from a trip to Kiev and to Babi Yar in Ukraine, where I took part in a global delegation of leaders from teachers' unions around the world to lend our support to the democratic forces fighting for Ukrainian independence. Teachers are on the front line of fighting for democracy and as we are seeing now, with such a new and frightening scenario, history tends to repeat itself in that part of the world in ugly and deadly manifestations. Now, more than ever, we must support those who demand democracy and freedom in Ukraine."

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.