An appeal to the civil society of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Representatives of Ukrainian Jewish organizations, on behalf of the Jewish community of Ukraine, are advancing the initiative to make an appeal to the civil society of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In this appeal, we request support for Ukraine’s entry to an Association with the European Union.

The united Jewish community of Ukraine fully supports Ukraine’s aspiration towards stability, prosperity and successful development. With all our heart, we wish for a swift end to political, economic and social crises.

At the same time, the relations between Jews and politics have always been complicated, on the one hand, but on the other hand, they have been quite straightforward. And I would like to express my opinion on this subject.

Historically, Jews first took part in politics when over 3,000 years ago they decided that they should be ruled by a king, and created a system of state administration. From that moment politics took a firm place in the life of the Jewish people.

Today the majority of Jews live outside their historical homeland. How should they then feel about the politics of the countries that they live in? In what way should they position themselves and their lives?

In the Talmud, in the treatise of Avot, our scholars warn: “Be wary with the authorities, for they only become close to a person for their own needs, they pretend to be friends when it is advantageous for them, but will not help a person in difficult times.” (Avot 2:3). But on the other hand, the treatise also states: “Pray for the prosperity of the government – for if it were not for fear [of punishment], people would swallow one another alive” (Avot 3:2). How can these two such different points of view be explained?

The answer is simple and lies on the surface: undoubtedly, as law-abiding and conscientious citizens, we support the course of development of the country that we live in. At the same time, it is not recommended that Jews living outside Israel intervene in political processes, with the exception of cases when the policies of the state are directed towards crimes against humanity.

Examples of how the Jews tried actively to influence the politics of the state are quite tragic. The most famous of them, and the closest to us, is the example of Trotsky (Leib Davidovich Bronshtein). He fought against state power of Russia, took part in the creation of the Red Army, was a minister and chairman of the Revolutionary military council of the RSFSR, then the USSR, and so on. And in May 1940, by the order of Stalin and with the assistance of the renowned Mexican artist Siqueiros, he was killed by the NKVD secret agent Grigulevich. As we know, the good intentions of Trotsky and his colleagues did not end in success, including for the state.

Jews who consider themselves to be the citizens of the country where they were born and where they live, whose language they communicate in, should not take part in any internal conflicts whatsoever. This intervention is fatal for them.

Jews must assist the spiritual prosperity of nations. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that they dispersed. For thanks to the Jews, the world learned of such laws as: thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not commit adultery etc.

It is the Torah that gave the world such concepts as mercy and charity, and fairness towards all living creatures.

Jews, regardless of their place of residence, must observe their own traditions. A shift to other values that differ from our traditional ones will always lead the Jewish people to new sufferings. And we have observed numerous examples of this.

Mykhail Tkach

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