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Fact Sheet: How can the U.S. be "pro-Israel" while it supports anti-Semites in Ukraine?

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The United States has what is called a "special relationship" with Israel. Just one problem with this: The U.S. is supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine. How can the U.S. be "pro-Israel" if it is assisting and training anti-Semites? And how is it that the U.S. supports neo-Nazi extremists today even after 6 million Jews were targeted and methodically murdered by Nazis during WWII?

AFP Photo / Yuriy Dyachyshyn

Pentagon officials announced that U.S. troops from the 173rd Airborne will deploy to Ukraine in March to help build the Ukrainian National Guard. The Pentagon neglected to mention that prominent members of the Ukrainian National Guard include the Azov battalion, a leading neo-Nazi group formed in 2014.

In addition to sending U.S. troops, Washington has already sent heavy military equipment and has earmarked $19 million for Ukrainian forces.

Azov is "run by the extremist Patriot of Ukraine organization, which considers Jews and other minorities sub-human," and was founded by Andriy Biletsky, who is also head of two neo-Nazi organizations, the Patriot of Ukraine and the Social-National Assembly.

Azov symbols compared to Nazi symbols

Biletsky, who was elected to the Rada (Ukraine's parliament) in November, wrote in 2010, "The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led sub-humans."

Support for the Azov militia comes on top of U.S. backing of the Svoboda Party, a group condemned by a 2012 European Parliament resolution as "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic," and Pravy Sektor, a nationalist organization that has been characterized as neo-fascist. Ukraine's U.S.-backed government is "unrepentant about using the neo-Nazis," according to The Telegraph.

John McCain and Victoria Nuland meeting with Ukrainian neo-Nazis

Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok was expelled from parliament in 2004 after giving a speech demanding that Ukrainians fight against a "Muscovite-Jewish mafia," and for praising World War II partisans who fought Jews and "other scum."

In 2005 Tyahnybok demanded that Ukraine do more to halt "criminal activities" of "organized Jewry," and, even now, Svoboda openly calls for Ukrainian citizens to have their ethnicity printed onto their passports.

Tyahnybok also declared that Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was a hero who was "fighting for truth."

Another top Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in parliament, often quotes Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as other Third Reich luminaries like Ernst Rohm and Gregor Strasser.

The BBC reported that Pravy Sektor is the most radical wing of Ukraine's Maidan protest movement that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February, 2014.

Pravy Sektor

Its leader, Dmytro Yarosh, who won a seat in Parliament, calls himself a follower of Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator during WWII. In 2013, Yarosh was put on Interpol's wanted list for "public incitement to terrorist and extremist activities."

"Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire," wrote former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard.

"However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia," said Brzezinski, who has been labeled, "The man behind Obama's foreign policy."

Brzezinski recently told the Senate Armed Services committee that the U.S. and its allies should send troops to the Baltic states. In the context of the U.S. opposing a UN resolution designed to combat glorification of Nazism (the only other countries to vote against the resolution were Canada and Ukraine) an impression is created that the U.S. will use any means necessary to achieve its goals in Eurasia.

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Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages OccupyArrests.com and USinAfrica.com.

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