Forsinket og for the record: Kan det Putin sier om antisemittisme i Ukraina egentlig brukes som påskudd for inngripen? Ikke hvis man skal tro Josef Zissels, som er leder for World Jewish Congress i Ukrania, og hans svar på spørsmål fra Konstanty Gebert.

– “And from a Jewish perspective?” I asked Josef Zissels. The veteran Ukrainian dissident, Jewish activist, and passionate advocate of Ukraine’s “Maidan” movement, had just finished briefing a Warsaw audience about the movement’s spectacular victory and President Viktor Yanukovych’s fall from power. “There is no Jewish perspective,” he answered. “There are Jews on both sides of the divide.”

That is certainly true. For example, Aleksander Feldman, the chairman of the Jewish Fund for Ukraine, is a prominent parliamentarian for Yanukovych’s Party of Regions – though he condemned the deposed president after his fall. And several Jewish oligarchs were close to Yanukovych until the very end.

But support by Jews for the Maidan movement was much more salient. Four of the 82 protesters killed in Kyiv’s Independence Square were Jewish, and a Jewish sotnia, or “hundred” – a term, ironically, associated with Cossack pogromists – defended the square against Yanukovych’s uniformed goons.

Ingen undervurderer antisemittismen i Ukrania, om enn den kanskje er vel så ille i Vest-Europa. Men russisk nasjonalisme er neppe noen motgift. Putin spiller et jødisk kort, men konflikten har egentlig ingen jødisk faktor – bakteppet til tross.

Zissels is right: The battle is not about them; it is about the survival of a fledgling democratic nation-state.