A politician from the Ukraine, lawmaker Igor Miroshnichenko, has launched an anti-Semitic slur at actress Mila Kunis. The slur occurred on a Facebook post that said that Kunis is not a true Ukrainian because she is a “zhydovka,” according to a report from TMZ. The word used in the slur, “zhydovka,” translates to “dirty Jewess.” It has been used as a slur against Jewish women since the Holocaust.
A Jewish human rights organization that goes after anti-Semitism, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, has defended Kunis in the incident. The organization has sent a letter to the prime minister of the Ukraine. The letter is penned by Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper. They express “outrage and indignation” and request an apology to Kunis.
“Mila Kunis’ family, like many thousands of other Ukrainian Jewish families, left the Ukraine in the first place because of anti-Semitism,” the letter says. “Today she is a respected American actress, who is now owed an apology by the Ukraine. It is a tragedy that even after the Holocaust and the demise of the Soviet Union such hatred and anti-Semitism is still a force in the mainstream of your country.”
“The last time this term was used in any official way was during the Nazi occupation, when the Jews or ‘Zhyds’ of Kiev were ordered to convene in preparation for their mass murder at Babi Yar,” Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, said to Jewish news outlet JTA. “The Justice Ministry and politicians should adjust their definitions and language according to what Ukrainian Jews consider offensive, and we find the word ‘zhyd’ to be just that.”
“The temperature around this discussion is rising,” he said. He also noted that the Jewish community in Ukraine is “highly concerned” at how “anti-Semitic speech is becoming more prevalent in Ukraine, especially online.”
When she was seven-years-old, Kunis and her family immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine.