-- The Simon Wiesenthal Center has strongly condemned a statement
by the mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, in which he said that in his city "there has never been anti-Semitism and there will never be."
Mayor Andriy Sadovyi made the statement June 10 at a news conference.
Efraim Zuroff, Israel director for the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, told JTA Monday that the mayor`s statements were "a hopeless attempt to cover up very strong manifestations of anti-Semitism."
Zuroff noted the existence of a restaurant in Lviv
which encourages patrons to dress up like haredi Jews and haggle
over prices. Another restaurant celebrates the legacy of the Ukrainian
Nazi collaborators led by Stefan Bandera. His men actively participated
in the murder of thousands of Jews in 1941.
The Lviv municipality is set on June 30 to award a
prize named after Bandera to individuals who “helped develop Ukrainian
statehood.” Many Ukrainians view Bandera and his troops as anti-Soviet
Zuroff called the prize “another display of gross
insensitivity by the Lviv municipality, which continues to countenance
anti-Semitism." He reiterated his organization's call to tourists to avoid Lviv’s controversial
restaurants. Lviv, in western Ukraine, is one of the host cities
of the European 2012 championship games.
The Bandera prize is "part
of a whitewashing campaign" in Ukraine, according to researcher Irena Cantorovich. She published a study
this month on Ukrainian commemoration issues at Tel Aviv University`s
Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.