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Front of Animal Farm postcard sent out by UCCLA

Image on Back of Postcard


by Rhonda Spivak, April 13, 2011

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) has sent out a postcard to select Canadians that appears to depict Jewish backers of a prominent Holocaust gallery in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as pigs.

The card was mailed out over the last several months, going back as early as this past December.

The picture on the front is taken from the 1947 Ukrainian edition of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. It depicts a fat pig with a bullwhip overseeing an emaciated horse dragging a wagon.

In Orwell’s story, the pigs represent the Stalinist Communist ruling class who enslave and dominate the other farm animals, but claim hypocritically that “all animals are equal.” The back of the postcard features a pig who whispers into the ear of a sheep in a conspiratorial manner, “All galleries are equal but some galleries are more equal than others.”

The UCCLA sent the postcard out as part of its campaign against the proposed content of the new federal museum, which is now under construction in Winnipeg and is slated to include a gallery dedicated to the Holocaust.

The UCCLA has been lobbying to have the Holodomor – Josef Stalin’s mass murder by starvation of Ukrainians farmers who refused to go along with collectivization efforts in the 1930s – get equal billing with the Shoah (Holocaust). Under the proposed plans, the Holodomor is to have a permanent display in the “Mass Atrocity” along with other atrocities.  

 The museum has said that it decided to feature the Holocaust for a number of reasons, including the fact it was the catalyst that prompted the world to forge a legal framework for the development of international human rights law, specifically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

 The UCCLA has demanded that the Holocaust not get what it calls “favoured treatment,” and it has publicly called for “all 12 of the 12 museum galleries to be inclusive, comparative and thematic.”

By contrast, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has not called for all genocides to be treated equally, but it, too, wants the Holodomor to be given a prominent and permanent gallery in the museum.

Catherine Chatterley, founding director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism in Winnipeg, wrote an article in the April 2, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press chastising the UCCLA for sending out the “hateful postcard,” which was distributed “without shame or conscience,” she said.

“Clearly [in the postcard], the pigs are supporters of the Holocaust gallery, which is characterized as a vehicle of domination, inequality and exploitation. The image of the Jew as a pig has a very long and well-established history in European antisemitism, and, of course it is also a theme in Islamic antisemitism (Jews are purported to be the descendants of apes and pigs).” [To read Chatterley’s complete article, please scroll down the local news section of this site.]

Per Rudling, a scholar of eastern European history who has specialized in antisemitism in Ukraine and currently teaches at the University of Greifswald in Germany, said that “the argument of Jewish Communists is a staple in Ukrainian nationalist rhetoric and has led to protests from non-nationalist scholars.”

Prof. Fred Krantz, Director, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research wrote a complete response to the Winnipeg Jewish Review regarding the issues involved. He said, in part,  that “  For the UCCLA to resort to pig imagery, used in negative association with Jews from the ancient world forward, in pagan, Christian and Islamic sources, in their postcard campaign is, explicitly as well as implicitly, to invoke one of the hoariest of antisemitic images. (See, inter alia, Schaefer, Peter, Judeophobia: Attitudes towards the Jews in the Ancient World; Stern, Menachem, Jews and Judaism in Greek and Latin Literature, 3 vols., passim; and Marcus, J.R., The Jew in the Medieval World). That a Canadian organization, in the early twenty-first century, should resort to such venomous imagery is indeed deplorable…”

Ben Baader, Associate Professor of History, Co-Coordinator of Judaic Studies University of Manitoba wrote in an email, “I agree that this postcard is problematic, to say the least, and that the depiction of Jews as pigs is an established antisemitic tradition.”

David Matas received the Animal Farm pig postcard at both his office and his home, and the Winnipeg Free Press also received it.

 Angela Cassie, Communications Director for the CMHR told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that she and several other staff at the CMHR received it. When asked if there was any reaction to the postcard, Cassie responded, “Yes, most definitely…There was quite a bit of discomfort and unease.”

Cassie also noted that the postcard was run as an advertisement in an Ottawa newspaper , The Hill Times. “The Hill Times edition that ran the "Animal Farm" ad was dated Monday, January 31, 2011. It was a full page ad on page 32,” she wrote in an email.

 Anita Neville, Liberal MP for Winnipeg South Centre, said she received three or four of the postcards, which she called “deplorable.” She added that she has had a “couple of calls” from Ukrainian constituents who said “this group does not represent us.”

 Joyce Bateman Conservative candidate for Winnipeg-South  wrote in an email , “ It is most disappointing to hear of items like the post card that characterize any Canadian in such a negative way. My hope and belief is that the day will come where there will no longer be anti-Semitism…”

David Kilgour, former Liberal MP said it was “disappointing” to see this postcard being sent out as it was not “helpful” and was “contrary to Canadian values.”

Alain Goldshlager, Head of the Holocaust Task Force in Canada, said, "It is quite unfortunate that the UCCA has judged necessary to use th
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.