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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 this vitriolic imagery for trying to make a point. Indeed such a use … only be of disservice to the cause of understanding between Canadians of all origins and religious backgrounds.”

 In an email dated April 4, 2010, The Winnipeg Jewish Review posed the following questions to the UCLLA:

 1. Could you please let me know approximately how many  Animal Farm postcards with the pig were sent and to whom they were sent out ? Also, can you advise the general dates as to  when these cards were sent out (i.e. 2-3 weeks ago, or more)?

 2. Do you acknowledge that choosing to send this Animal Farm   postcard with the image of the pig  could be viewed by members of the Jewish community as well as non-Jewish Canadians   as inappropriate, and/or offensive, and /or inflammatory, and/or  showing poor judgment?
 3. Do you in any way acknowledge that the use of the pig imagery on the card could reasonably be considered to have  be[en] anti-Semitic or having tones of anti semitism ? 
 4. Did you receive any complaints and/or criticisms from  the Ukrainian Canadian Congress or any Jewish organizations about this Animal Farm Card, and if so, what was the approximate date you became aware of complaints and/ or  criticism of using this  Animal Farm postcard ?
 5. Did you cease sending out this particular Animal Farm postcard after becoming aware of any complaints and /or criticisms? [I note the newer postcard does not have any images  of pigs on it.]
 6. Do you now, in retrospect, regret having sent out the Animal  Farm postcard or do you not have any regret? In other words, would you send out the same postcard today in light of  Dr. Chatterley's remarks and/or other complaints you received? (assuming you received any )
The Winnipeg Jewish Review received an email in response on the same day from Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, the UCCLA’s director of research and a professor of political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada. In his response, Luciuk did not comment on how many postcards were sent out by the group, nor did he  comment on whether or not he felt the postcard was inflammatory, etc.

Instead, he wrote that Chatterley’s Free Press article “misrepresents the positions taken by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, as any honest reading of our media releases (and postcards) will confirm…Where did the UCCLA ever say that Jews (or anyone else for that matter) are "descended from pigs?" Answer "nowhere."

In a media release posted on the UCCLA website dated April 8, 2011 the UCCLA  did not express any regret about sending the postcard  and wrote:

“UCCLA’s Animal Farm postcard does not ‘paint Jews as pigs.’Claiming that is a calumny…

“The orchestrated outcry about the Animal Farm Postcard reflects the desperation of those who having failed to counter UCCLA’s legitimate concerns over the proposed contents and ongoing governance of this national institution are now resorting to bully-boy tactics and name calling to obfuscate the truth—which is that MOST Canadians want this publicly funded museum to focus on Canadian stories and human rights, not human wrongs [emphasis added].”

Several months ago in an article in the Kyev Post in December 2010, Luciuk also wrote: “As over two dozen well-supported museums and educational programs dedicated exclusively to Jewish losses in the Second World War already exist in Canada it is obvious that what happened to those innocents is a tale already told, often and well, in no danger of being forgotten.” To see full article click

Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress told the Winnipeg Jewish Review on April 12, 2011 that after learning about this postcard “about eight weeks ago” he and Ruth Klein from B’nai Brith, met with a representative of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) to indicate that many people in the Jewish community as well as non-Jews found the postcard offensive. The UCC is an umbrella organization for many Ukrainian groups, but the UCCLA which was responsible for sending out the postcard, is not one of them.

Klein said that she and Farber asked the Ukrainian Canadian Congress representative “to intervene” and ensure that the postcard would not continue to be sent out. Klein added she had heard quite a number of complaints about the postcard from Jewish groups.

Farber told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that “I found the pig postcard to be ugly, distasteful, and in my opinion it is anti-semitic. Many who have viewed this postcard, Jews and non-Jews alike, have shared with me how outraged they were to receive it.”

When asked about the results of their meeting with Klein and a representative of the UCC, Farber responded, “We are having ongoing discussions. There was some understanding of our position [by the U.C.C. representative]… There is more work to be done.”

Farber added, that in his view “They (the UCC) haven’t distanced themselves enough from this postcard,” noting that they haven’t made any public statement criticizing the sending out of the card.

Although Farber has known about the postcard for about two months or more, he said that CJC did not publicly issue any statement about it because they felt that the card was reflecting negatively on the UCCLA, and there was therefore no need to do so.

Frank Dimant, CEO of Bnai Brith Canada told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that " Bnai Brith views the post card as being anti-semetic" and that it will be included as an incidient in Bnai Brtih's annual audit of Antisemitic acts of 2011.

On April 13,2011 the Winnipeg Jewish Review sent an email to the direct email address of  the media spokesperson for the UCC Daria Penner asking  her to comment on the postcard but we have not yet received a response. On April 1, 2011 an email was sent to the general email box of the UCC addressed to Paul Grod, UCC National President and/or Media Spokesperson and no response was received.

Dimant added in regard to the UCCLA's campaign, "Promoting one suffering by trying to diminish the holocasut is totally unacceptable." He also said "We brelive that it is quite horrific that efforts are being made by any group in Canada to try to diminish the historical significance of the Holocasut. canadians contributed as individuals and through various levels of government knowing full well that the  Holocasut will bef eatured prominently in the Museum. To try to undermine the efforts and goodwill of all of these Canadians is unconscionable."

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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.