Igor Miroschnichenko sparked a backlash online after posting a rant about the Ted star on Facebook.com, in which he claimed Kunis was not a true Ukrainian because she was a "zhydovka", meaning "dirty Jew".
He came under attack by other Ukrainian Jews for using the derogatory term, which has been deemed a slur since the Holocaust, and now international religious groups have waded into the debate.
A representative for Los Angeles' famous Simon Wiesenthal Center fired off a letter to the Eastern European nation's prime minister, Mykola Azarov, on Thursday (20Dec12), calling on the leader to take action to condemn Miroschnichenko's actions.
In the message, obtained by TMZ.com, Rabbi Marvin Hier explains he is writing to "express our outrage and indignation against the slanders... directed against the Jewish community in the Ukraine".
He goes on to stress the negative connotations of the word zhydovka, insisting it is an "insidious slur invoked by the Nazis and their collaborators as they rounded up the Jews to murder them... in the death camps", adding that Kunis and her parents emigrated to the U.S. when she was seven to escape the same anti-Semitism which she is now facing in public.
Rabbi Hier urges the Prime Minister to "publically condemn this attack and to take measures to defeat the xenophobic forces that threaten your democracy", adding, "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."
Kunis, who was born in the former Soviet city of Chernivtsi, has yet to comment on the scandal.
September 04, 2009 10:15am EST
This year's (09) festival features a programme entitled City to City, which will highlight 10 Israeli films to celebrate Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary.
The segment has caused controversy among a group of actors, including Fonda and Glover, who have decided to snub the festival, declaring that the city of Tel Aviv was built on "thousands of destroyed Palestinian villages".
According to TMZ.com, the stars have signed a letter to festival organisers, which goes on to claim City to City "ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants".
The boycott has prompted Rabbi Marvin Hier of New York's Simon Wiesenthal Center to speak out against the protest, accusing those who signed the letter of supporting "the complete destruction of Israel".
Hier, who has won two Oscars for his documentary work, states, "People who support letters like this are people who do not support a two-state solution. By calling into question the legitimacy of Tel Aviv, they are supporting a one-state solution, which means the destruction of the State of Israel.
"I applaud the organisers of the festival for celebrating on the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv. If every city in the Middle East would be as culturally diverse, as open to freedom of expression as Tel Aviv is, then peace would long have come (sic) to the Middle East."
Troubled comedian Michael Richards' publicist has defended his client's assertion he's Jewish, just days after it was revealed the former Seinfeld star shouted anti-Semitic remarks at comedy club audience members in April.
Richards sparked outrage again at a Los Angeles comedy club earlier this month after repeatedly calling two African-American hecklers "n**gers" during a foul-mouthed rant onstage.
He denies accusations of racism and anti-Semitism following the two incidents, insisting he's a Jew himself--despite failing to officially convert to the religion.
His new publicist Howard Rubenstein says, "He really thinks of himself as Jewish. He said there were two mentors who raised him and who had a big influence on his life, and they were Jewish. He said, 'I agree with the concepts and the religious beliefs of Judaism and I've adopted Judaism as my religion.'"
But Rabbi Marvin Hier questions the claims, maintaining, "You can't feel Jewish. It's not a matter of feeling. You can convert to Judaism. You can't not convert to Judaism and then be Jewish."
Rabbi Mark S. Diamond of the 280-member Board of Rabbis of Southern California agrees: "There are many people who appreciate Jewish customs, who may embrace aspects of Jewish culture and practice, but that does not make them Jewish."
Richards is currently seeking psychiatric help in an effort to control his rage problems.
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