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.