Ukraine Passes a Law Banning Antisemitism

The Ukrainian parliament passed a law declaring that antisemitism and all its manifestations were banned in the country.

This law was passed by a majority vote of 283 legislators out of 450. It is unique in that it also makes antisemitic sentiment illegal. Many countries that have antisemitic laws, like France, Germany, and the Netherlands, make it illegal to express antisemitic hate but not to harbor it.

Antisemitism is defined by the Law on Prevention and Counteraction to Anti-Semitism In Ukraine as “a certain perception about Jews, expressed in hatred of Jews”. It also lists examples such as Holocaust denial and calling for, hiding or justifying the killing or injury of people of Jewish origin.

Although the law does not mention Israel rhetoric in it, Ukraine is a signatory to IHRA’s definition of antisemitism. This defines some anti-Israeli speech as antisemitic. The bill does not address the growing trend in Ukraine to glorify Nazi collaborators as national heroes . It does not specify punishments for violators of the law.

According to the Verkhovna Rada website, six lawmakers voted against the law, while 40 abstained and 33 did not vote. The law must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelesky, a Jewish president who was elected in 2019.