milakunis-2012Mila Kunis always embraced her Ukrainian roots, but the Ukrainian government is no friend hers It condoned the use of a Jewish slur by a government official to describe her. The flap is quickly becoming an international incident.

Ukrainian lawmaker Igor Miroshnichenko kicked things off when he referred to Kunis as a “zhydovka,” a word that has been used as an epithet against Jewish Ukrainians for decades going back to World War II.

The Ukraine has a horrid past because of its collaboration with the Nazi genocide. Far from resisting, the Ukraine, then under the thumb of the Soviet Union, welcomed the Nazi invasion and helped round up Jews for deportation and ultimately the death camps.

Old wounds were ripped apart with the 1986 arrest in the United States of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian who worked as a concentration camp guard under the Gestapo. Last year, Demjanjuk was tried and convicted in Israel as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews during the war.

Kunis was born in the Ukraine but immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was a child. She has always spoken fondly about her roots. But Miroshnichenko used the term to claim that Kunis wasn’t a real Ukrainian because of her Jewish heritage.

Ukrainian Jews protested his remarks, but the government said the term isn’t necessarily a slur, according to the country’s official dictionary.

But the protest has escalated. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles fired off an angry letter to the Ukrainian Prime Minister, according to gossip site TMZ.

In the letter, Rabbi Marvin Hier expressed “outrage and indignation against the slanders of the Svoboda Party directed against the Jewish community in the Ukraine.”

The term “zhydovka” means “dirty Jewess,” he explained. The “insidious slur” was “invoked by the Nazis and their collaborators as they rounded up the Jews to murder them at Babi Yar and in the death camps,.” he added.

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