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Before Crimea Was Russian, It Was a Potential Jewish Homeland.

"On the way to Sevastopol, not too far from Simferopol," begins what is probably the most famous Yiddish song from the Soviet Union, "Hey Dzhankoye." The song, named after a collective farm near the Crimean town of Dzhankoy, celebrates the alleged victories of the Soviet collectivization drive of the 1920s and 1930s, which, according to the song, magically transformed Jewish merchants into farmers. "Who says that Jews can only trade?" asks the final verse of the song, "Just take a look at Dzhan."

Now, as the new government in Kiev struggles to find its footing after the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last week, Russian troops are occupying the Crimea in the name of protecting ethnic Russians and, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued at the United Nations, combating anti-Semitic ultra-nationalistsan ironic twist, less than a century after the Kremlin contemplated the peninsula as the site of a potential Jewish homeland.

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Author:Veidlinger, Jeffrey
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Geographic Code:4EXUR
Date:Mar 4, 2014
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