Obama 'disgusted' by anti-Semitic pamphlet

 

President Obama was disgusted by the flier that threatened Jews in Ukraine's Donetsk region, the White House said Friday.

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"The president expressed his disgust quite bluntly," said national security adviser Susan Rice. "We all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening, and they have no place in the 21st century."

Rice said because the administration was "so outraged and alarmed" by the documents, Secretary of State John Kerry made a point of raising it with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during talks in Geneva on Thursday.

The flier threatened Jews with expulsion from their homes unless they registered themselves and their property with local government, according to multiple media reports. Pro-Russian leaders in the region have denied connection to the fliers, and accused political enemies of distributing them to discredit the separatist movement.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration did not have specific, verifiable information on who was responsible for distributing the pamphlets, which he described as "highly provocative."

Several members of Congress have called on Russia and the Obama administration to launch investigations into the fliers.

On Thursday, the U.S., European Union, Ukraine and Russia issued a joint statement that "strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism."

Kerry called the fliers "not just intolerable" but "grotesque" in a press conference on Thursday.