- Over 5,000 known public activists and members of the
clergy in Russia have sent a petition to the state prosecutor's office
in which they demand to outlaw Jewish groups.
- In the petition, the signatories use quotes from Kitzur
Shulhan Aruch, which they argue prove their claim that Judaism is a fanatic
and racist religion that hates gentiles.
- Among those who signed the letter, according to Army
Radio, are ex-generals, artists and the former world champion in chess.
- Israel's Ambassador to Russia, Arkadi Milman, called
the new affair severe and said that Israel will contact Russian authorities
in an attempt to prosecute those responsible for the petition.
- The recent anti-Semitic petition comes two months after
about 20 members of the lower Russian parliament house, the State Duma,
asked Prosecutor- General Vladimir Ustinov to investigate their claims
that Jews are fomenting ethnic hatred and provoking anti-Semitism.
- Arguing that Jews were to blame for anti-Semitism, the
authors of the letter demanded that Jewish groups be outlawed, based on
legislation against extremism and fomenting ethnic discord.
- However, in a 306-58 vote that hewed to party lines,
the State Duma adopted a declaration saying that the 'clear anti-Semitic
intent' of the letter and other appeals for government actions targeting
Jews 'prompts indignation and sharp condemnation.'
- The stunning calls to ban all Jewish groups comes amid
concerns of persistent anti-Semitism that continues to plague Russia.
- Jewish leaders have praised President Vladimir Putin's
government for encouraging religious tolerance, but rights groups accuse
the authorities of failing to adequately prosecute the perpetrators of
anti-Semitic and racial violence.
- Russia's chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said the lawmakers
were either insane or 'quite sane but limitlessly cynical' and were hoping
to win support 'by playing the anti-Semitic card.'
- With Putin planning to join events this week commemorating
the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops, Russia's Holocaust Foundation
head Alla Gerber said it was 'horrible that as we're marking the 60th anniversary
of this tragic and great day... we can speak of the danger of fascism in
the countries that defeated fascism.'
- She said that while the Russian state itself is no longer
anti-Semitic, there are 'anti-Semitic campaigns that are led by all sorts
- 'The economic situation is ripe for this, an enemy is
needed, and the enemy is well-known, traditional,' Gerber said.
- Echoing anti-Semitic tracts of the Czarist era, the letter's
authors accuse Jews of working against the interests of the countries where
they live and of monopolizing power worldwide. They say the United States
'has become an instrument for achieving the global aims of Judaism.'
- 'It is possible to say that the entire democratic world
today is under the monetary and political control of international Judaism,
which high-profile bankers are openly proud of,' the letter says.
- Along with outlawing Jewish organizations, the lawmakers
called for the prosecution of 'individuals responsible for providing these
groups with state and municipal property, privileges and state financing.'