Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Russian anti-Semitism

There are fears of growing anti-Semitism in Russia after a number of Duma members put their support behind a letter that compared Judaism to Satanism and called for all Jewish organizations in Russia to be banned:

The Russian Jewish Congress says it is seeking legal advice and plans to take the MPs to court. But the parliamentarians are unrepentant. They've withdrawn the letter for now, but Communist MP Sergei Sobko says it will be re-drafted and re-submitted.

"Do they really think that by taking us to court the whole country will suddenly stop being anti-Semitic?" Mr Sobko said. "When our voters find out that their members of parliament are being threatened like this, the situation will grow worse."

Anti-Semitism has deep roots in Russia. Under the tsar, Jewish people were banned from living in huge swathes of the Russian empire. Anti-Semitism remained a government policy in the Soviet Union.

More recently, Russia's Jewish community has been enjoying a renaissance - with new freedoms, new schools and new synagogues opening up across the country.

President Vladimir Putin himself attended the opening of a Jewish community centre in Moscow four and a half years ago.

But anti-Jewish feelings remain widespread. When one of the MPs who signed the letter appeared on TV and blamed all of Russia's problems on the Jews, more than half of the 100,000 viewers who called in agreed with him.

Around the Blogosphere:

I’ve heard this before


Anti-Semitic letter embroils Duma :: Chemeketa College Republicans Face Similar Scenario

..and not good news

Makes me wanna puke

gotta love those communists


At 12:47 PM, Anonymous daveg said...

While any acts of violence are clearly unjustified, Russians probably have more reason for concern about Jewish power and influence that we understand here in the west.

The Jewish mafia in Russia is very powerful and very destructive. And it is very Jewish, with many of the high level members holding Israeli citizenship and receiving sanctuary in Israel from Russian prosecutors.

When a group is organized around its ethnic identify, and that group seeks to do harm to your country, a response against the group can be justified (if it is proportional).

This is much like the US response to the Muslim threat.

See the link below for more backgroud on this:


At 11:41 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Then let them go after criminals and mobsters, not Jews. Whether it's just hate-based vote gettin' or otherwise, attempted to go after an entire ethnicity - whether Jews or otherwise -is wrong, reprehensible, and should be spoken out against.

As I said at my own blog in response to the same comment, substitute "Bankers" for "Mafia", and we're right back in pre-WWII Germany.

No thanks. I prefer not to rationlize anti-Semitism as warranted.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous daveg said...

Thanks for your comments Brian. While this is a path that requires great attention to detail, I will give it a shot.

Paying special attention to certain ethnic or religious groups is something to be avoided in a free society.

However, when ethnic or religious groups act purposefully and collectively to disrupt or do harm to that society some special treatment may be justified.

The best example of special treatment against certain disruptive minorities is Israel. The fact is, Israel discriminates against Arabs (and non-Jews) in many ways. Arabs are subjected to all sorts of special searches, they cannot serve in the army, Arabs can not buy some Jewish land, and Arab citizenship is restricted more than any other ethnic group (Arab's can’t marry into Israeli citizenship). Furthermore, Jews and non-Jews cannot get married in Israel in general.

Israel justifies these policies by noting A) Arabs want to destroy Israel, and B) Israel must be preserved as a sanctuary for Jews.

Because of A and B, much of the world does not oppose these Israeli policies. The world recognizes the special history of the Jews and gives them a "pass" on these otherwise offensive policies.

The conclusion is, that given sufficiently urgent reasons, paying special attention to certain ethnicities is justified, particularly if the response it proportional.

Another example is the special attention we are paying to Islamic charities here in the US.

Questioning every Muslim in the US is not proportional (or practical). However subjecting Islamic charities to additional review seems to be justified.. We have certainly uncovered many that have supported terrorist activities.

This special attention is justified because of the organized attacks and threats coming from Muslim _organizations_ and _countries_ of all sorts. We don’t have the resources to sort it all out in time to stop further attacks.

Getting back to Russia, when Israel refused to deport gangsters for trail in Russia, they acted in an organized way based on their ethnicity and/or religion.

Israel is saying, Jewish mobsters receive special treatment based on their background, and will therefore have additional abilities to conduct crime in your state knowing that they have a sanctuary should they get into trouble.

Russia, then should be able to combat this special threat with reasonable and proportional measures based on ethnicity.

Do I acknowledge that keeping the measures reasonable and proportion is very difficult? Yes. But to immediately conclude that the gas chambers are a step a way is unjustified.

We must understand that, just as the Holocaust provides Jews with a special history that some believe justifies the nation of Israel, and some of the offensive practices it undertakes, Russian has a special, and much more recent, history as well. This history may justify a special reaction on the part of the Russians as well.

We should try to understand so that we can then make knowledgeable criticisms of Russia, rather than just blanket ones.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Brian said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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