Author Topic: Worries of Anti-Semitism Spread in Russia  (Read 1327 times)

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Offline RichC

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Worries of Anti-Semitism Spread in Russia
« on: January 12, 2006, 09:51:43 PM »
Here is the link:

Here is the article:

By HENRY MEYER, Associated Press Writer Thu Jan 12, 2:59 PM ET

MOSCOW - Pogroms and purges of Jews are a thing of the past in Russia, but as women scrubbed the bloodstained floors of Moscow's Chabad Bronnaya synagogue on Thursday, a day after a man burst in and stabbed worshippers, alarm spread over increasingly open anti-Semitism.

Jewish leaders warned official indifference is fueling a wave of hate attacks and called for a crackdown on aggressive nationalist and fascist groups that have mushroomed in recent years. Police should guard outside synagogues and other Jewish sites, they said.

"We expect government and law enforcement agencies to take real measures to ensure this doesn't happen again," Russia's chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said. "If there is indifference, nothing will change."

Worshippers were somber at the synagogue in downtown Moscow, where the knife-wielding man shouting "I will kill Jews" slashed and stabbed at least eight people before a rabbi's son wrestled him to the ground.

"Until yesterday, I felt completely safe but things have gotten serious now," said Nadav Zavilinsky, a 21-year-old religious student who witnessed the attack.

Among the eight men wounded were an American, an Israeli and a Tajik, chief Moscow prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said. Four of the victims remained in serious condition Thursday.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack denounced "this perfidious attack" and said the United States "expresses its sympathy to the wounded and their families." He also said the United States welcomed condemnation of the attack by the Russian government, "including its commitment to an investigation of this crime."

A million Jews live in Russia, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities, as the Jewish community has experienced a revival after a wave of emigration to
Israel and other countries before and after the break up of the Soviet Union.

But hundreds of racially motivated attacks, including the occasional desecration of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues, have occurred in recent years in violence aimed at Jews as well as dark-skinned immigrants from former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus Mountains region.

More than 40 people in Russia were killed in apparently racially motivated attacks last year, according to the Moscow Bureau of Human Rights. The group estimates that Russia is home to some 50,000 skinheads and numerous neo-Nazi organizations.

Rights activists say such groups are emboldened by mild prosecution of hate crimes and they complain that Nazi and other extremist literature is sold freely.

The suspect in Wednesday's attack, identified as Alexander Koptsev, 20, was reading a book about Jews betraying Russia shortly before the assault, his father told the Kommersant daily.

Two men assaulted two rabbis near another synagogue in Moscow in January but were convicted of assault and hooliganism, which carry lesser sentences than hate crimes.

Alla Gerber, head of the Holocaust Foundation, said anti-Semitism persisted within law enforcement ranks despite high-level condemnation.

"I was shocked at what happened yesterday, but not surprised. Anti-Semitism is a traditional problem in Russia, and it is flourishing now in a general climate of xenophobia," Gerber said.

In what was seen as a step forward, President
Vladimir Putin acknowledged anti-Semitism as a problem when he attended ceremonies in January marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

But just before the Auschwitz commemorations, a group of nationalist Russian lawmakers called for an investigation aimed at outlawing all Jewish organizations, accusing Jews of fomenting ethnic hatred.

While the authorities ignored calls by human rights groups to prosecute the legislators, they investigated whether an ancient Jewish text incited religious hatred after a complaint from two nationalist activists.

Later Thursday, Moscow police chief, Vladimir Pronin promised to deploy officers to help protect synagogues. Lazar and Pronin also agreed in a meeting to set up a joint working group to monitor xenophobic propaganda and extremist groups, Lazar's office said in a statement.

The rabbi of the synagogue targeted in Wednesday's attack, Yitzhak Kogan, said Jews in modern Russia face a new threat.

"There is no more anti-Semitism on the state level, as we saw in Soviet times, but instead we have a lot of freedom for anti-Semitic groups in Russia, and the incident yesterday was one of its manifestations," Kogan said.

Offline elfwine

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Re: Worries of Anti-Semitism Spread in Russia
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2006, 06:13:45 PM »
I am saddened that antisemitism is again a problem in  the Russian Federation... People tend to  turn on any minority when under stress.
There is no excuse for this - but I can understand it.

( fyi - I am a non practicing jew)
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Re: Worries of Anti-Semitism Spread in Russia
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2006, 04:07:02 AM »
worried about that as a jewish person, its still carrying on and if its still there, then whats to stop more of it happening?
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Worries of Anti-Semitism Spread in Russia
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2006, 12:36:46 PM »
Antisemitism has a very LONG history in Russia, and basically it just never went away... In fact, you can even say that it has been state sponsored all along. Govenrnments often like to encourage minority scapegoats - it diffuses the anger of the mob, which should be directed at them. Jews are a perfect scapegoat, and have been for centuries.  

This type of thing is not something that just dissapears when the governments change, but lingers on, becomes part of the culture. These latest "incidents" are just manifestations, not anything new... It is sort of like a virus that lies dormant and flares up when the organism is vulnerable. The country is now vulnerable, so the virus flared up.

BTW, the Jews are not the only ones to get the brunt of it all. Other ethnic minorities in Russia get their share.