Belarusian president blames Jews for his government's corruption, says he's 'not antisemitic'

Alexander Lukashenko, in statement broadcast on state television, says Jews have  'special, privileged role' and 'steal and do not think about their future'; Foreign MInistry: President's comments are 'outrageous and sound like definite antisemitic comments'

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made an antisemitic statement Saturday during his government meeting in which he hinted at a connection between Jews and theft.
He referred to a corruption case involving his former aide, the governor of the Vitebsk region and former Minister of Agriculture and Food Igor Brylo, as well as dozens of other people. "There are 36 people on the list. Sorry, I don't consider myself antisemitic, but more than half of them are Jewish. Do they have a special, privileged role, that they steal and do not think about their future? Do they have privileges? All peoples living in Belarus should be equal. Jews, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Russians and Poles," Lukashenko said.
1 View gallery
נשיא בלארוס אלכסנדר לוקשנקו  בישיבת הממשלה
נשיא בלארוס אלכסנדר לוקשנקו  בישיבת הממשלה
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko makes antisemitic statements on state television channel Belarus 1
( Screenshot)
His statement was broadcast on the state television channel Belarus 1, but the problematic quote was not included in the press release on the presidency's website.
This is not the first antisemitic statement by Lukashenko, who has been called "the last dictator in Europe." In 2007 he said that the Jews had turned the city of Bobruisk into a "pig sty" and that "this was founded as a Jewish city and you know how Jews treat the place they live in." In July 2021 he said that the "whole world bows" to the Jews after the Holocaust. In December 2023 he said: "Armenians are smart people. There is not even one Jew there."
Social activist Alex Tanzer called on Foreign Minister Israel Katz to recall the Israeli ambassador to Belarus for consultations. "A country that respects itself cannot allow such a statement to pass in silence," he said.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "the words of the President of Belarus are unacceptable, outrageous and sound like definite antisemitic comments. The Deputy Director for Eurasia and the Western Balkans at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yuval Fox, contacted the Belarusian ambassador in Israel following the statement and protested his words."
Belarus' President-elect Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said of Lukashenko in a statement on the X platform that: "His regime is the true source of corruption, not the Jewish community. Such hateful rhetoric is dangerous & must be unequivocally condemned."
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.