MOSCOW - A group of nationalist lawmakers is calling for an investigation aimed at outlawing all Jewish
organizations in Russia, accusing Jews of fomenting ethnic hatred and provoking anti-Semitism.
In a letter dated Jan. 13, about 20 members of the lower parliament house, the State Duma, asked Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov to investigate their claims and, if they are confirmed, to launch proceedings "on the prohibition in our country of all religious and ethnic Jewish organizations as extremist."
Arguing that Jews were to blame for anti-Semitism, the authors of the letter want Jewish groups outlawed based on legislation against extremism and fomenting ethnic discord.
"The negative assessments by Russian patriots of the qualities and actions against non-Jews that are typical of Jews correspond to the truth, indeed these actions are not random but prescribed in Judaism and have been practiced for two centuries," the letter said. "Thus, the statements and publications against Jews that have incriminated patriots are self-defense, which is not always stylistically correct but is justified in essence."
Jewish leaders praise Putin
The stunning call to ban all Jewish groups comes amid
concerns of persistent anti-Semitism that continues to
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 of organizations."
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 said 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 said.
Along with outlawing Jewish organizations, the lawmakers call for the prosecution of "individuals responsible for providing these groups with state and municipal property, privileges and state financing."