04.04.2019 ‘The darkest powers of society are awakening’: how the Baltic States whip up anti-Semitism
‘The darkest powers of society are awakening’: how the Baltic States whip up anti-Semitism
In Estonia a young man offended the chief rabbi of the Republic. Despite the fact that according to research results, the degree of anti-Semitism in Latvia is lower than in its regional neighbours, the country has a considerable difference.
On March 17, when Shmuel Kot, the chief rabbi of Estonia was heading with his children for synagogue and a young man on the way lashed out at him with abuse. The man was talking inEstonian.
‘An Estonian speaking man came to him and his children and started shouting insults: ‘Jews to the ovens! Heil Hitler!’ and the like, throwing in obscenities to boot. There happened a Municipal Police patrol nearby, and the rabbi appealed to themwith a request to do something as there might be a danger of physical attack from the hooligan. ‘Alas, the patrol ignored the request completely’, Gennadi Gramberg , a civil servant of Tallinn department of environment, told.
Later Gramberg stated, that the patrol nevertheless interfered which ‘allowed to prevent aggravation of the incident".
European Community Council, commenting on the incident, connected the situation with Conservative People Party (EKRE):
‘EKRE participation in coalition negotiations and its possible entry into the government awakens the darkest forces of the society and provokes incidents similar to what had happened to the rabbi’, the press release of the Community states.
On Tuesday, March 19, the court punished twenty seven-year-old man sentencing him to eight days of arrest for public order disturbance and for taking psychotropic and narcotic substance, news portal ERR reported. The accused had already had a police record for various offences.
The head of Kesklinna police department of Põhja prefecture Kaid Saarnit said that proceedings initiated on charges of hostility incitement were then reclassified as public order disturbance in view of the fact that the words of the man who had insulted Shmuel Kot did not constitute real danger to the life, health or property of the chief rabbi of Estonia.
Prime minister of Estonia Jiri Ratass, the Jewish community of the country, archbishop of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church as well as the embassies of Russia and the USA all condemned the act of anti-Semitism.
The rabbi himself made a statement that he forgives the offender on the occasion of the eve of the Jewish celebration of Purim – ‘the day of joy and unity’.
Incidents in Latvia
Kaspar Zellis, a historian and researcher in Philosophy and Sociology at the Latvian University told on the radio Baltkomthat it was the Nazis myth, which had put the blame for deportation of Latvian people just on the Jews, contributed to the growth of anti-Semitism in Latvia.
‘Even today anti-Semitism remains a topical problem for all Christian world. If one is to investigate the roots of this phenomenon, the Nazis set the stage when they explained in their own way the events which happened in the years 1940–1941. This is the concept of a ‘scary year’ to the extent that it were the Jews who greeted the Soviet tanks, who got various benefits from the Soviet authorities, the Jews were security officers, the Jews deported Latvians and so on’, Zellis said.
According to him, the Nazis propaganda was aimed at unifying bolshevism and Jewry into one whole.
The historian remarked that anti-Semitism occurred in Latvia in years 20-30 of the previous century, though it did not manifest itself as aggressively as, for example, in Poland or Ukraine. Today the situation is different: according to rating results of Pew Research Center, the level of anti-Semitism in Latvia (9%) is lower than in Lithuania and Estonia, but twice as high as in Ukraine (5%).
Despite this, anti-Semitism in Latvia shows itself on the state level.
A statement of Alexander Kirsteins, deputy of the Saeima from National Unity caused a wide public response.
‘They say that Jurmala became more European with the relocation of ‘New Wave’ to Sochi. I was bewildered though: there again sound the tunes that are closer to tastes of Khazarkagan successors. It turned out to be some event staged by Vaikule. I doubt that it promotes influx of wealthy German and Scandinavian tourists", – Kirsteins wrote in Twitter.
‘Khazar kagan successors’ is a hint at Russian Jews. Although Turks lived in Khazaria, they practiced Judaism and the state itself possessed the territory of the North Black Sea Coast, the greater part of Crimea, coastal regions of the Azov, Northern Caucasus, Lower Volga Region and the Caspian-Volga region.
This year in January Kirsteins pointed out that the opponents of transfer of education in Russian schools to the Latvian language are the agents of the world Zionism. He called this the exact reason for the Russian community’s ‘insolence’. Two years earlier the deputy, while commenting on the elections in the USA, claimed that ‘the Jews and the blacks’ voted for Hillary’.
Many Latvian politicians are notorious for such statements. For instance, Karlis Serzants, another deputy of the Latvian Saeima, representative of Union of ‘the green’ and peasants. While on air at the Latvian radio he declared that Jews are leading subversive work in the country. ‘The people who worked to destroy Latvian state belong to a very clever nationality’, the deputy said.
Replying to journalists’ question if he meant the Russians, the coalition politician specified: ‘No, I meant Jewish nationality’. Later, at the session of Saeima ethics commission Serzants listed ‘Russian agents in Latvia’ and drew the conclusion that the Jews are ‘people’s enemies’.
During the Latvian television program ‘No censorship’ UldisFreimanis, admirer of SS troop veterans, allowed himself to voice anti-Semitic statements. He declared that the Jewsobstruct legionaries’ marching in the centre of Riga when they commemorate their combat comrades.
‘I am the master here and I go where I want. While these Jews… Hang them on a post!’ Freimanis was shouting.
These people are the followers of their predecessors of the end of the first half of the XX century. In Latvia during Holocaust70 000 Latvian Jews and 20 000 Jews brought in from other countries perished. Historians believe that just 300 to 1000 Latvian Jews survived the Holocaust, not including those Jews who were in the Soviet Army or were evacuated to the USSR.