Sharansky: Russia not anti-Semitic

Says incidents such as letter proposing ban on Jewish groups are atypical.

natan sharansky 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
natan sharansky 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Anti-Semitism at the state level is not a problem in Russia, Likud MK Natan Sharansky told the Federation of the Jewish Communities of the CIS while visiting Moscow, the group's website reported Thursday. When asked to respond to the "Letter of the 500", a petition calling for Jewish organizations in Russia to be banned, which referred to Judaism as "Satanic," Sharansky said that following the letter's publication, he had met with a number of scholars and officials, and concluded that the initiative was atypical. "It is incorrect to say that it reflects the opinion of the authority or of Russia's residents. Neither is it correct to say that Russia is an anti-Semitic state," Sharansky asserted, and added that the entrenched anti-Semitism in Russian government policy was linked to Soviet anti-Zionist policies. Russia and the Ukraine were two of the leading nations, along with Iran and Venezuela, in generating extreme forms of nonviolent anti-Semitism over the past year, according to researchers Professor Dina Porat and Esther Webman. Ukraine, researchers at the Roth Institute said, has also seen a steady escalation in the number and severity of violent attacks against Jews, which, they said, had been accompanied by intensified dissemination of anti-Semitic propaganda.