Russia: Duma slams letter on Jews

Associated Press
WLUML is relieved to learn of the declaration adopted by the State Duma which sharply condemns a letter that urged prosecutors to outlaw all Jewish organizations in Russia.
In a 306-58 vote that hewed to party lines, the State Duma adopted the declaration saying that the "clear anti-Semitic intent" of the letter and other appeals for government actions targeting Jews "prompts indignation and sharp condemnation."
Last month's letter, whose signatories included 20 Duma deputies from the Communist, LDPR and Rodina factions, asked Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov to launch proceedings "on the prohibition in our country of all religious and ethnic Jewish organizations as extremist."

The letter drew disgust and criticism from Jewish and human rights groups. President Vladimir Putin, speaking during events marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, acknowledged that anti-Semitism and xenophobia had surfaced in Russia -- an issue the Kremlin had long failed to confront directly.

The Duma declaration reflected the Kremlin's eagerness to be seen as intolerant of anti-Semitism: Almost all the votes in favor came from lawmakers in the dominant, pro-Kremlin United Russia party and from the handful of independent lawmakers.

Votes against the declaration came from the Communists and the ultranationalist LDPR. The Rodina faction is boycotting Duma sessions in a protest over the monetization of benefits.

WLUML wishes to note that we condemn the letter and do not, in any way, endorse or support it or the views expressed within it. The link is included for informational purposes only.

The original letter is entitled 'Letter by Russian Nationalists on Jewish Extremism' in which 'Representatives of Russian society demand from the Procurator General of the Russian Federation the suppression of illegal propagation of Jewish national and religious extremism.'