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Israeli man beaten to death in Russia, survived by heavily pregnant wife

Mikhail Verevskoy, a 27-year-old Russian-Israeli, has succumbed to his injuries five days after a savage beating he received on a street in St Petersburg.

Verevskoy suffered traumatic brain injuries, broken ribs and facial bones, and internal injuries in what the police believe may be an antisemitic attack.

36-year-old Ahmed Kharsha was arrested and subsequently released on bail in connection with the attack, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs have said.

Verevsky was born in Russia, where he studied civil engineering before making Aliyah in 2010 and serving in the IDF. He returned to Russia in 2012 and became active in a local Synagogue. He is survived by his wife who is heavily pregnant and expected to give birth shortly.

The Israeli Embassy have offered his family assistance, but have said they are waiting for the conclusion of the Russian police investigation before commenting further.

If the investigation shows that this was indeed an antisemitic attack, it will be the second antisemitic murder in Europe in just over a week, following the apparent antisemitic murder of a Holocaust survivor in Paris.

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Putin invokes antisemitic conspiracy theories in suggesting that Jews meddled with American election

Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn criticism from Jewish groups for the second time in as many weeks after he suggested that Jews had meddled with the 2016 American Presidential election.

Critics of Donald Trump have suggested that Russian involvement could have played a part in his rise to power. In an interview with NBC, Putin said that anyone involved in tampering in US elections does not represent the Russian state, suggesting that “maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship, even that needs to be checked”.

Whilst the accusation is defamatory and dangerous with respect to every group named, the suggestion that Jews were to blame in particular evokes classic antisemitic conspiracy theories, particularly the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian hoax which claimed that Jews were conspiring to achieve world domination.

Beyond this, Putin’s comments draw dangerously close to labelling Jews and other minorities Russians in name only, who are subjected to the double indignity of being accused of infiltrating the government of a foreign power, whilst having their own loyalties and citizenship to Russian questioned.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, commented that “as the Russian government faces expanding evidence and new questions about possible meddling in US elections, President Putin bizarrely has resorted to the blame game by pointing the finger at Jews and other minorities in his country”, criticising Putin for “giving new life to classic anti-Semitic stereotypes that have plagued his country for hundreds of years, with a comment that sounds as if it was ripped from the pages of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion'”.

 

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Putin praises author who said Jews were “hastening a second Holocaust”

Vladimir Putin has praised the antisemitic Russian author Alexander Prokhanov in a birthday message.

Putin praised the “social, literary and journalistic activities” of Prokhanov, who edits an ultra-nationalist newspaper that has called for a new cold war, on the occasion of Prokhanov’s 80th birthday.

“You have taken a great professional path, you have found your calling in your columns and in your social, literary and journalistic activities. You have always remained committed to your civic principles and ideals… I wish you good health and hope that your plans will be realized”, Putin wrote.

Prokhanov has said that Jews who protested against Russia’s actions in Ukraine were “hastening a second Holocaust”. He then claimed that Jews also “brought about the first”. Blaming Jews for the Holocaust is amongst the most profoundly antisemitic statements that one can conceivably make.

At the same time he said to the New York Times: “I am afraid that I am interested in a Cold War with the West”. More recently he wrote that he “worked day and night” towards such a conflict.

A character in one of his books, “Mr Hexogen”, claimed that Russian Jews were harvesting organs to sell to Israel, a claim that mirrors medieval blood libel, and which is frequently voiced as a conspiracy theory about contemporary Jews.

 

 

 

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Professor at Moscow State University tries to make Jewish student remove yarmulke

Professor Vyacheslav Babourin, head of the Department of Economic and Social Geography, has reportedly attempted to pressure a Jewish student into removing his yarmulke.

Professor Babourin reportedly refused to allow the Jewish student to sit an examination unless he removed his ritual head covering in what has been described as “blatant antisemitism” by Jewish groups in Russia.

The Professor gave the student the choice of removing his yarmulke or leaving the examination room, citing a rule against wearing any headgear.

Barbourin defended his behaviour, saying “Like at any other institution of learning, the university has its charter, in which, among other things, the accepted form of clothing is defined. I quite reasonably pointed out to the young man that he violated the charter and that he should bring his clothing to the requirements of the university, and then he can take the exam. I do not care who he is—a Jew, a Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh, whoever. I am a professor at Moscow University. I follow the charter and orders of my university”.

Professor Sergei Dobrolyubov, the faculty’s dean, also defended Babourin.

Levi Boroda filed a complaint and was allowed to sit the exam later that day. The student posted about the incident on his Facebook account, writing:

“Moscow State University—the best college in the state?…Discrimination on the basis of nationality, a direct violation of Article 136 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, is punishable [by] imprisonment. It’s strange that the best university did not take this [fact] into the account. Can you help? Write #MoscowStateUniversity #Sadovnichiy #JewsinMSU #antisemitism”

Russian Jewish Congress President Yury Kanner commented:

“A university professor must know that a yarmulke is a ritual headgear. And if he does not know this, he must sweep streets, but not be a professor of the Moscow State University. Because this is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. [It] is criminally punishable in Russia. If this is framed into the internal charter of the university—this is the problem of the university”

 

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Blood libel in Russia as Church urges investigators to consider whether Tsar’s death was “ritual killing”

An influential Russian Bishop has prompted investigators to consider whether “ritual killing” was behind the death of the Tsar.

Bishop Tikhon, who is rumoured to be a personal spiritual advisor to Vladimir Putin, told a conference that was attended by top Russian intelligence agents that they should investigate whether the Tsar’s death was a “ritual killing”, a claim that clearly mirrors medieval blood libel.

Hardliners in the Russian Orthodox Church have long claimed that the Tsar’s death was a “Jewish” ritual murder. Father Chaplin, formerly a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, once commented that “many people in today’s church believe the tsar was killed by Jews”.

Tikhon’s comments to the attendees at the conference made no explicit reference to the “ritual killing” being carried out by Jews, but Jewish groups have criticised him for reinvigorating a long-standing piece of antisemitic rhetoric, and lending credence to those who genuinely advocate the idea that Jews killed Nicholas II. Alexander Boroda, head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, said that the “accusation against Jews of involvement in ritual murders is one of the most ancient forms of antisemitic slander”. Accusations of Jews carrying out ritual murder have been used to incite violence against Jews, particularly in medieval Europe, and are known as “blood libel”.

The investigation into the deaths of Nicholas II and his family was reopened after pressure from the Church, who considers him a saint, in 2015.

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Thug hurls molotov cocktail at Jewish centre in Moscow in failed Arson attack

CCTV captured footage of a thug attempting to set a Jewish centre in Moscow ablaze with a Molotov cocktail.

The footage, which can be viewed here, shows the thug throwing a Molotov cocktail at a building belonging to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia on Obrazov Street, Moscow.

Thankfully the projectile bounces off the building so there were no injuries and no substantial property damage.

The identity of the vandal is currently unknown.

 

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Politician from Putin’s Party: Jews “boiled us in cauldrons”

Vitaly Milonov, a Russian lawmaker in Vladamir Putin’s party has drawn criticism for claiming that the ancestor’s of two Jewish opponents “boiled” Christians “in cauldrons”.

Milonov said that “Christians survived despite the fact that the ancestors of Boris Vishnevsky and Maksim Reznik boiled us in cauldrons and fed us to animals”.

The statements, which invoke images of Jews being involved in witchcraft, are a classic form of blood libel.

Rabbi Boruch Gorin, a spokesman for the Jewish community in Russia, said that “for a State Duma deputy, it is unacceptable to make such irresponsible statements”.

In 2014, Milonov also claimed that the Jews killed Jesus. Claims such as this one and the one made in 2014 have frequently been used to incite violence against Jews.

Milonov has also described criticism levelled at commemoration of  John of Kronstadt, who was the member of an explicitly antisemitic group which supported pogroms against Jews, “complete lies, a modern neo-liberal fable with a sulfuric, deep history of Satanism”.

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Russian spokeswoman claims that “the Jews” are behind Trump’s win

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, seems to have suggested that Jewish money won the election for Donald Trump.

Zakharova told a Russian TV channel “If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, naturally. But of course”.

“They told me: ‘Marochka (a Russian diminutive for Maria), you understand, of course, we’ll donate to Clinton. But we’ll donate twice as much to the Republicans.’ That was it! The matter was settled, for me personally”.

In fact, a majority of American Jews opposed Donald Trump.

She then said that people should ask residents of Brighton Beach, a New York area with a large Jewish population, with a particularly large Russian-Jewish community.

Throughout the comments she allegedly put on a “cartoonish Jewish accent”.

Accusing Jews of pulling the strings of political events, and in particular funding both parties simultaneously, is inherently antisemitic and draws upon antisemitic conspiracy theories such as Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which originated in Russia itself.

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Armed attacker enters Moscow Synagogue

A man has broken into the Great Synagogue in Moscow during the Shabbat evening prayers on Saturday.

The attacker entered the Synagogue with a gun, perhaps a taser, and a cylinder of gas, asking to meet Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis.

When he entered the Synagogue, there were around 150 worshippers present.

Security removed him and attempted to hold him on the other side of the road, but he injured one of the guards, briefly escaping before being arrested by the police.

Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt commented “The evening prayer was conducted as usual, and we will conduct the High Holiday prayers as usual. We work in conjunction with the Moscow police, and I bless the entire Jewish people that they should be ‘signed and sealed’ for a good year”.

Additional security is being arranged for the High Holy Days. Incidents such at these highlight just how vulnerable Jewish communities continue to be to acts of terrorism and violence.

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Vandals wreck Holocaust memorial sites in North-West Russia and Estonia

Vandals have wrecked the Holocaust memorial site at “Golubaya Dacha” (The Blue House) in the Nevelski area of the Pskov province.

The vandalism was discovered on 28th August by Nevel resident, Natalia Gloshnovha. This was her first visit to the memorial site and she was shocked to find tombstones knocked over and most of the lilac bushes planted by school students, cut down. Members of a local social media group ‘Nevel – the best of the best’ agreed that the damage was malicious. There also appears to have been some swastikas painted in the area.

The site commemorates some 2,000 Jews from nearby villages who were rounded up by the Nazis into a ghetto and then murdered in September 1941.  In the post-war years, a Jewish cemetery was established at the memorial site, and in May this year an Avenue of the Righteous was added to commemorate those who had saved local Jews during WWII.

Another Holocaust memorial was vandalized in Kalevi-Liiva, Estonia. Swastikas were painted on the memorial board, which has information about the execution of 3000-6000 Jews murdered by the Nazis nearby.

 

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Russian TV blames Jews for sinking of Titanic, Chernobyl and 9/11

Moscow’s REN-TV aired an antisemitic documentary last Friday at prime time hours.

The documentary was a reworking of a 2012 documentary that blamed the sinking of the Titanic on a conspiracy which one commentator said was a “reanimation” of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and one viewer described as having a “clearly expressed anti-Semitic subtext”.

The documentary suggested a “group of 300” Jews, freemasons and “illluminati” had sunk the ship to provoke an international crisis and install themselves as leaders of a world government, a central theme of antisemitism conspiracy theories.

The 2012 version of the documentary used the past tense, suggesting that the attempt was in the past and ultimately unsuccessful. However, REN-TV’s airing of the documentary was edited to use the present tense, as well as to link the conspiracy to various more recent events, including the Chernobyl disaster, 9/11, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia has already expressed concern about what the rise of such ideas in Russia could mean for the Jewish community.

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St Petersburg man suspected of posting antisemitic material on social media sent to court

The case of a St Petersburg resident suspected of antisemitism has been sent to court, according to Life78 TV.

According to investigators, Vladimir Shevchenko posted a number of images and articles offensive to Jewish and black people on the Russian social network VK.com between November 2013 and January 2015.

Source: Life78 TV

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Anti-Turkey protesters in Moscow pedal idea that ISIS works with Jews

Protesters in Moscow demonstrating outside the Turkish embassy following the downing of a Russian jet by the Turkey have displayed a placard which suggests that ISIS works with Jews. In the placard, Turkish President Erdogan can be seen tinkering with a clockwork ISIS terrorist with a Star of David on his flag.

Source: CFCA/RIA Novosti