Israel’s ambassador in Moscow criticised Russia for blocking the international adoption of a definition of antisemitism, an act which he linked to a recent string of allegedly racist statements about Jews by Russian politicians.
Gary Koren’s statement on antisemitism in Russia was in an interview for Interfax, the news agency reported on Wednesday, in which he singled out Russia for blocking the definition’s adoption by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“The OSCE has attempted to determine a text, which ought to define what can be classified as antisemitism and what its working definition is. We are discussing this issue with the Russian Foreign Ministry and hope that Russia will adopt this definition in the future,” Koren said.
Israeli ambassadors to Russia rarely comment on issues that do not involve Israel and its bilateral relations with Russia directly.
His statement confirmed reports, including that of the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, that Russia was the only country blocking the adoption of the definition.
“All the other countries accepted the definition but Russia,” Arkush revealed during an address on February 4 at the Limmud FSU Europe conference on Jewish learning in London. “I expect we will see some diplomatic action on Israel’s part in the near future on this issue,” Arkush added.
In the Interfax interview, Koren added an apparent reference to a recent spate of incidents involving Russian politicians who used what critics regard as antisemitic hate speech.
Russia’s endorsement of the definition “will be clarified for people who try to justify themselves by saying that their statements allegedly hold no insult to the Jews,” Koren said.
The definition that reportedly is being blocked by Russia resembles the one recently adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – an intergovernmental agency of 31 Western nations.Thursday, February 16, 2017