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Posted on on October 23rd, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Breaking News
Bush administration slams Lukashenko, the President of Belarus.

The JTA, published 10/22/2007

The Bush administration called on the president of Belarus to retract anti-Semitic remarks.

“We have seen reports of President Lukashenko’s disturbing and irresponsible comments,” a State Department statement said. “We find them deeply offensive and call upon him to disavow these remarks. World leaders have a special responsibility to combat anti-Semitism, not perpetuate it.”

In an Oct. 12 broadcast, Alexander Lukashenko said of Bobruisk, a Belarusian port city: “This is a Jewish city, and the Jews are not concerned for the place they live in. They have turned Bobruisk into a pig sty. Look at Israel — I was there.”

Lukashenko was apparently soliciting favorable reaction from Iran, which has increased trade with Belarus in recent months.

A Democrat and a Republican are soliciting signatures among U.S. House of Representatives colleagues for a letter slamming the remarks.

“Your government’s tolerance of state-sponsored anti-Semitism is well documented,” says the letter to Lukashenko initiated by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), co-chairman of the Helsinki Commission, the congressional body that monitors human rights overseas, and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). “Anti-Semitic acts are only sporadically investigated and the Government allows state enterprises to freely print and distribute anti-Semitic material. Anti-Semitic acts of vandalism, intimidation and violence are on the rise. Amid this climate of anti-Semitism, your public statements are particularly dangerous.”

Our question is – will the UN leadership look into above alefations and find the courage to send a note to Belarus? Will this story be picked up by the UN Department of Public Information?

We are specially interested in the UN position because we found out also today, thanks to an article in The Independent of London, that   in Switzerland, where over twenty per cent of the country’s population is made up of foreigners, in the recent elections, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has won the most votes ever recorded in a general election in Switzerland, after mounting a virulent anti-foreigner campaign widely denounced as racist. The SVP got 29% of the total vote and their campaign poster depicted   three white sheep standing on a red and white Swiss national flag kicking a black sheep out of the country. Alongside ran the slogan “More Security!” The UN denounced as “openly racist” those posters – and the UN was clearly on the right track by doing so. The question is thus, will the UN also speak up against racial slurs, even though we know that some governing people in some Member States nurture openly anti-semitism. Washington said that the Lukashenko remarks came because of business deals between Belarus and Iran.

In Switzerland, surprisingly, the poll resulted also in the election of the first black member of the Swiss parliament: Ricardo Lumengo, a Social Democrat who was born in Angola, entered the country as an asylum seeker in the 1980s, and subsequently became a Swiss citizen. His election to the parliament will surely become a thorn in the side of those that voted SVP.

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