Thursday, October 18, 2007

FM Tzipi Livni condemns Belarusian President's anti-Semitic remarks

from Haaretz:

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday harshly criticized anti-Semitic remarks made by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a press conference last week.

Lukashenko said during a press conference last week that the problems in the Belarusian town of Bobruisk were a direct result of Jewish activity in the city.

"This is a Jewish town, and Jews do not look after the cities in which they live. Take Israel for example, I was there and I saw it myself," the Belarusian leader said. He added that the status of the city improved only after the Jews left, while simultaneously urging "Jews who have money" to return to Bobruisk.

Livni condemned Lukashenko's remarks, saying "it is the responsibility of world leaders to battle anti-Semitism, which rears its ugly head in various places around the world, not promote it. Anti-Semitism reflects first and foremost on the community in which it appears, and on its leaders."

Israel's ambassador to Minsk is now in Israel on holiday, and the Foreign Ministry considered postponing his return. It was later decided that such a harsh measure would further deepen the crisis. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, however, that they will "not hesitate to summon our ambassador if such utterances are repeated."

The Belarusian ambassador to Israel has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry to be reprimanded, most likely on Friday.

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