Well, the material below is kind of typical example of a soft anti-Semitism coming from many in the Russian democratic intelligenzia. To sum it up it sound like -- "anti-Semitism is bad, but many other things are equally bad, and the Jews have it better than others anyway". After starting with the Bronnaya incident the author goes to a long list of horrible ethnic hate crimes. So what the Jews are supposed to do? But judge for yourself:
Wednesday, January 25, 2006. Page 10.
A Strange Strategy for Jewish Defense
By Yulia Latynina
Alexander Koptsev, a Muscovite with a fondness for racist web sites and violent computer games, is accused of grabbing a knife on Jan. 11 and heading to the Chabad Synagogue, where he purportedly stabbed eight men before being wrestled to the floor. The leaders of Kremlin-friendly Jewish organizations, from Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, to Vyacheslav Kantor, head of the Russian Jewish Congress (yes, the same Kantor who threw the first stone in the legal assault against Mikhail Khodorkovsky), unanimously called on the state to protect the Jewish population from anti-Semitic extremists.
If you want to get a sense of the public conscience, you focus not on the actions of a lone psycho, but on how society responds.
Ethnic conflicts are symptomatic of the end of an empire. The collapse of the Soviet Union began with Nagorno-Karabakh, Baku and the Meskhetian Turks. In this sense, Russia today is sitting on an ethnic powder keg.
When the women from the largely Avar village of Moksob in Dagestan went down to the river Aksai last summer for a swim, they found that the Chechen women from the neighboring village of Novoselskoye were washing their clothes upstream. Words were exchanged, and before long the conflict escalated into a brawl involving hundreds of men from both villages.
A Chechen man raped a girl in the village of Remontnoye, Rostov region. In retaliation some 200 Cossacks laid siege to the village.
When a Kalmyk man was shot dead last August during a bar fight with several Chechens in the village of Yandyki, Astrakhan region, hundreds of local Kalmyks went on a rampage, burning homes and beating local Chechens.
The spark that lights the blaze in these situations is always the same. A disagreement about laundry escalates into a deadly brawl. Villages like these are a hair's breadth from the kind of carnage we saw in Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the Koptsev case, the spark that ignites such ethnic unrest was missing. Imagine that instead of Koptsev we were dealing with a knife-wielding Ossetian in an Ingush mosque, or an knife-wielding Ingush in a Vladikavkaz church. At a minimum such an attack would have brought thousands of people into the streets, and might even have led to renewed fighting between the two peoples. One thing's for sure: The police would never get their hands on the assailant. He'd be cut to ribbons by the mob.
The attack on the Chabad Synagogue didn't lead to pogroms or the organization of Jewish self-defense brigades. Instead, this violent outburst of fascism was followed by a call for the state to police the Internet.
The real ethnic conflicts that are tearing this country apart almost never make the evening news. The big two state-controlled television stations scarcely reported on the ethnic cleansing in the Chechen village of Borozdinovskaya, or the storming of the regional government headquarters in Karachayevo-Cherkessia by ethnic Abazin activists, or the trial in Vladikavkaz in which Ossetian jurors acquitted several Ossetian men who had kidnapped their Ingush business partner. The accused got off by declaring that the kidnapping was an act of revenge for Beslan.
I'm not saying there's no anti-Semitism in Russia. There is, especially at the top. But it comes nowhere close to the level of ethnic tension that prevails in the south. You can blow anti-Semitism out of proportion, of course, frightening people and convincing them that only a third Putin term will prevent the nationalists from coming to power.
In this sense the diehard anti-Semites left over from the old Soviet KGB are killing two birds with one stone: keeping the current regime in power, and giving the Jews a good scare in the process.
What I'd like to know is why Jewish organizations keep playing into the hands of people far more dangerous than any Koptsev. Kantor's strategy for defending his people's interests looks a lot like Ramzan Kadyrov's.
Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.
© Copyright 2006 The Moscow Times. All rights reserved.
Meanwhile this is from the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union:
For Immediate Release January 12, 2006
Contact: Nickolai Butkevich (202) 237-8262 x107
HONEST INVESTIGATION OF MOSCOW SYNAGOGUE ATTACK NEEDED
Police Play Down Attacker's Neo-Nazi Connections
Washington--UCSJ: Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union is calling upon Russian law enforcement officials to fully investigate yesterday's attack on synagogue worshipers and not to cover up the attacker's reported neo-Nazi connections. On Wednesday evening, a twenty year old Muscovite who witnesses described as a skinhead stabbed eight worshipers inside Moscow's Bolshaya Bronnaya synagogue. Among the victims, none of whom was killed, were citizens of Israel, the US, Russia, and Tajikistan. One of the victims was operated on as a result of the attack, while another three were taken to the emergency room.
According to the synagogue's rabbi Itzakh Kogan, Aleksandr Koptsev entered the synagogue during evening prayers after stabbing a guard with a large knife. He then started attacking worshipers before being heroically subdued by the rabbi and his son. Witnesses stated that he screamed "Heil Hitler!" and "I'll kill you!"
Prosecutors are charging Mr. Koptsev with attempted murder motivated by ethnic and religious hatred. At the same time, however, a source within the local police force categorically denied that the suspect is a member of any extremist organizations, and asserted that he is mentally ill. Subsequent media reports indicate that the addresses of three Moscow synagogues were found in the suspect's apartment, along with neo-Nazi literature and a large quantity of ammunition.
"The authorities have so far done the right thing in making an arrest and charging the suspect with a hate crime," said Micah H. Naftalin, UCSJ's National Director. "However, the fact that local police immediately denied that the suspect has any neo-Nazi links, before they even searched his apartment, shows that the official head-in-the-sand attitude towards extremist groups is still alive and well. We hope that higher level officials will intervene forcefully and give this case the serious level of attention it deserves."
According to media reports, Borukh Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia called the attack: "The logical result of the complete inaction of society and the lack of a response to an obvious rise of fascism in the country. We hope that this incident will force society and the authorities to wake up and understand that the future of Russia is in real danger." [link]
With all due respect, linguistics are a stubborn thing --the word "pogrom" came to the world's lexicon from Russia. Sorry, Yulia . We'll have to take care of our defense and come up with our own defense strategies, but thank you for your advice anyway.
posted by: jrtelegraph