Anti-Semitism in Belarus is thriving, says Jewish leader - World Jewish Congress

Anti-Semitism in Belarus is thriving, says Jewish leader

The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenka and his government were turning a blind eye to blatant expressions of anti-Semitism among officials, writers and the dominant Russian Orthodox Church, a Jewish leader in the former Soviet republic has said. "President Lukashenka and his circle are pretending not to notice anti-Semitic tendencies among bureaucrats, ideologues and leaders of the Orthodox Church in Belarus," said Yakov Basin, vice president of the Union of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Belarus. According to Basin, a state-owned printer put out three openly anti-Semitic books last year under contract with a publisher owned by the Belarusian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Most people in the nation of 10 million are Orthodox Christians. Basin said that some books published by the church were illustrated with crude anti-Semitic caricatures. Literature condemned by Jewish leaders as anti-Semitic is freely sold in Belarusian stores. About 28,000 Jews live in Belarus.