World Jewish Congress decries neo-Nazi march held in Sofia, Bulgaria despite municipal ban

20 Feb 2017
20 Feb 2017 Facebook Twitter Email Print

NEW YORK - World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer expressed concern Monday after a massive annual neo-Nazi rally known as Lukovmarch proceeded as planned in Sofia, Bulgaria over the weekend, despite the ban issued prior by Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. “On behalf of the Jewish community in Bulgaria, we welcome Mayor Fandakova’s ban this year on the rally, but are distressed that even that declaration of authority could not put a stop to such a display of hatred and anti-Semitism,” Singer said.

“For 14 years in a row, neo-Nazis have marched unabashedly and unfettered through the streets of Sofia. For 14 years, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, Shalom, has done everything in its power to sound the alarm against this dangerous manifestation of the same anti-Semitic expressions that brought about the near destruction of European Jewry. And for 14 years, this march has been sanctioned despite all efforts to stop it, on the grounds that the marchers were careful not to exhibit overt Nazi, anti-Semitic or fascist symbols.

“Regardless of what symbols are exhibited during rallies of these kinds, the intentions are clear, and the dangers ever-present. Let us not forget that the genocide of the Jewish people was preceded by a democratic election and seemingly harmless mass demonstrations. Let us not forget that it is precisely these mass manifestations that inspire susceptible youth to share the same hateful message. Let us not forget that when hate speech is sanctioned, hateful actions become all the harder to prevent,” Singer said.

Dr. Alexander Oscar, President of the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria, Shalom, said: The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, Shalom, along with the Israeli and the US Embassies, issued clear statements ahead of Lukovmarch alerting the authorities about its fascist ideology and potential national security risks. The very existence of this rally is a disgrace for a European capital which in less than a year will be hosting the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU."