A. Suharenko: “There is no Anti-Semitism in Latvia”

On the 19th of January, a meeting of executive committee delegation of the European Jewish Congress and the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin was held in Moscow. One of the Congress delegation members was Chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia, Rietumu Bank’s Deputy Chairman of the Council Arkady Suharenko.

A considerable part of the meeting was devoted to the problem of terrorism threats, xenophobia and anti-Semitism increasing in Europe and worldwide, as well as to the necessity to fight this evil jointly. “For the Congress, the problem of anti-Semitism in all its manifestations is one of the most important problems; it is constantly in the centre of the Congress’s attention,” said Arkady Suharenko commenting on the past meeting, “I know how seriously Jewish communities in France, Belgium, and Sweden are concerned with this problem; recent events in Cologne caused intense unease. My colleagues, community leaders from different countries, have explicitly discussed this issue at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the European Jewish Congress, which took place the day before the meeting with the President of Russian Federation, and at the meeting itself. They are sincerely and profoundly worried, and there is a serious reason for that.”

Arkady Suharenko thus believes that “the situation with anti-Semitism in France and some other countries is quite different from the situation in Latvia. In my opinion, as in the opinion of my colleagues – the leaders of Latvian community, currently there is no real threat of anti-Semitism in Latvia. There is no anti-Semitism at the state level, it is not present in print media, and it is not present in the community in the strict sense. Although, we are of course worried about, unfortunately, repetitive attempts to whitewash or heroize certain Nazi criminals.”

“The Jewish Community of Latvia is cooperating with the government regarding all relevant issues; it feels the government’s support and understanding. Historically existing problems are also being solved. I can say that in Latvia the relationship between the Jewish community and the state could become an example for many European countries,” believes the head of the Jewish Community of Latvia. In particular, he outlined this position in an interview with LTV7 television channel.

The European Jewish Congress is one of the most influential international non-governmental organizations and the largest secular organization, which represents the interests of more than 2.5 million Jews of Europe. The Congress consists of national communities from 42 countries of the continent.