The Jewish Press: Fascism and antisemitism remain a concern in Armenia
Despite recent changes in Armenia, fascism and antisemitism remain a concern, an article published by The Jewish Press said.
The article said that that American journalist Patrick Lancaster had encountered an Armenian man representing a nationalist organization in Republic Square in the capital Yerevan, who was going on an anti-Semitic tirade.
According to the recording, which was published on social media, the man was saying, “The swastika is the symbol of the Indo-European Aryan people. Hitler killed Jews because they engaged in incitement. They have bloody money. No difference, Jews are very harmful. If rats live in your house, will it be good? Did you know that in 1915 the Armenian genocide was organized by Jews?”
The same Armenian man reportedly also called Gypsies a “parasite nation” in the recording.
The report said that according to a 2014 ADL survey, some 58 percent of Armenians have anti-Semitic tendencies and prejudices, but 90 percent of Armenians stated that “the Holocaust did actually happen.”
The article also cited the anti-Semitism report published by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs that said: “The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region has led to a worrying rise in the level of antisemitism on the part of the Armenians, which has come amid criticism of political cooperation and security trade between Israel and Azerbaijan. Political criticism was soon replaced by attacks on ethnic-religious backgrounds and accusations against Jews of alleged historical and contemporary crimes against the Armenian people. The war in Nagorno-Karabakh, led, in extreme cases, to the only example from the past year of new anti-Semitism. Reports that Israel supplies weapons to the Azerbaijani army provoked outrage among the Armenian population and in some of the demonstrations held in Armenia, antisemitic slogans were chanted. The Prime Minister of Armenia has accused Israel of supporting the Armenian Genocide.”
Arye Gut, who heads the Azerbaijan House in Israel and the Israel branch of the Baku Multiculturalism Center claims that “the popularization of fascism, anti-Semitism, and neo-Nazis has become an integral part of Armenia’s state policy,” and says the ethnoreligious teaching of Garegin Nzhdeh (1886-1955), who supported Nazi Germany during WW2, is included in Armenia’s current educational curriculum, the report said.
In an exclusive interview with The Jewish Press, Rabbi Zamir Isayev, who heads the Jewish School in Baku, added: “Some try to explain their Nazi ideas by blaming the Jews for the Armenian genocide, which has no connection. When you try to explain this, then you agree with these ideas. When someone thinks that they throw out and kill the Jews, you have the same idea towards other nations too. Anti-Semitism is the problem not only of the Jews but all the world. He probably hates other nations too.”
Rabbi Isayev believes the Armenian people must stop following Nazism and glorifying past pro-Nazi leaders.